Bringing the untouchable quality of the 80s to the future, “Streetlights” by Buildings and Food immediately hooked me with its nostalgic atmosphere and vast rhythmic complexion. Composed by Jen K. Wilson of Buildings and Food, “Streetlights” is glitchy and grounded all at once, fitting bits of sound into a danceable beat over soft, transient vocals. Although electronic music is not what I typically listen to, I find myself returning to this catchy track again and again.
Every listen is like unlocking a new world in an 8-bit video game, taking me back to childhood mornings playing Nintendo with my brothers. Providing a glimpse into an alternate universe, “Streetlights” takes sound samples and builds something resembling the boss’s castle, syncing shifts in energy with auditory cues. Wilson experiments with time and space; the electro-pop pulse driving the momentum while rhythmic and tonal embellishments add ever-evolving layers.
Grounded by the pulsing downbeat, the mix seems to split itself into infinite dimensions, balancing percussive blips with sustained, hushed vocals that speak of finding common ground between right and wrong. Expertly utilizing the space between downbeats, the mix pulls back at 2:20 to push on with renewed vigor at 2:43. The introduction of what sounds like a tambourine aligns a recognizably folk instrument with the electronic downbeat, traversing the distance between music genres.
The nuances on “Streetlights” demonstrate just how complex and affective electronic music can be. There’s an air of fantasy in Wilson’s production work on “Streetlights”; she’s curated a listening experience that is both new and sentimental. Buildings and Food’s upcoming album Up Down Strange Charm is set for release on September 25. Until then, “Streetlights” is a loop I am happy to slip into.