If you ever have the good fortune to catch OG Lullabies live, as she bounces back and forth from violin to bass guitar to synthesizer, you’ll realize that she doesn’t need a band–she is a band.
Lullabies is similarly in full control on the self-contained sonic universe that is her new EP, CRUESCONTROL. The “OG” in her name, short for “zero-gravity,” should give you a pretty good sense of the alien soundscapes found on the release.
The seven-song CRUESCONTROL is a jazzy fever dream. Lullabies crafts a spacey, retrofuturistic aesthetic across the EP’s 24-minute runtime. Synthetic bass and pitched-up vocal samples coexist alongside violin and jazz piano, like something you’d hear in an alternate universe speakeasy.
Lullabies pieces together her unique sound from a slew of source genres (jazz, soul, electro pop, and acid house to name a few), adds a little violin on top, and then deconstructs it all for good measure. The output can be disorienting at first, but once you start to pick out small hooks buried beneath piano melodies and sandwiched by violin solos, CRUESCONTROL is entrancing.
Give a listen to EP standout “Shadow Moves” for an example of the fluid structure that permeates the EP. The song opens with Lullabies singing, “Smooth as the shadow / Move when you move,” a bite-sized hook repeated a few times across the song. The song fades into a sparse synthesizer-supported refrain dominated by an urgent kick drum. But then, a funky acid house bassline is added, and then a tinny cymbal, overdubbed vocal harmonization, a jazzy keyboard riff, some synthesized clicks and gurgles, and it’s suddenly over, ten times denser than when it started.
“Shadow Moves,” like most of CRUESCONTROL, is an exercise in momentum–elements are added and layered and, aside from a few specific fragments of melody, never returned to once played. That sense of progression, along with the air of elegance granted by the omnipresent violin, gives each song an almost theatrical feel.
The sheer volume of effects and instrumentation can be overbearing at times. Still, the payoff when each of the distinct ingredients notches perfectly into place, like during the climactic finale of “Wanderlust,” is more than a fair payoff.
Lullabies offers a succinct review of her own on EP closer “The Forecast/No Tribe” when she sings, “No tribe / I ride on my own.” She’s definitely in her own lane on CRUESCONTROL.