To be fair I’m not really sure if Slic’s EP 2Real is really “minimalist hyperreal hyperpop” but it sounds real good in the headline and either way the EP is making is official debut for reals right here on the DELI blog plus it’s really Bandcamp Day (woot woot!) and there’s really an official release party on 9/23 on the rooftop of 99 Canal St. (woot! woot!) so let’s not waste time splitting hairs between reality, surreality, and hyperreality mmmkay.
The title track of 2Real opens with the lyric “I can’t shake this feeling now it’s all too real” sung in airy elevated tones over low synthetic rumblings and radio static but soon the song settles into a unsettled groove of pulsing quasars and it’s revealed in the second verse that “everything I love is from another world” and these two statements taken together get at the heart of Slic’s art with it’s galvanizing, glitched-out interplay between visceral and etherial realms and who’s to say which is really more real?
Likewise, 2Real’s four songs (all production, performance, and writing by Slic; mixed by Tobias (2real, new green), evy (animal), and slozza (world on ice), mastered by slozza) play off the contrast between bright, shiny melodic surfaces and tense, itching, squealing, squirming, fevered interiors full of timbral and textural intricacies that become more apparent upon each re-listen like low animal cravings dressed up in high fashion accessories.
And from whence do these compelling dynamics derive and from whose fevered mind are they produced? Well, far be it for me to play the psychoanalyst, but The Deli did manage to conduct a sit-down interview with Slic a.k.a. Cami Dominguez a couple days ago (really more like a rambling, highly-pleasant conversation about Venezuelan memes and getting lost in the creative process and current Mexican shoegaze bands and baffling early ‘70s porn parodies—whereupon insights were arguably gleaned.
For instance I learned that the multi-layered dynamics of 2Real’s leadoff track “Animal” are likely be traceable back to the song’s backstory—a song written for an erotic writing assignment where after failing to come up with an original story for that week Slic instead wrote an instrumental composition, basically an indirect erotic expression of frustrated direct eroticism translated into the IDM meets EBM meets musique concrète aesthetic of “Animal" and much of the rest of 2Real.
And it’s a fitting aesthetic for a song about “crawling out of my skin” that crawls out of its own skin repeatedly coming across at first like a lost demo for "page 3 model" and libidinous dance-pop diva Samantha Fox with its catchy keyboard melody and sultry vocal solicitations. But then almost right away it frays at the edges letting in glitchy squiggles and ghostly whispers and plinky toy keyboards running low on batteries all overlain with shifting layers of reverb and echo alongside Slic’s animal cries of “wild! wild!” dissolving into a swarm of skittering digital insects interrupted by a small choir of breathless VR angels singing about how “now love multiplies”…
…and indeed love does multiply in the shifting array of queer desires and post-gender identities depicted in the lyrics which are something like “a femme-top’s version of ‘Closer’ by Nine Inch Nails” (Slic’s own description!) that projects dominance one moment (clawing at your face just to get a taste) and submission the next (act up just so you pull at my hair) as witnessed also in the music video featuring Slic enfolded in the arms of Afro-Indigenous Boricua burlesque artist Maria Milagros and I’d recommend that you go over to Slic’s official Bandcamp page to watch the unedited version instead of the bowdlerized version embedded from NoBoobs directly above.
Another cool thing about talking with the artist was finding out how “Animal” got its start with a synth line that Slic kept pitching up until it took on a more percussive quality bringing to mind the traditional gaitas rhythms heard in their native Venezuela and if you listen to the track directly below I think you’ll hear some parallels with “Animal.”
Plus it’s perhaps telling that “Animal” fits so neatly with so much immigrant- and outsider-based music in expressing a sense of restlessness and constant movement with looping grooves repeated broken down and built back up and formed into new configurations, not unlike the deconstructed and reconstructed identities of immigrants and other social outsiders.
But I digress. Having spent early childhood in Caracas, Venezuela, Slic’s background is more akin to a second generation Venezuelan-American versus a native which only raises the "restless" stakes having been raised in Florida on the border of human civilization and wild swampland (watch out for crocs in the backyard!) surrounded by a familial pan-Latinx community while making frequent road trips to legendary underground Miami nightspots like Grand Central and Electric Pickle with the help of a fake ID whose photo was so egregiously fake that Slic sometimes felt the need to role-play the part of a 27-year-old Irish club attendee, before more recently relocating to Western Massachusetts and then to Brooklyn, all of which lends resonance to Slic’s unsettled, ever-morphing musical style that nonetheless makes you wanna shake your butt.
And finally before wrapping up this writeup I should mention how the subsequent tracks continue to explore new ear candy offshoots whether sour or sweet or melted into a congealed blog of sonic weirdness like in the sexy road trip depicted in “World In Ice” (the rental is a rari) or the title track “2Real” or the electro-pastoral fantasyland of “New Green” (left this city I let that ship sink / now I see palm trees when I fuck / summer forever light it up / new green new dream new crew new plug) and when played alongside other adventurous Latinx releases of late such as Ana Luisa & Seb’s techno/gaitas fusing Tumbo EP (a recent favorite of Slic’s that’s embedded above) I think we may have a new electro neuva cancion movement on our hands. (Jason Lee)