Words: Gery Hristova
“Experimental pop” can be a pretty misleading term, but when dealing with an artist like Basic Baby and his new EP, ‘BB’, it’s necessary. He’s a performer that takes Disney’s composer Alan Menken’s influence [‘Beauty And The Beast’, ‘The Little Mermaid’] to heart and then expands on it, pushing the conventions of pop music to its outer limits.
Three years ago, the singer and producer Gabriel, also known as Basic Baby, moved from his home country of Sweden, to study Music Production at BIMM London. With will power and hard work he’s now created a six-track EP, combining alternative pop with R&B, touching on subjects ranging from heartbreak and unemployment.
All sung in Swedish, ‘BB’ begins with ‘Döende Dandy’, which starts with what sounds like a command before evaporating into bubbling electronics, then settles into a narrative that’s low on coherency but high on feeling, reminiscent of Animal Collective. This is followed by ‘Gillar Inte Nån’, where melody spreads over soft drum and electronic sounds, mixed with Gabriel’s harmonies shifting higher in the mid-section. There are more varieties of motion and force here, the feel is solemn, the pacing faster, the mood perpetually expectant. Unsurprisingly, ‘Ribban Beach Boys’ – refencing Ribban Beach adventure park in Malmö – follows the same pattern. Exploding the already-built façade with piano sounds, a mess of melody peaks in a muffled outcry.
Moving on, there’s Gabriel’s most introspective songs, ‘Underbar’ and ‘-‘, which combine a feeling of hopelessness and a desire to change the past in his vocal. Here, the lyrics depict the singer’s destructive behaviour, digging even deeper into his mind and self-reflective thoughts. ‘And you can never really know what you’ll get/I built a throne out of empty days’ heutters during the final song ‘Gravguld’, describing the sense of emptiness that comes over us when we are left heartbroken, summing up the whole record’s atmosphere.
‘BB’ conveys a sense of drama, loneliness, and sadness in a seamless, unerring way, making it another fine EP which wouldn’t just rest on your shelf.
Hear ‘Gravguld’, the bonus track to ‘BB’ here: