In 2020, it could be argued that the one thing on everybody’s mind is completely intangible: the future. Pervasive feelings of extreme unknown lurk in the consciousness of most citizens on planet earth these days, which is why the similarly intangible music, soundscapes and dark, thrilling emotions on the concept EP Kenopsia hit so hard.
“Kenopsia” is a fictional word (originally coined by The Dictionary Of Obscure Sorrows) used to describe the forlorn atmosphere of an abandoned place. As a title, Kenopsia references a not-necessarily-so-fictional fate of post-pandemic life, via a brilliant and concise collaboration between Denver-based R&B hip-hop vocalist Kid Astronaut and producer Psychologic.
Towing the line somewhere between Seal, Frank Ocean, and the soundtrack to the next Bond film, the record’s pop sensibilities are balanced by an epic, dystopian sense of drama and purpose. Chord variations and synthesized swells build tension and bring a heightened, futuristic touch of production quality and musicianship. The thick production is impressive, but the true highlight is Kid Astronaut’s vocal ability. As both an MC and nimble R&B tenor, his performance here is worthy of many disciples.
Yet Psychologic’s blips and rich bass pulses embrace themes of an end-of-days apocalyptic party mashup, with rapid-fire raps on “Emotion.” “Made it to the end of the world and the beat knocks on while we rage,” Kid Astronaut spits. It’s a forceful set-up for a sensitively sung coda: “Though we are living in a dream world, I swear you were still my dream.”
On “Void,” the vocals scheme for solace in a new, barren future: “Love, come to my garden, let’s create something new / found you at the end of time so let’s journey into the blue / now the whole world’s destroyed, we could play in the void / now that the world is empty — no limits to what we can do.”
The tight EP’s sleek tracks are ideal for late nights spent spinning in the club, with introspective, albeit apocalyptic imagery of absence. Kenopsia speaks the mind of the 2020 generation who see a dark new narrative on the horizon and desperately wanna dance it all out.