Across e.strange.d, all of the words, phrases, and questions shn shn repeats are building blocks for your own reflections.
Why is it when something is described as “repetitive” it is so often a criticism? To keep up with the world’s fast pace, you have to consume quickly and then, before you’ve had the chance to absorb it, move on to whatever the next great thing is. But there’s knowledge and beauty to be gleaned from repetition. Lately, I’ve longed to re-read my favourite books and to, once again, get lost in a world that I know and love. And don’t the seasons arrive again and again? And doesn’t the sun rise and set each day? Isn’t that repetitive? But isn’t it magnificent?
shn shn finds beauty in repetition on e.strange.d. To be sure, no song sounds alike. The Toronto-based ambient producer builds layers and layers of celestial sounds that often seem to be floating like stars in the night sky. There’s an eerie ethereal touch to the guitar and bass melodies on “never say goodbye” but the undercurrent of the EP’s closer, “divine,” and the lone track that features shn shn softly rapping, is a sticky beat that feels corporal.
In response to the complexities of her instrumental arrangements, shn shn’s lyrics are pared down to the essentials. On “never say goodbye,” that phrase is interminable, so much so that it feels like you will never have to say goodbye. And although the prismatic vocal effect makes it seem like there are many shn shns speaking to you, she repeats only two words (“take time”) for the majority of the opening track. shn shn plays with the question “why don’t you stay here with me?” on “maladaptive daydreams,” a track whose instrumentation is perfectly at odds: an airy synth and a circular clanky beat. The last two words of her question — “with me” — are delivered quietly, almost as if at the last second she chose to be bold.
There’s a guided meditation quality to e.strange.d The intricateness of shn shn’s graceful arrangements are beautifully entrancing and across e.strange.d, all of the words, phrases, and questions she repeats are building blocks for your own reflections.
And then you can play it again.
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