Smurphy's first release for Los Angeles-based Leaving Records finds the Mexican producer inhabiting a strange dream world, switching between moods and genres at a moment's notice. The album's 11 tracks flow into each other seamlessly, and are best taken as a whole work. Smurphy's ethereal vocals and echo-shrouded production are reminiscent of several Not Not Fun artists such as Maria Minerva and LA Vampires, but her collage-like production style is more jarring and uneasy. "Aquarius Risinn" is one of the album's more languid moments, taking its time to fade in an easygoing trip-hop drum loop and layering in cricket-like chirps and pillowy vocals. On the other hand, "Wicked" has a juke-inspired beat that sounds like a cartoon character's chattering teeth, as well as scribbling keyboard melodies and lovely soaring vocals, not to mention a constantly repeated sample of a child's voice saying "wicked." This segues into the minute-long "Le Doppe Shoppe," which amplifies the intense rhythm and processes it with all manner of shredding effects. More spacy, ambient tracks like "Heavenly Bodies" emphasize the album's astrological theme. Smurphy uses a distorted, nervous-sounding piano melody to segue from the submerged dance rhythm of "Lean&Mean" to the watery textures of album-closer "Pisces." The album is a thrilling journey which never comes close to being obvious or predictable, and while it verges on being puzzling to the point of confusion, it all contributes to the mystery of this intriguing artist.
A Shapeless Pool of Lovely Pale Colours Suspended in the Darkness Review
by Paul Simpson