Cassette, Compact Disc (CD)
Brooklyn-based, Asian-American artist OHYUNG titled their new album imagine naked!—as well as tracks from the album—after selected lines in t. tran le’s poem “Vegetalscape.” The poem explores the small joys and complexities of living with mental illness—a topic OHYUNG expands upon via musical form.
Imagine naked! doesn’t stick to one sound palette. The eerie depths of the ambient “tucked in my stomach!” gives way to the melancholy, meditative piano on “yes! my weeping frame!” The moody hum of the title track transforms into the echoing, bell-like tones of “symphonies sweeping,” a journey that ends more pensive than it began with the appearance of lower tones in the octave range, and “to fill the quiet!” rides the swelling waves of a single synth melody.
OHYUNG seems to have mapped the evolution of the tracks to create the greatest emotional impact. “my hands hold flora!” is peppered with white noise loops and a grating metallic edge, but gradually transitions from its skittish beginning into something more euphoric, ending on a single note from a pan flute. “Philodendrons trail!” builds discomfort with its distorted beat and melody, and the solemn notes of album closer “releases like gloves!” are transformed as the lower-end accompaniment gradually comes to the forefront. It’s a fascinating example of how even small, gradual changes can effectively alter emotion. Le’s poem highlights small details about living with mental illness; imagine naked! musically articulates those same moments in exquisite detail.