New Artist Watch: Humeysha, Soft Lit
A pair of new artists bringing new things in unconventional terms.
The walls between genres continue to crumble, just as the mindsets and modalities of society ricochet off each other with infinite and exponential abandon in this age of the gilded digital. There are puristic stalwarts in the art world, sure, and always, but the long arc of aesthetic progress bends toward fusion. It’s not always a pretty sight, mind you, particularly when it’s done on a superficial tip. But when it’s done right, fusion can feel organic, authentic, and inevitable, commingling varying aesthetic strains at a root level, with heart and fervor.
That’s the zone for Humeysha, the project of Zain Alam, a singer and songwriter riding in a psychedelic-dipped guitar-laced lane, with an umbilical cord stretched to the Asian sub-continent.
The short bio reads: “Written and conceived in India, Humeysha channels diverse influences, echoing sounds from New York to New Delhi. The multilingual self-titled debut evokes a wayfarer’s meditative travels through heritage and homeland.”
The result, as heard in Humeysha’s stellar first single, melts modal guitars and puja bells with a reverbed vocal that scans as post-Panda Bear, but with less Brian Wilson and more fodder for mantra. Humeysha belongs to the Camp & Street collective, a progressively minded art cabal spearheaded by the inimitable rap/ball/culture mashing future-master LE1F. The video for “Burma Between You & Me” is directed by Ethan Young, and it’s a psilocybic treat. Hear more at Humeysha’s Soundcloud. Or check out his full-length, out Friday, 10/2.
Do you believe in left-field breakup R&B? Or the sonic bed inhabited by Shamir Bailey?
If you’ve made it to this third sentence, Soft Lit might be something you should know about, let’s run it down: Soft Lit is the NYC-based duo of Tara Chacon and Tyler McCauley, who were once strangers, as all people are, later becoming roommates recovering from their respective failed relationships. They are “part of the production team” behind Shamir’s debut LP Ratchet, and are signed to Nick Sylvester’s genre-agnostic imprint Godmode, and what they’ve crafted with this eponymous four-track EP refracts all of this bio data, projecting it onto a pliable slate. Its tracks swing from “Blank Wall”‘s spritely, Jessie Ware-styled dancefloor lust to “Ocean King”’s dingy trap thrust.
Soft Lit is a nice introductory sketch—the songs frame the warm intimacy of Tara’s vocals and the duo’s interest in twisting house with more amorphous contemporary production tics—and in total, through the up-close intimacy and the synths rumble and smear, there’s the promise of a big release, some day, a bright shiny thing born of the alchemy of broken hearts. Sample the video for “Ocean Key” above, and the whole EP below.