One of Australia’s most exciting musical minds right now has to be Melbournian native Oscar Key Sung. The singer/producer, who lists influences ranging from Hip Hop/R&B superstar Drake to classical minimalist composer Arvo Pärt, has been exploring a sonic and visceral polarity since his first release in 2011. His music not only exists in a world that appears both sentimental and futuristic, classic and experimental, but also thrives as effortlessly deep on the collective dance floor as it does in physical and mental isolation.
Key Sung’s latest EP Altruism travels the same path, following on from his celebrated debut EP Holograms. Altruism navigates a sound that is at times rapturous and frenetic, but anchored by vocals so seamless it sounds like he’s mastered the art of circular breathing. Opener and second single Skip epitomises this idiosyncratic style, a slow burning appeal punctuated by synthesised strings and samples symbolic of modern communication. Frantic interlude Inside Job abruptly breaks the haze before the flustered textures of lead single Premonition elicits a more raucous response.
The EP’s constant tension and release is blissfully resolved after the almost polyrhythmic introduction of Brush. Before feverish percussion and disorientating layered vocals pervasive in Light disrupt our content. Key Sung juxtaposes erratic percussive breathing against impossibly smooth falsetto in title track and closer Altruism, deepening still Key Sung’s signature sense of conflict: wavering over the edge of contented tranquillity and restless disquiet.
Oscar Key Sung continues to forge a unique and comprehensive sound that is in a constant state of thrilling push and reassured pull. Maybe on his next release we’ll be treated to an R&B interpretation of Arvo Pärt’s self-invented compositional system tintinnabuli…