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Original Swimming Party’s latest effort “Hypergiant” is a full-length mix of electronic and organic elements that spans a multitude of subjects and styles. It’s one of those albums where the amount of effort that’s gone into its creation is apparent from the very start.
The band’s love for emergent African music styles, particularly Naija and Gqom, is apparent in the broken beat structures and choice of instrumentation throughout “Hypergiant”, even when translated into more downtempo settings. This is bolstered by a habit of building a song up slowly from start to finish in one long crescendo that assists in driving each respective narrative forward. The third vital component is the addition of jazz guitar, used emphatically on tracks such as ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘Weeping Song’. These elements are heavily textured to the extent that I felt that using anything other than a good pair of headphones or proper set of speakers did not give me the full picture of “Hypergiant”.
The lyrical themes on “Hypergiant” come from far and wide. ‘Darkest Hour’ is all about post-adolescence with a chorus that cries, “Tragicomedy of my twenties/ Pretty, young and depressed”. Then there’s ‘Life in the Colony’ that tackles South Africa colonialism and white privilege head-on. I highly recommend that you listen to it along with a copy of the lyrics because their thought-provoking nature goes a long way in underpinning the musical themes on each track.
“Hypergiant” is dark and moody as it delves knowingly into heavy subject matter ranging from personal relationships to existential crises, at times seeming mournful. But overall it seems like “Hypergiant” seeks to instill the healing process regarding these struggles and not wallow in sadness. It’s a deeply contemplative and painstakingly crafted labour of love with as much effort put into the complexities of the synthesizers as the lyrics themselves and as such an album that you truly will be listening to for weeks or months while still finding new aspects to appreciate.
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Listen to “Hypergiant” below on Deezer.