Lofi music is a genre that’s blown up over these last few years. What defines it is more of a feeling than a dictionary definition, a feeling of rainy days, sitting idly and just thinking. Kin Tonik hopes to accomplish a similar exploration of thought with their newest EP, Aurora. Dreamy piano lines accompanied by beautifully chopped vocals greet you on the first song, the title track, that leave you feeling refreshed. The jazzy harmonies complement the upbeat drum line allowing for the vocals to rest easily on top. Aptly named after the northern lights this song is both beautiful and calming. Assisted by quiet static used as a white noise-like texture this song sets the tone for the rest of the project.
Each song leads almost seamlessly into the next creating a soundscape without interruption. The whole project feels like a single cohesive thought leading from one point to the next. Part of this was because the instrumentation felt very deliberate; at no point were there sounds that broke the ambience. Whenever a new voice entered it melded into the texture creating something new and interesting.
At times these arrangements are made by playing with the instrumentation, at others they’re subtle changes to the mixing. Without challenging or making sacrifices to the energy this allows each song to feel fresh from beginning to end. The consistency of the piano’s voice allows for familiarity while these new ideas are being presented. Because of this, the songs felt like they drifted between both melodies and harmonies alike.
Supported by a delicate piano melody, the second song, “Cope”, experiments with percussion more than the other songs on the EP. The vocals play a background role and allow this experimentation to feel natural. Dense chords in the pads pass by almost unnoticed yet create a depth that allows the recurring piano theme to continue sounding elegant while still providing movement to the song.
Aptly named, the capstone to the project, “These days” features the most lyrics with the phrase “These days they start to blend together, these days they start to change”. With the sentiment and tone of the song set Kin Tonik utilizes a variety of acoustic strings to aid the storytelling. Due to the lockdowns that we experienced last year this song is sure to resonate with many.
The calm vocals take a backseat most of the time, with songs being driven by harmonious piano lines and percussion changes. Led by the busy drum set, soothing melodies help ideas flow and the mind wander. These intricate drum beats challenge what the definition of lofi is while still retaining the almost meditative atmosphere. Each song is pushed along by these uptempo drums but doesn’t feel like they are rushed. Kin Tonik sounds mature and peaceful throughout the whole project.
Written by Tyler Roberts