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Kate NV, 'oni (they)'

Russian singer-songwriter Kate Shilonosova once said that no one was creating the music she wished existed, so proceeded to make it herself. That's meant post-punk animated by puckish noise-rock, but also her chameleonic work under the moniker Kate NV. It's there she touches on ambient and minimalism and art pop; endearingly, her songs treat music as a canvas for sonic playfulness.

With "oni (they)" — the third single from her forthcoming album WOW, out March 3, 2023 — Kate NV continues to move into territories few others explore. Its synths glimmer like tinsel, as if she's plundering the cheery gloss of John McGuire's Pulse Music for a jovial pop song. They twist around a digital marimba, vocal sputters and an impish bassline, and the resulting swirl of polyrhythms is as glitchy as it is whimsical. Given that her previous album Room for the Moon employed four different languages, it's no surprise she opts for Japanese here, as she's pulling from the country's ebullient synth-pop and, specifically, the childlike naivety of her musical hero Nobukazu Takemura. The lyrics, which were penned by Japanese footwork producer Takahide "Foodman" Higuchi, talk of fruits and vegetables that have fallen by the roadside. It's a simple, effective image that points toward the unexpected beauties found in our everyday lives. And that's the entire premise of "oni (they)": there's warmth to be found within disarray.

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Joshua Minsoo Kim