quinn cares deeply about how she is seen. Few photos or interviews of the 16-year-old Virginia rapper and producer exist online. His work lives on the digital fringes, spanning alternative accounts and aliases. Explore his SoundCloud page cat mom for his latest drum’n’bass experiences, or user-574126634 for a 30-second data dump of panics, intimate demos, and an oddly awesome Westside Gunn mashup. / Machine Girl. Browse his website to see his virtual gallery of liminal space photos.
This scatter suggests an artist moving away from the notoriety she gained in 2020 as one of the faces of hyperpop, having exploded online with her song “I don’t want that many friends in the first place. “and become the first artist from her SoundCloud scene to appear on the cover of Spotify’s hyperpop playlist. (Due to technical complications, the music she streamed is currently still listed as p4rkr, a nickname she passed away nearly two years ago after becoming trans.) were rushing to sign teenage peers like Glaive and Ericdoa, Quinn, who went on to call herself Osquinn, deteriorated over the hyperpop tag and the visibility she had gained. For several months before 2021, she turned off her Twitter. In the spring, she resurfaces, announces that she is going through a serious depression and gives up vocal music, and releases several drum’n’bass and dark ambient records under the alias cat mother and trench dog. On Twitter, I watched her collection of material grow: day in and day out, she would add another sampler or camera or pedal or synthesizer, proudly posting a photo and sometimes even sharing the work she had used to create. This is how we see her on the cover of her self-produced debut album, lullabies driving: his face obscured by a Pioneer DJ controller.
The artwork alludes to the way this album is sequenced: a jumbled trip through idea files, with notions of temporality and genre flattened by the mixture. It looks like a terminally ill online teenager clicking tab after tab on a web browser, digging through different rabbit holes. Need a lo-fi overhaul of “Hands on the Wheel?” ” To verify. A song that sounds like a fried remix of SoundCloud’s dariacore scene? To verify. A random riddim explosion? Quinn got you. The vocals are back, but this album prioritizes the mood over the catchphrase from its biggest singles of 2019 and 2020. Some songs have the feel of anxious and anxious “mbn” from Last year; some incorporate quinn’s recent forays into dark ambient and drum’n’bass; and the only interlude, which Quinn says she freestyle in 2018 at the age of 14, sounds like a child’s awareness Some rap songs. Even then, Quinn’s music was all about understanding how she is seen, navigating the gaze: “I was fine, much better than my mother told me.” It was the music push that catapulted Quinn into mainstream audiences last year, and she continues to propel lullabies driving, the portrait of a little celebrity navigating her personal life.
The sound design reveals new layers with every listen, showcasing the meticulous details Quinn picked up on her transition to instrumental music. These explorations sometimes seemed aimless and imitative in themselves; anchored by his chirping voice, they steer and come to life. Buzzing ambient passages and pieces of found sound accompany, separate and link drifting verses, acting as a kind of glue for the experimentation of the genre. It is reminiscent of how his inspiration Dean Blunt wove the sound of water through several pieces on The redeemer. But where Blunt’s voice is deep and resonant, Quinn’s is round and warmly robotic. When her voice first appeared on “The World Is Ending Soon!” It’s like a sprite flowing from the fog, born from a jumble of static and guitar strings.
On this song, she begins to trace a complicated relationship with another unnamed one, imagining how they might come together when the “stars run out and explode.” This connection serves as the emotional core of lullabies, a way to tie together the moving parts of the disc. Always, lullabies sometimes threatens to sink into creative oblivion. There is a parcel going on here – maybe too much for an intro disc. The instrumental song “Birthday Girl”, where a distorted piano turns into a doctor’s monologue about depression, might sound too indulgent even to the most loyal Quinn fans.
But to open your ears, this album is a quiet thrill. There are brash moments reminiscent of older quinn music, like “perfect imperfection,” which shakes a boring rhythm before building a wall of synth noise, but lullabies largely finds beauty in smallness and crudeness. On “idiot” you can hear Quinn’s take on the soft JRPG-like sounds creeping into dltzk’s sounds. Teen week, kurtains’ the insignia mansion, and other digicore 2021 recordings. “coping mechanism” is simply stunning, Quinn’s crushed voice passing by tiny glitches and birdsong. But then there’s the calm, almost hilarious, morbid refrain: “Have you seen enough people die? I did not mean it.
The ambiguous “you” in this line is a device Quinn often deploys to unwrap the gaze. In his gnarled single “and most importantly, have fun” he captures how being online and interacting with fans produces cognitive dissonance. At lullabies, it seems to be reflected in private messages and text messages, channeling how even the most intimate digital spaces reduce our bodies to vague directives. “See, I want something to do with you,” she sings to a romantic interest over the “Change That” gurgling. This introduces a discreetly captivating three-song suite that concludes the album’s relationship arc. Through tender indie rock exercises and soft, cryptic language, she disentangles the details of a lack of mutual understanding, problems and communication issues, of two people seeing each other.
Critics love to portray the reigning internet music of the moment as a snapshot of a generation online, but Quinn’s songs don’t come close to a vague trend or generational aesthetic; they feel shaped from a place of private meaning, directed towards a subject that changes shape. She is at her best on “mallgrabber p”, weaving complicated feelings between two people into endearing verses and nursery rhymes. quinn has cited countless artists as influences, from Laura Les of 100 gecs and JPEGMAFIA to Sybyr and Duwap Kaine, but when I hear how Quinn tumbles through the words here I remember Lucy, an artist from the west. from Massachusetts that Quinn likes to howl. Lucy found an online audience in the mid-2010s as part of a collective called Dark World Records. His music was strange and funny and, like Quinn’s, disarmingly serious. But just as this group was on the verge of making a real breakthrough, Lucy left Dark World and retired from the internet spotlight. He continued his cheerful underdog music away from the press, bringing small crowds to basement shows in New England. Then, last spring, he resurfaced with an album titled The music industry is toxic. To listen carefully lullabies driving, you can imagine that Quinn feels the same way.
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