Written By: Brandon Basile
Everything is trippy. Everyone wants a trip for different reasons; to somewhere, from somewhere. Just get me out of here as fast as you can. Chicago artist SuperKnova is no stranger to the trippy vibes of the night as can be heard, felt, and seen through their Splendor Dysphoria EP released in early June. This gentle tryst into the night time will calm you and maybe even save your life.
Described by the artist as queer pop/ hip hop Splendor Dysphoria presents a cool tapestry of guitar lead chord framings with solos and keyboard embellishments. The instrumentation is well tied together, but the term Dysphoria fits because there seems to be an emptiness present. SuperKnova fills the space with wit-sculpted lyrics as they sing softly on “Burn” “Been living in hell for a while / But I’m too scared to give it up / My punch-drunk heart doesn’t have more to give / Don’t you know you have to die a few times to live.” The hip-hop influences of the album mostly come through in the pacing of the lyrics and some hip-hop style ad-lib samples in the production, but it does seem like the artist knows what is going on which is possibly the reason for the “k” added into the spelling of supernova. The k seems to add a sense of “knowledge” to the idea of the supernova; a wisdom that comes across in the lyrics. The chill nature of SuperKnova’s soft vibes and vocals seeks to supplement the void that we all feel in our night time adventures. SuperKnova knows that we’re out here looking for something and doesn’t want us to feel alone in our searching.
Songs like “Nights a Bitch” and “City Glow” represent the neon vibes of Chicago nightlife. “Nights a Bitch” speaks on the madness of the night as Superknova sings:
The night’s a bitch Taking on me, All over me
I’m lonely and horny again
My life’s all shit
Taking on me, All over me
I’m lonely and crazy again
SuperKnova lays down well placed guitar solos and backing melodic lines throughout the project but with light distortion, not the heavy distortion of rock stylings, and some echoes to complement the gentle nature of the vocals. “Sex is Universal” is musical encouragement to get out there and live the sex life that you desire as SuperKnova rhymes “Sex is universal / The parts are all reversible / You only get one life / Dance on that floor / You only get one night / What are you waiting for”. The project closes with “December Night”, something of a love song to a suicidal friend. We’ve all had friends that have made that grim decision at some point but SuperKnova seeks to make a plea to their spirit saying “Baby, the world is cruel / And that’s why I need you / To kiss the scars on every soul / Only you can, only you understand”. May our souls continue to be beautiful in death and, most necessarily, in life. Full EP available on Bandcamp.