Though social commentary has long held a place in the world of creativity, the modern music scene appears to have embraced their platform as a tool for education and change like never before. With more and more musicians drawing upon our current political climate for inspiration, I had to wonder if Toronto-based artist Lailien would be able to deliver a sound and commentary unique enough to stand out from the rest of these emerging messages.
Directly translated as “The Ailing Night Alien,” the name Lailien was formed by merging the Arabic word for night, “lail,” with the English word “alien” to create a meaning synonymous to “the soul.” In addition to this definition, Lailien is described as a fictional character who is the embodiment of everything yet nothing, a fellow transient soul traveling across the plane of existentialism. Chock-full of cultural and literary influence, the story behind Lailien promises to deliver a complex and captivating sound to listeners before they hear a single note.
An invitation to question…
Entering onto the music scene with the feature song “Heaven” from the upcoming LP “Ensoular,” Lailien continues to draw upon spiritual themes by presenting concepts in a tinkering, trance-like tune. Though the song is titled “Heaven,” the accompanying music video has a hellish opening as viewers are met by the voice of Donald Trump delivering one of his typically crass and classist speeches. As the video continues we are presented with Lailien sitting amongst the clouds wearing sunglasses, appearing to look down upon the world with tunnel vision. Posing questions about humanity, we are taken on a journey through history as deities of both past and present make their appearance. When paired with these images, the rhythmic, synth-infused vocals seem to evoke the idea of a universal metronome steadily beating in time with the cosmos. Watching these shifting gods paint the world in diversity encourages listeners to pause in a moment of reflection and question not only ourselves but our Earth, society, and everything we have the potential to be.
Moving into 2019, we can expect Lailien to release the debut album “Ensoular” which will feature even more unexpected interpretations of genres along with a dizzying array of featured instruments and tempos. If you’re looking to truly understand the symbolism in each song prepare to put in the effort. Despite the existential questions and occasional jabs at our culture of consumerism, Lailien is able to balance out the brooding by tying in lighthearted notes reminiscent of childhood whimsy. Breaking through preconceived notions of genre and sound, listeners are sure to find surprising personal connections in each track. Our world’s diversity is mirrored in the eclectic range that Lailien presents, and with the release of “Ensoular” we can expect both the world and our minds to become a little more open, one note at a time.