From an instrumental point of view, there’s a lot to marvel at within the conservative construct of Sp8ce Owl’s “The Underside Of Yesterday,” his latest outing in the studio. Although pressurized in the master mix, the synth still glistens with a reflectiveness that, when placed next to Sp8ce Owl’s dynamic rhythm as it has been here, feels all the more impactful than it already would have. “The Underside Of Yesterday” is very melodic, but it avoids the pitfalls of saccharine instrumental electronica conceptualism by staying a little stoic when we’re half expecting it to launch into the heavens above.
Rather than stretching out of the tension as long as he can with the absence of a drumbeat, this player invites a Europop-style eruption into the climax that pulls us closer to his harmonies and allows for a groove to develop almost out of thin air. This is power electronic grooving light, admittedly, but it’s also sporting more sonic depth and intricacy than one initially would expect it to. For the most part, by keeping things as cut and dry as possible on the technical end of the track, this player isn’t just breaking away from the indulgence of modern pop, but showing us that he doesn’t need much to sound like a superstar.
The backdrop here is a little surreal considering the potency of the drums, but I can understand why Sp8ce Owl would want to exploit contrast and juxtaposition a bit more than the status quo would call for in this instance. He’s got an ocean of emotions to unburden himself from in this performance, and yet he isn’t looking to unleash a tidal wave all at once – likely for fear of getting swept away himself; timing is his best friend here, and he’s employing it as a means of making his tempo weightier in addition to its being more relatable at a polished angle.
Like the unfurling of a deeply-held confession, everything comes together slowly and profoundly in “The Underside Of Yesterday,” showcasing an arrangement at the focal point of the master mix whilst also highlighting a groove dominated by gentle rhythm and a sense of urgency sourced squarely from Sp8ce Owl himself.
If what I’ve been listening to in “The Underside Of Yesterday” is truly a fair preview of what this artist is going to be building his career around, I think he’s probably one of the more intriguing and provocative instrumentalists to be making a lot of noise as the summer of 2023 comes into full focus. He’s got a relaxed energy about him here that speaks to his potential more than anything else, and had he not been as forward in this performance as he is, we might not be talking about his talents to the degree we are this summer. Sp8ce Owl holds nothing back from the audience in “The Underside Of Yesterday,” and with any luck, this won’t be the last occasion on which this excellently gifted player gives us everything he’s got in the studio or the stage the same.