I’ve said it before, but Orange Milk is one of the most exciting music labels out there right now. They’ve published some of my favorite albums of the past few years, from Giant Claw, Nico Niquo, and more, so I’m always on the lookout for what’s next. This week, my eyes fell upon the cover of NV’s Binasu and I knew I needed to listen right away.
NV is Russian artist Kate Shilonosova, but she sounds here like a distinctly 80s-era Japanese synth pop goddess. This charming set of electronic tunes shuffles a curvy line through candy colored crystalline synth tones and midi-fired hand percussion. The bright and bubbly hooks, breathy vocals, and shimmering production appears deceptively simple at first. After a few spins, I was peeling apart the upper layers, peering vertically into the constructions, getting a sense of this album as a sort of cartoon embodiment of dance itself.
I’m not a fan of Grimes, but I’ll admit that this music hits some of the same ethereal weird-pop beats that have made her a rising star. The vocals alone give NV something more to grasp onto, something more relatable, than many Orange Milk artists. This means that it’s probably much more approachable than, say, Giant Claw’s micro-sampling maelstroms. But approachable does not mean simplistic; far from it, this is one of the most overtly composed and controlled albums from the label yet.
The title track is a perfect encapsulation of her appeal. Binasu fizzes to life with chiptune synth pockets and wandering squiggles from a Super Nintendo daydream, before her crystal clear vocals enter the fray, soaring above the crunchiness of the production in a high contrast ballet jump. Throughout the album, chirpy pianos, brittle percussion, and buoyant laser melodies are intercut with shards of noise, space-age sound effects, and most of all, her surreal vocal turns. The entire package is crafted with ambitious coherency, lending itself to a deeply satisfying full-album experience. It’s one of the most refreshing, repeatable albums I’ve heard all year.
Although the cassettes have sold out, you can purchase Binasu via the Bandcamp page.