Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides

Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides

There had always been a burning sense of resistance baked into SOPHIE’s experimental soundscapes, which simultaneously honoured and rejected the tropes and rules of mainstream pop. But the Scottish producer’s visionary debut album is an exhilarating escalation—a work that not only exploded expectations around song structure and form but conventional notions of gender, identity and self, as well. Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides is sweeping and defiant, pinballing from glitchy rave cuts (“Ponyboy”) to ethereal pop elegies (“It’s Okay to Cry”) to ambient passages that feel practically spiritual (“Pretending”). Each left turn is an invitation to slip further into SOPHIE’S neon universe. In the hands of any other artist, such dizzying digital distortions would appear to warp reality. Here, though, they clarify it. Every synthetic vocal, slithering synth, zigzagging beat and gleefully warped sample brings us closer to SOPHIE'S truth. Some of the project’s headiest questions—those about body, being and soul—seem to rest on a distant horizon the rest of the world hasn’t caught up to yet. “Immaterial”, a fizzing, maximalist hat-tip to Madonna, moves the goalposts even further, proposing a version of consciousness in which the material world is, in fact, only the beginning.

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