PREMIERE: Bella Unwin luxuriates in dreamy synth jam ‘Off Peak’
It’s been a hot minute since the Melbourne born, UK based artist BELLA UNWIN (fka Bella Labeaux) dropped her abstract, synth heavy jam ‘Don’t Want’, and after some time away moving to another country (no big deal) she’s back with ‘Off Peak’ – a glittery exploration of synths, beats and inner-turmoil recorded entirely in her bedroom studio.
I’ve written two (2) whole articles on why Bella Unwin and her ambient pop craft has added about ten years to my life, so I’ll save the extra space to instead gush about how great ‘Off Peak’ is. Where ‘Don’t Want’ and her debut ’13:00 (Into You)’ bounced along with languid energy, ‘Off Peak’ luxuriates in a soundscape of gorgeous synth melodies, a booming low-end, and a high-end populated with Bella‘s fantastic vocals. Her voice never peaks beyond an almost-whisper yet soars above the synths and sinks below the bass with remarkable finesse. Percussion sneaks in and out at the perfect moments, adding some movement where the layers build before fading out as quickly as they began.
On the surface the track barely progresses at all, but after a couple of listens in you’ll start to spot all the peaks and troughs that appear throughout. An additional layer of percussion here, an extra synth line there, maybe a weird vocal affectation; it all blends together into a seamless whole entity.
Bella Unwin slots into that under-appreciated niche of minimal electro-pop that I absolutely adore. Think early Grimes, Kelly Lee Owens‘ self-titled debut, or Thom Yorke‘s solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. That being said, ‘Off Peak’ and her earlier tracks are in a league of their own, with attention to minutiae that is pretty remarkable for someone who has only been producing for a year or so. ‘Off Peak’ is one of those tracks you can get lost in, that you can listen to a thousand times and still find something new – and that’s Bella Unwin‘s schtick to a T.
IMAGE BY BELLA UNWIN
WORDS BY MAX LEWIS