Deer sounds anything but ‘Lost’ in the chaotic pool of his latest single
Melbourne producer DEER (aka TOM HITCHCOCK) has built a reputation for being a quiet achiever amongst the Australian electronic music scene over the past few years. Employing a single-by-single approach to releasing music has allowed him to continuously refine, expand and develop his sonic palette whilst still flying (relatively) under the radar. Deer continues this trend on his first release of 2018, ‘Lost’, which sees the producer delving further into experimental pop production by stepping away from vocal duties and handing over instead to British vocalist, BETH DUCK.
According to Deer, the track represents “the chaotic pool of emotions that comes with making daunting and unfamiliar decisions,” as he continues to explore the themes of identity and growth mined on previous singles, ‘Selfish Behaviours’ and ‘On My Own’.
With a constantly shifting sonic landscape in which no element of the track is allowed to sit too still for too long, ‘Lost’ throws you into unmoored territory where it’s impossible to predict what comes next. Deer balances the chaotic duality of emotions with a production style that allows twinkling pop verses to coexist alongside earth-shattering drops. Initially, he confines these contrasting styles to distinct sections of the track, but piece by piece, he draws them closer and closer together until they bleed into one another, Duck’s vocals coming up against hard-hitting, blaring synth stabs.
From the opening minute, ‘Lost’ proves that this single-by-single approach to artistic development has allowed Deer the space to look increasingly comfortable as a pop producer and collaborator, using Duck’s enchanting vocals to the fullest effect as they float over sparkling synths with a fragile lightness. Meanwhile, he flexes his own talents as a producer by constantly tweaking away at an intricately layered drop full of clanging metallic percussion, bass wubs and touches of melodic synths. This tweaking all culminates in a sugary rush of heavily spliced, pitched up vocal samples firing off in a rapid-fire melange of Jersey Club-inflected directions.
Deer’s idiosyncratic approach to artistic development and musical output is not only an effective tool for reputation and hype-building, but evidently leaves room for the producer to naturally grow his art in surprising directions – ‘Lost’ stands as an example of this. Such a careful, considered approach resists the temptation to put everything on display for consumption. But whenever Deer’s next single arrives, we’ll be waiting to see where his artistic development has taken him in-between releases.