Bubbly guitar strings usher in a bristling groove that chases after a rollicking drum beat. They could just as easily have been a synthesized melody, resembling something angelic and removed from the cruelties of earth. Better yet, that synthesizer could be mixed as to crush us with its effervescent tonality, all the while supporting a robotic vocal track spewing colorful words across a backdrop of ambient white noise and playful piano keys. AV Super Sunshine didn’t want us to wonder what his new single “Orange” might have sounded like were he to utilize a different recording technique, a different style of attack, or a straight up different tempo than he ultimately decided to use when slaving over the soundboard in-studio; he cut three spellbinders – a radio mix, a club mix and a rock mix of “Orange” – and packaged them together as a single release, in yet another eccentric act of pure artistry that only the AV Super Sunshine brand can yield. Longtime fans and supporters of AV won’t be disappointed by any of them, in what many critics have already dubbed one of the young New Year’s most intriguing arrivals.
Each rendition of “Orange” is uniquely stylized and features a walloping equalization meant to rattle our bones with low-end firepower. The radio mix, bar none, is the juggernaut of the group. From beat one, we’re riding a rollercoaster of rhythm that swings harder and harder as we careen through AV’s soft, tender verses, which are reflected in the keys of a swanky grand piano. The rock mix is a bit more blustery, recalling more of a Motor City garage rock kind of a sound than it does unfiltered glam, but it’s nevertheless a really groove-filled number that wears its identity well.
Then, of course, we have the club mix, which is perhaps the most puzzling of all three versions of “Orange.” It’s not that the song’s harmonies don’t land or that its beats fail to inspire; it’s that the cerebral tonality it embraces strikes me as more psychedelic in nature than it does urban. The framework is fit for any dancefloor, but personally I think there’s a lot more to this version than the other two in terms of texture and multilayered enormity.
AV Super Sunshine is as diverse an artist as we’ve got in 2019, and as far as I’m concerned, “Orange” couldn’t have been realized much more organically and free of the commercial varnish that plagues most all pop music than it is here. Even if I weren’t a music critic by profession, it’s not possible for me to deny how sharply constructed this piece is in all three of its meticulous mixes, as they each show off so much musical prowess on the part of AV that you would literally be crazy not to marvel at how dexterous the resulting output really is. The bottom line? “Orange” is a required acquisition for anyone who considers themselves to be a serious follower of independent music, and though it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know about AV Super Sunshine, it does add another gem to his growing treasure chest of a discography.
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