Breathing fresh life into what remains of the Bay Area’s DIY indie music scene is Amaury K-D, a musician from Berkeley, California, whose first full-length solo release Floating Bye came out in February of this year. K-D spent his first couple of college years writing the album’s 13 songs with a meditative, guitar-focused approach, ultimately recording and mixing them in his room using Garageband and Audiokit Synth One. As such, Floating Bye makes for a satisfyingly low-fi bedroom pop album that contains an atmospheric tenderness which captures the vacillations of the first years post-adolescence.
Floating Bye starts from a place of softness, opening with a gentle acoustic riff on “With You,” over which K-D sings, “I’d like to stay / here all day / with you,” in a mild humming tone which invites the listener into the album as he continues, “sing my song / all night long.” The earnestness contained in the opening track remains consistent throughout the album, as the tempo and sound evolves from one song to the next. “Good One,” the album’s second track is more uptempo, and the combination of synth-y swells backed with beats allows for a higher vibration of sound. The song however retains a dream-like quality, and K-D’s nonchalant delivery of repetitive lyrics calls to mind the work of Alex G. The element of shoegaze apparent in tracks such as “Cloud #9” lends a tender adolescent vibe to the album as it throws a veil over the lyrics, demonstrating that the songwriter walks the line of being conscious of the self without being necessarily self-conscious.
K-D uses this album as a space to explore a handful of sounds, apparent in tracks such as “Spaced Out” and “Jigey on Dums.” In the former, K-D throws in some pleasantly understated autotune harmonies which complement the mellow tones of the synth in the track. The latter song is more abrupt, featuring lo-fi drums and cymbals that offer a gratifying, muted crashing over indecipherably fuzzy vocals. Even as the track veers unexpectedly at the end, the listener is left with the second-hand joy of these musical oddities. In this sense, the album as a whole is reminiscent of the early self-released work of Greta Kline, not only in its willingness to experiment with tracks that create sonic juxtaposition to other elements of the release, but also the inexorable exhilaration of creating something from the most intimate of spaces -- the bedroom and the depths of identity and angst -- and then the vulnerability of making that work accessible to the world beyond. As the album wraps up, the tone is increasingly self-assured, notable in the penultimate track, “Disarray,” which employs harmonies, synths and beats, which creates a lilting sound with an easy confidence, despite the apprehension in the lyrics, “doomsday delayed.”
As someone who grew up in the Bay Area exploring its DIY indie music scene, I am pleased, even proud, to hear the new sounds and palatable tones of the talented youth of my home zone emerging into the world. I’ll be eagerly keeping my ear out for future releases from Amaury K-D.
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