From Rochester, New York, electronic R&B singer midnight recently released his sophomore EP 0:00 for the world to hear. At four tracks, 0:00 is an intensely wondrous journey that lets listeners take a deeply immersive look into midnight's thoughts; thoughts which are spilled out through smoothly written lyrics and represented through jarring and contrasting production courtesy of ylxr.
The EP opens with the suave, dynamically thought-provoking "Marauder". midnight's voice is beautifully textured, smooth and unwrinkled like freshly lain sheets. In "Marauder", his vocals are layered on top of each other, and he sings powerful, not to mention extremely relevant lines such as "forgot the names of all our victims / now we're lookin at each other / with our fingers on the trigger". There's a quiet unsettling rage that builds in "Marauder", and though midnight's voice is husky and hushed, it's a stark contrast with the sharp and altogether more flashy production. Speckled with claps and clicks, the percussion sends jolts of energy throughout the track while strobe-like synths give "Marauder" an alert feel. A musical shift is made around 2:06, and intensely ominous, low fanfare adds the final touch to "Marauder" to make it feel menacing, brooding, yet stimulating in both lyrical and sonic theme.
"Absolute" continues the trend of darker beats, but here, midnight's voice sounds more fragile, guarded. Staying in the falsetto range, his vocals delicately breathe out the lyrics ("you love me in a way i could never pay back / when i'm on the road im always tryna get back to you") and make the track as intimate as possible. Minimalistic production provides a soft hazy accompaniment to the vocals; some guitar chords are strummed here and there, hollow drum taps are a solid staple in the background, and the bass flutters in and out, mysterious and sensual. Overall, "Absolute" is a coolheaded track that is both parts secretive and dusky, and the effect might make listeners feel like they're being let in on a secret or given a brief peek into a most private moment. It's a good track to have after the higher energy "Marauder" and gives something for listeners to mull over.
The third track on this EP, "Icarus" sounds lighter and flows on the brighter side of the spectrum. While the mood is more uplifted, which is definitely a change in scene from the past two tracks, "Icarus" does sound a bit like a filler track and doesn't stray far in lyrical theme from "Absolute". midnight's vocals sound less tense and more at ease as he sings lines like "and if you want me / you’ve got me for sure / and if you need me / then just let me know". Vocals are backed by chorus "oohs", creating an airy, divine feel that conversely stays grounded by crisp percussive snares and claps. The track ends on a satisfying note, with the final two lines being "i want you to believe in me / i want you to believe in me".
Well beloved, underground R&B band The Internet makes an appearance on final track "Native America". Here, the production is chock full of loose bass and bright ringing keyboard chords. Lyrically speaking, "Native America" is opportunistic and hopeful yet wracked by the burdens of the past and future. Lines like "we’re in Native America, / where the past is blasphemous, / and the future is burnin up, / but my arms will cover us" reinforce this theme and present to listeners a track that sounds more lustrous compared to the moodier past three tracks while keeping listeners thoroughly provoked about the overarching messages this EP sends in its entirety.
Both the first and last track on the "0:00" deliver more powerfully than their middle counterparts, and perhaps this was intentional. While "Marauder" touches on several themes pertaining to current issues in our modern day culture (as you'll see included in the SoundCloud description, midnight writes "In the wake of these tragedies we're quick to point fingers but never at ourselves."), "Native America" takes a step backwards, alluding to America's opportune but brutal past, which influences the future.
After listening to "0:00", listeners might feel like they've taken a deep dive into the coolest pond, reaching inky depths before slowly blowing bubbles and breaking the surface again. Okay, this metaphor is a bit extensive. But it's difficult not to feel that "0:00" is an immersive experience that might just transport ears and thoughts to a different world-- one that's similar to here, but not quite.