Review: EasyFun - "Deep Trouble"

EasyFun - Deep Trouble
(PC Music 2015)

With each passing day, our world creeps toward pure artificiality. Thanks to the internet, friends, family and total strangers are just a few keystrokes away. Though this can make it easy to communicate with any person we choose from just about anywhere in the world, it can, conversely, make us further removed from those that we believe we're familiar with. Thanks to social media, one can attempt to engineer their own personality: an introvert can surround their self with a like-minded online subculture in order to feel more accepted - a narcissist can spend hours taking the perfect photo of themselves to upload to Instagram. Because we can selectively choose which glimpses of ourselves to project onto the canvases of Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, being cool no longer has to come naturally; it just takes a little work. But as one trims their imperfections from their alternate online doppelganger, their artificial identity enters the uncanny valley. Like an android or a mannequin, a social media account closely resembles humanity, but is still recognizably synthetic to the point where it's exotic and strange. EasyFun's Deep Trouble, the newest release coming out of London's infamous PC Music collective, resides as deep in this valley as music can get.

Appropriately named after a Jeff Koons exhibition, EasyFun is perhaps the defining example of a PC Music project - an artificial pop outlet in the vein of Johnny Bravo from The Brady Bunch or BINKY, the pop group composed entirely of holograms which appears in an episode of PBS' Arthur. Deeply rooted in the pop-art tradition, EasyFun's sound feels as if it were scientifically broken down to its simplest elements and engineered for maximum pleasure: it takes the most basic building blocks of pop music and stretches them to playful, Fauvist extremes. The opening track, "Laplander", for example, is built from countless layers of shimmery, chopped up vocal samples and dreamy synths. It's majestic, injecting its listener with an intense feeling of adventure, of anticipation. An instrumental version of the track would make for great title screen music on a Nintendo 64 game. The whole EP is a textural feast for the ears and a scarily addictive rush of euphoria. I can't explain what it is about EasyFun that I love so much: it is just a perfect combination of simple elements: soaring instrumentals, tender, extremely kawaii vocals and most importantly, enough subtlety to have you noticing new timbres and sounds with each listen.