music monday / pearl

there’s something to be said about the appeal of anonymity. certainly in dance music, mystery has become a bit of a signature in and of itself. masks a la daft punk or zomby, pseudonyms or aliases, burial’s entire persona, the ubiquitous “special guest” slot on every bill. secrets are the new black, so much so that it’s not really a secret anymore. for that reason, i tend to shrug off these kinds of anonymous producers, but every so often comes an artist like pearl.

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who is pearl? if i only knew. his album, open, appeared on the white room records soundcloud not long ago. their page’s only sound. even the label has a distinctly blank page feel that leaves something (read: everything) to the imagination. the only artists represented by white room are producer JMSN and pearl.

as for pearl, his album is minimalist — most track names are one static word, while the album artwork is a simple and somehow grotesquely sexual image of an oyster. typically i find the whole “let the music speak for itself” bit very pretentious on an artist, but in pearl’s case, it certainly does speak for itself. a staunchly modern version of post R&B that focuses on emotive, future bass-style beats, sensual melodies and complex percussion, highlighted with melancholic vocals provided by the scene’s key players. everyone from JMSN and alcordo to niia, lauren faith, and wynter gordon feature on the album so the references journey from hip hop to R&B to dreamscape and back. my personal standout, “holy water” starts off with a somewhat contrived religious statement before falling away to skittering basslines and an insatiably catchy chorus. pure gold.

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