Last summer, I came across a tune called ‘Nature Trips’ by a chap called Idris Vicuña, adopting the moniker Eyedress, and it eventually became one of my favourite songs of 2013 – it was more mysterious and exciting than anything else I heard in the entire year. Eyedress then followed that up with his sublime ‘Supernatural’ EP in December, which asserted him as a strong force to be reckoned with.
Eyedress has now decided to release the follow-up to ‘Supernatural’ as a free mixtape, in the form of the 12-song long ‘Hearing Colors’. Released on April 11th, ‘Hearing Colors’ features two of the four songs that were on his debut EP (‘Nature Trips’ and ‘Biolumine’), but somehow the new songs that surround them seems to bring them to a new level, which generates a more potent response from the listener.
Idris, originally hailing from the Philippines, is a very cool individual indeed – a quick Google search reveals a 22-year-old male with moderately tattooed forearms that has a penchant for Fred Perry bomber jackets, kaleidoscopic shirts, and wacky hair. He even makes trilby hats look cool. I also imagine that his level of fashion credibility could be mirrored by his audience – if I went to one of his shows (which I hope to), I could easily picture being surrounded with A.P.C.-clad men that have top knots who are with their girlfriends that present shows on Rinse FM and once dated Todd Terje.
‘Hearing Colors’ is smothered with soaring synths and generally brilliant production, that is actually not too dissimilar to Flying Lotus‘ 2012 album Until the Quiet Comes. This entwines with Eyedress’ androgynous and arcane vocals to make the listen both enthralling and unfathomable. However, not all the songs are sung exclusively by Eyedress, as his (superbly named) mate Skint Eastwood provides vocals to not one; not two, but six of the 12 songs. Skint’s female vocals are actually relatively similar to those of Idris, which has led to Idris comically claiming that some people get them mixed up. But, Idris’ serial collaborator Skint actually gives those six songs extra punch, with her ghost-like vocals helping to give a favourable edge to the glum and broken-hearted lyrics.
The mixtape’s standout track is the aforementioned ‘Nature Trips’, with Eyedress projecting his melancholy through lines such as “I know I’m wrong, and I’m sorry if I made you cry” and “Yeah I’ve been doing drugs, cos I don’t give a fuck” over a glitchy electro beat. Looking back, the latter lyric seems rather lame, but who cares? ‘My Hologram’ sees post-relationship desperation at its zenith through “I wanna get back with you, but I don’t know what to do” and “We don’t really talk anymore/You don’t even pick up the phone“.
Opening track ‘Salaamin’ has a beat that could easily have soundtracked an arcade game the 1970s, as Skint Eastwood wistfully pines “All that you want is slipping from your hands”. Luckily, the mood is raised in the penultimate track ‘Everything We Touch Turns Into Gold’ – it’s euphoric and suggests that there is happiness and hope ready to smash through the sadness that Eyedress has alluded to throughout the album. Eyedress’ downcast and despairing touch is all over ‘Hearing Colors’, and the result is pure gold.
You can download ‘Hearing Colors’ for free, here.