Over the course of two-plus years, Katzù Oso has prolifically synthesized 70’s Motown and disco, 80’s R&B and synthpop, and a range of contemporary electronica, proving himself an adept songwriter, singer, and DIY engineer/producer. “In Too Deep,” the first single from his upcoming EP Colour, scheduled for release in June 2020, shows Oso further honing his vocal delivery and penchant for memorable hooks, seductive dynamics, and luxuriant textures. In addition, the video for the single, directed by Edgar Fernandez, is an effective complement to Oso’s dreamy yet still ebullient music, a mix of retro animation, primitive graphics, Saturday-morning cartoonery, and proto-psychedelia.
Like Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Oso forges contrasts between bubblegum euphonies and arrangements that, upon repeated listens, strike one as compositionally and emotionally refined. As “In Too Deep” progresses, it moves between a chill vibe that brings to mind Unknown Mortal Orchestra and, particularly on the song’s bridge, a bass-driven, rave-y, jazztronic groove reminiscent of Thundercat. As the song concludes, graphics pulse on the screen. A yellow tunnel transports the viewer, aptly, to a shimmering meme of a mixer, a computer, and what looks like a silver disco ball.
For the past decade, the music world has experienced a resurgence of interest in classic American and European pop sources; this, combined with major technological advancements, has fueled a generation of musicians with coolly broad aesthetics and a commitment to creative independence. Part of the bedroom pop movement, thusly named for their ability to produce music in relative isolation, artists such as Oso, Omar Apollo, and Clairo have translated their sonic visions into well-produced and crystalline work; i.e., gone are the days when home recording was tantamount to lo-fi. “In Too Deep” is an ideal starting point for listeners unfamiliar with Katzù Oso’s work. From there, one can easily dive into his 2018 EP Pastel as well as a stream of singles documenting his evolution. I look forward to the release of Colour, which I’d wager will include Oso’s most proficient and engaging tracks to date.
(Featured photo courtesy of Sydney Yatco)