Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Way back in ancient history, 2016 to be exact, Mounika released her latest album Seagulls. The sixteen track album is compiled of transient harmonies and magical depth, often complemented by heavily altered tenor vocals, giving the songs an added mysticism. While Apple Music characterizes Mounika as a hip-hop or rap genre, I find this classification to be at the very least lacking. Indeed, Seagulls falls much closer to the atmosphere genre on the spectrum. However, a more accurate categorization might be experimental. Mounika’s music is harmonic and challenging. Vocals and instrumentals become one sound, working together to build into a uniquely pleasing sound.
Without a doubt this music will relax you. It is slow and moving and quite simply pleasant. Seagulls is captivating enough to hold your interest through sixteen full length tracks while being subtle enough to massage our subconscious. While working best as a complete composition, the songs of the album are equally fascinating on their own terms. Any given track might feature pitch changes, melody changes mid song, and so many more twists and turns it would be impossible to classify all of them. In truth, the album is an exercise in listening. Too often we, or at least I, find ourselves trying to derive meaning from everything, especially songs. Perhaps some things are best left in the realm of the intangible, and simply enjoyed. The only challenge, perhaps, that Mounika proposes with Seagulls is not to overthink.
Rather, I’d suggest letting the sonic waves of the album wash over you by simply clicking play on the album. Shuffle or one by one, this album works on so many levels. Personally, I find ‘I Know After Laughter’, ‘Halfway’ and ‘I Think I Like You’ to be the gems of the album. Each one features beautifully distorted, ethereal vocals and tessellating backbeats.
‘All I Want Is You’ stands out as well, as this track puts more emphasis on the vocals, this time lightly edited and pleasantly sing-song in nature. The echoes and pulsing sensations that characterize the album are deliberate and charming, and I emphasize, not without depth. Experimental music exists in an ambiguous void and very often leaves us wondering whether we are listening to music or simply noise. With Seagulls, Mounika strikes a balance that I see as unrivaled in the genre. I would even go so far as to suggest that we might be witnessing a new genre altogether.