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Kate NV — Wow
(RVNG Intl. RVNGNL82, 2023, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-09-25

Wow Cover art

In the world of experimental electronic music, there are so many artists who tend towards harsh sounds and dark tones, that Kate NV is like a ray of sunshine. Her warped synth-pop is deceptively simple, constructed of many sounds that will remind listeners of vintage video game music. But behind the veneer of childlike play is a wealth of intelligent invention. In addition to synthesizers and drum machines, the arrangements feature vibraphone, violin, guitar, trumpet, clarinet, flute, and a wide range of percussion, some of which are real and some emulated or sampled. Each of the eleven tracks has a slightly different take on the style, but the overall mood is bouncy and quirky, with a sly wink at the subtle subversion of fluffy popular music. Close listening reveals many techniques and ideas taken from such areas as Glass-like minimalism, toy-instrument experimentation, Japanese kawaii-pop, and glitchy digital sound manipulation. “Kate NV” is the name used by Russian musician Yekaterina Shilonosova, and her purpose is apparently to prove that art can be fun, and doesn’t always have to be taken seriously. I don’t know if she has a hope of entering the world of dance clubs — certainly her music is energetic even though it lacks the kind of beats found in most dance music — but I suspect a lot of listeners who enjoy pop music but want something a little outside the predictable would enjoy Wow.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Kate NV (Yekaterina Shilonosova)

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