ShadowBox “Haunted By Colors” | Pictures Music
Brooklyn’s ShadowBox (Bonnie Baxter) has been on one interesting path since her break away from the live band scene and into the shoes of a full fledged experimental producer and sound visionary. With a configuration of techniques and tools that stretch into the future and well into the past, the electronic and analog worlds collide in wondrous and dreamlike procession, leaving the trails of something that feels as romantic as it does abrasive. ShadowBox’s vocal work is the most stunning characteristic in her works, becoming as beautiful as any large landscape you could ever imagine. With dreamy sounds that feel like they are coming from another decade, production work that is unrestrained in emotional climax yet so pastoral and picturesque, there is no denying the feeling of what a collaboration between Lapalux and Flying Lotus would sound like. I can’t help but think of 90′s R&B music when her vocal work slithers its way into my headphones, allowing for time travel inside of your mind on every track. There’s no way to ground yourself into one movement or era of sound with ShadowBox. The electronic additives and percussion ground the work from shooting directly into the cosmos, especially with the tracks that glisten with small undertones of double vocal layers and a psychedelia in the overall melodic direction of the piece. There is a metallic state present as well, giving it that sleek and mind blowing aura that Missy Elliott and Timbaland innovated over a decade ago.
ShadowBox has been preparing the release of an EP with the UK imprint Pictures Music for some time now and next month will see the release of this highly anticipated EP Haunted By Colors. Co-produced by long time collaborator of ShadowBox Icky Doome, the two have created a spell binding ride into modern electronica and have given further proof into how collected this current stream of creation has become that is known as experimental beat music.
Haunted By Colors starts off with the driving and highly colorful piece “AM”. Towering synth, seductive vocals and a vestige of compartments of sound that exist on so many levels, the track becomes a highly evolved escape into so many sonic ideas that it becomes a new every few intervals. The composition is given a cosmic feel with the added nuances that surface here and there. The songs rhythmic foundation is menacing and becomes increasingly heightened in one of the instrumental sections of the albums. The way this first song is put together blows my mind and really speaks volumes on the vision and attention to dynamics that I love about modern electronic music. The song constructs and deconstructs within minutes of one another, creating a true emotion canvas of sound.
“D 60″ is the next track on the EP and sends the musical essence of the albums flow into an even higher state of mystery. When the bass kicks in from the elongated intro and first verse, the vocal musings become mystic and are otherworldly in so many ways. Synth moves around the mix like nothing is able to hold it back and the beat shines non stop. It’s one of those tracks that feels just as dark as it does light. This entire album contains that relentless balance of fulfilling lifes potential, not just a scene or one corridor of thought. The pieces that really pushed this album over the edge for me was “Loveless Child” and “Running Like A Ghost”. To explain these songs would be impossible from how timeless they truly feel. It’s some of the most incredible production and vocalization I have heard all year and is something you will love if you are enjoying the current state of electronica.
What is so moving about Haunted By Colors to me is the way the small nuances and sounds are achieved with such power and poise. Small shifting tones create the slightest wavering and dream filled tones, allowing the power of the vocals to get sucked inside of these small pockets. When the slightest synth runs across the mix and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, I knew I was inside of something that I didn’t want to leave from. Translucent melodies are constant and the juxtapozed state of harsh tones comes in the rhythmic side of things, giving it that gusto that you can expect in a world where hip hop and electronica production are blurred into nothingness.
Haunted By Colors finds voyage in six breathtaking pieces and becomes another guide book into the compositional state of modern electronica and its true evolution. This is one of the most sophisticated electronic albums of the year and easily stands up against the best out there. If you are into Lapalux, RYAT or Bjork, you will love what ShadowBox has offered up in the stunning vehicle of sound known as Haunted By Colours.
“The title Haunted by Colors was inspired by the vivid dreams I was having at the time where no dialogue was present, just these reoccurring images that would naggingly imprint themselves into my head. Also, the anxieties and fears of waking life.” – ShadowBox