Shygirl’s new EP ‘Alias’ is the work of a genre-bending auteur
In her new EP ALIAS, London DJ Shygirl’s vision is unparalleled. Across these seven tracks, Shygirl and an array of producers create production that disfigures reality, bending genre as she sees fit. Shygirl is an auteur in the making.
Shygirl first came into prominence with her bold yet blink-and-you-miss-it EP Cruel Practice. Where that project was rough around the edges and benefited from that, ALIAS is remarkably more polished, and still possesses the raw and gritty aesthetic that originally made her one to watch. Like the work of Gazelle Twin’s cottagecore turned horror, and previous collaborator Arca’s most recent work, Shygirl’s imprint across ALIAS is distorted and experimental to the point where it is a sonic equivalent to the body horror of David Cronenberg.
In ‘SLIME’, she delivers aggressive verses in a half-rapped, half-spoken-word heat. Production from SOPHIE, alongside Sega Bodega and Iglooghost collaborator Kai Whiston, is equally sticky as it is acidic, melting away any notion of this being a conventional pop song. As Shygirl raps of sex tearing you apart and sexual fluidity, her voice transforms into a Rottweiller’s bark that ignites something fierce.
Across ALIAS, Shygirl transitions from harsh, noisy cuts to songs that are so syrupy sweet that they satire the whitewashed early 2000’s pop of Britney Spears. This is no surprise from Shygirl, whose aesthetic for this era has altered from the stark silicone face on ALIAS’s artwork, to sexy lime green and hot pink silhouettes, even featuring four computer-generated Bratz dolls in her own image.
The transition from ‘TASTY’ to ‘LENG’ captures this harmony the best, as modified vocals and a Y2K beat are morphed into a chaotic, unsettling pulse that complements the powerful, primal energy of ‘LENG’. ‘BAWDY’ is an even less inhibited extension of ‘LENG’. The production here expresses the aggressive, animalistic desires that Shygirl speaks of, leading to a chaotic finale where loud synthesisers conflict with spoken word and screams.
Ultimately it’s ‘FREAK’ that proves to directly capture her vision. ‘FREAK’ features an eerie bassline that transforms into some of the most chilling production we’ve ever heard from a Shygirl release. A distorted club-beat is dissected by her vocals in a way that it revs like a motorcycle but twists around as inaccessibly as a Death Grips cut.
Across ALIAS, Shygirl affirms her status as a genre-bending creative, an artist that seeks to create music of unparalleled experimentation. The end result is a satisfying EP that recalls the best of experimental electronica but leaves Shygirl as a distinctly new force in electronic music.
ALIAS is out now via Because Music/Caroline Australia. Buy/stream here.
Words by Sean Tayler
Image by Aidan Zamiri