Arts Reviews

Album Review: MISOGI – little*stars

Gemma Cockrell

London-based artist and producer MISOGI is no stranger to the music scene, having produced for huge names in the rap scene, including AJ Tracey, Lil Yachty, Lil Pump, Night Lovell and BONES. His latest project little*stars sees him collaborate with a long list of names, including Dylan Brady of electronic experimental duo 100 Gecs, ambient electronic artist Instupendo, the emo-tinged rappers nothing, nowhere. and Master Peace, chilled synth-pop indie artist No Rome, and rapper Lil West.

All of these collaborations are with artists who are renowned for being undefinable by genre – instead they continue to approach music in a forward-thinking manner, pushing boundaries in order to bend and reshape how music is defined. This results in little*stars being a project which accumulates influences from many different places, combining a multitude of genres, including elements of EDM, pop, rock, alternative and hip-hop, with a chill, mellow, relaxed, ambient, and atmospheric sound.

Speaking of the EP, MISOGI explains, “all the elements from my previous projects have fused together in a sort of harmonious and unique way that I believe represent my journey best. I think the writing on this project is my best yet and speaks directly to my own experiences more so than any other project I’ve made. Most of the collaborators on this project are people that I consider close and have seen my journey from day one, he explains, just as I’ve seen theirs, which makes this project just that bit more personal to me”.

The track explores the topics of escapism and daydreaming, but with a twist

Despite the profound influence of collaborations on MISOGI’s work, these collaborations do not define the project, as he shines just as brightly on the opening and closing tracks of the project, which feature no artists except for MISOGI himself. The opening track, Monopink Dream, 2001, was a self-proclaimed breakthrough for MISOGI, as it was the song which led to MISOGI discovering the lyrical direction that he wanted to become consistent throughout the body of work. The track explores the topics of escapism and daydreaming, but with a twist, as rather than speaking in a melancholic and mellow tone, and dwelling on the negativity of reality, it instead explores these themes in a positive light over an infectious melody.

The outro of the album, 1 Star Life, contrasts to this entirely in message, as it follows the same theme of daydreaming, but explores the pessimistic and negative sides, acknowledging that it is impossible to stay positive consistently. However, the overall message is to not give up during difficult times, and to persevere in the face of adversity. This message, along with the uplifting sound of the track, ensures that the project concludes on a positive note.

The first collaboration of the EP comes in the form of Heart Chained, with Master Peace and No Rome. MISOGI admits that the instrumental for the track wasn’t originally intended for his own personal use, but instead for another artist who ultimately decided not to use it. MISOGI decided that it was a shame to let the instrumental go to waste, so he rearranged it to suit his own sound better, and recorded a quick snippet of him singing over the beat for his private Instagram. No Rome and Master Peace reached out to him via this post, querying whether they could be involved in the song, and Heart Chained was the result of this social media interaction. This modern approach to collaborating results in a track with a highly interesting backstory, featuring a wide range of talents.

Empty Since 16 features the enigmatic, eclectic Dylan Brady, who had started working on the instrumental as a rap beat with producer Ryanjacob. MISOGI’s attempts to record over the beat were unsuccessful, leading to his decision to rework it into more of a pop-leaning beat. The instrumental still has strong flavours of Brady’s signature sounds which appear in his work, fused with MISOGI’s own chilled, mellow sound. The song explores topics related to teenage years, specifically in the internet era, an experience which no other generation prior to Gen-Z has encountered so intensely before. It is a topic which is very relevant to many listeners, especially during lockdown when the internet has had a more significant role than ever in people’s day-to-day lives.

There is no doubt that long-term fans of his who initially fell in love with his older sound will appreciate this ode

Pyreflies acts as a bridge between MISOGI’s new sounds and his older work, as the most hip-hop leaning track on the EP. It therefore makes perfect sense that in order to revisit his older sounds and craft a track which was nostalgic of his previous releases, MISOGI enlisted the assistance of his long-time friends and collaborators nothing, nowhere. and Lil West, both of whom he has known since 2015. Both artists lean towards the emo side of the rap genre, incorporating influences from rock, alternative, indie and pop-punk into their vocal tones and flows. MISOGI predicts that this will become a fan favourite, and there is no doubt that long-term fans of his who initially fell in love with his older sound will appreciate this ode to those times.

forget—me—not! was the first song MISOGI started writing for this EP, which involved reconstructing an old song of his which was released in 2014, named Clairvoyant, into a newer, more refined and progressed sound. Another attempt to bridge the old and the new, by sampling Clairvoyant, MISOGI was able to demonstrate to long-term fans just how far his production skills, vocals, and sound had progressed in the past 6 years. Speaking of his relationship with Instupendo, MISOGI explains, “Instupendo is someone I’ve known of and been friends with for years, we had been trying to make a song together for a while, and this was finally the one that worked. I felt that there was no one better for the job.” A nostalgic nod to the past, whilst also a progressive look to the future, the track perfectly summarises the development of MISOGI’s talent, artistic ability, and sense of sound.

little*stars is a perfect blend of old with new, resulting in an exciting project with an impressive number of talented featuring artists, all of which have natural chemistry and true, real friendships with MISOGI, ensuring the EP is an intensely personal release. It is blatantly obvious how much thought and time MISOGI put into the project, ensuring that each song has its own specific elements which cause it to stand out, and that each song has its own individual purpose within the body of work. A project which sonically captures atmospheric, relaxing and chilled-out vibes, whilst also succeeding in being uplifting and catchy, little*stars is a must listen for those who enjoy a wide variety of genres, ranging from emo-rap to ambient electronical.

Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Elice Moore via UnSplash. Image License found here. No changes were made to this image.

In article images courtesy of @misogi via Instagram. No changes were made to these images.

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