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Superorganism, Helena Deland (sold out)

  • Frequency 121 West Main Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
  Photo by Jordan Hughes.

Photo by Jordan Hughes.

Seven members of the unlikely octet Superorganism, who recently released their self-titled debut album, currently live in a production house in East London. However, when the group first starting making music, their communication and collaborative process was conducted entirely online. Superorganism's members come from England, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and have resided outside of their countries of origin for an even larger spread of international association. Their electronics-driven, collage-style compositions feel like an authentic product of the internet age.

The album's first track, "It's All Good," blends a smattering of samples including rainfall, a ticking clock, and audible breathing, with synth, tambourine, and guitar riffs into a thematically cohesive miscellany under Orono Noguchi's mellow vocals. The lyrics of the bridge ("We know you feel the world is too heavy / But you can turn it all around if you want") encapsulate the oxymoronic essence of the album—an upbeat weariness. These two opposing forces, the sometimes unbearable weight of existence and the wonder and whimsy of life, are omnipresent throughout the record. The latter is reinforced by the middle track, "SPRORGNISM," one of the album's noisier moments. This self-titled, albeit truncated, track defines a superorganism as "A creature / Made up of many different individuals / Thanks to technological systems," echoing the essence and creation of the group. "The Prawn Song," by contrast, is an escapist tune that expresses distaste for the verbal and physical violence that plagues humanity by fantasizing about living the life of a prawn—a small, aquatic crustacean—a recurring motif in Superorganism's brand. The clamor of groovy synth beats and lyrically relevant sample sounds gets rounded out with Orono's effortless vocals, which fade in and out of a deep, low distortion.

Reminiscent of The Go! Team and MIA's "Paper Planes," Superorganism molds a collection of unassuming parts into tunes that exude joyful innocence, but not necessarily naivete. Many of the band's tracks offer the comfort and predictability of a chorus following verses, while adjusting the samples themselves, or how they interact with one another, to avoid a completely mainstream feel. Overall, despite their cut-and-paste process, Superorganism have created a collection of refreshingly contemporary tunes that have the potential to coax us out of bed and bop along with them. —Katie Richards