|Sui Zhen ~ Secretly Susan (May 17, 2016)|
Sui Zhen ~ Secretly Susan (May 17, 2016) ♦ Nenechte si ujít. Don´t Miss Out. Becky Sui Zhen.
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Album release: May 17, 2016
Record Label: Remote Control Records
01. Teenage Years
02. Hangin’ On
03. Take It All Back
04. Dear Teri
05. Going Away
06. Walk Without Me
07. Infinity Street 4:28
09. Never Gone
10. Alter Ego
Sui et Sui (Sui Zhen Live Band)
° Vocals, Synth, Guitar, Samples / Becky Sui Zhen
° Keyboard, Percussion, Backing Vocals / Ashley Bundang
° Bass, Guitar / Alec Marshall
° All tracks written & produced by Becky Sui Zhen in Melbourne, Australia.
° Mixing & engineering by Todd Dixon. Mastered by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters.
° Snare on ‘Dear Teri’, additional production & samples by Todd Dixon,
° Backing vocals on ‘Walk Without Me’ by Ben Riley, Congas on ‘Hangin’ On’ by Mitch McGregor, Synth on ‘Safari’ by Shags Chamberlain.
° Photo by Phebe Schmidt. Make–up by Lauren Parker. Design & concept by Becky Sui Zhen.
° Manufactured and distributed exclusively in Australia by Inertia Pty Ltd. www.inertia–music.com
° Marketing and promotion by Remote Control Records. www.remotecontrolrecords.com.au
by Graeme Campbell, 25 August 2015; Score: 8
° Given that she draws influence from the sensory aspects of bathing and counts titles such as ‘orange water’, ‘imagined ships’ and ‘beige dip’ among her song arsenal, Sui Zhen (real name Becky Sui Zhen) is what you could call a hydrophilic. On her last two EPs, the Australian propagated a woozy brand of electronica which at points left the listener feeling like they were either being submerged in the hot springs of an onsen, or drowning in the middle of a cold sea, as her pastel textures and dreamy synthscapes curdled with themes of mood and introspection. Sui Zhen has described her de–facto debut album, Secretly Susan, as a switch up which instead focusses on “character and personality”, and to do this has invented the character of Susan who she says represents “the vision of digital anxieties people have of the world, like a culmination of visual data and all of this stuff that exists on Instagram and Facebook.” As Werner Herzog once said, “what would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like a sleep without dreams.”
° Underpinned by the sound of rolling waves, synths and keyboards bleep like cascading waterfalls on opening track ‘Teenage Years’ with Sui Zhen’s airy backing vocals taking the form of mist spray. Just when it feels so easy to close your eyes and drift off in the stream, ‘Hangin’ On’ stirs into life with its paired back bossa nova percussion and playful lyrics (“I could be your sugar puff, you could be my coconut rush”), as Sui Zhen gets lost in the fun of frontin’ up (“when I see you baby you were acting nonchalantly, so when I see you baby I am acting nonchalant”). Equally impertinent is the jazzy lounge pop of ‘Dear Teri’, which you could easily imagine playing in a place like the New York Bar as two people share a drink for the first time.
° The Body Reset EP let Sui Zhen experiment with tempos and electronics, just as her folky 2012 album Two Seas was a practice in building structures. Here, both styles meet somewhere in the middle. Lead single ‘Infinity Street’ begins with a strutting 808 beat and settles into a neat groove of minimalist ‘80s disco–pop, while ‘Walk With Me’ plays out with a blissful sense of cest–la–vie which goes unperturbed but for the interjections of a wompy male vocal sample. Ruing her role in a past relationship, the singer hits Grimes–like high notes during ‘Take It All Back’ — the album’s saddest moment — as her voice crackles with contrition.
° ‘Alter Ego’, the closing track, chirps with bird song and eerie, kaleidoscopic guitar plucks, with Sui Zhen wondering “when will I see you again?” as if watching the persona of Susan disappear back into the recesses of her imagination. It remains to be seen if the character will return, but regardless of Sui Zhen’s taste for genre–hopping and extracurricular projects (DJing and filmmaking), her conceptualization feels like an appropriate entry point to a poppy, theatrical chapter of her career than it does a one–off aberration. What feels certain is that Susan won’t remain a secret for much longer. ° http://www.thefourohfive.com/
|Sui Zhen ~ Secretly Susan (May 17, 2016)|