Vegyn – ‘Like A Good Old Friend’ EP review: meatier hooks than ever before

The producer – who's worked with everyone from Frank Ocean to Kali Uchis – departs further from his experimental roots with some serious poppy tunes

Vegyn’s status as an in-demand producer (he’s worked with Frank Ocean, Travis Scott and Kali Uchis) makes it hard to believe he’s ever had a second for his own music. But since 2019’s experimental debut EP ‘All Bad Things Have Ended – Your Lunch Included’, he’s squeezed in a further four solo releases, including ‘Text While Driving If You Want to Meet God!’, a 71-track mixtape of 8-bit-inspired glitch sketches from 2019. That same year, the London producer shared his debut album ‘Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds’ with collaborators such as JPEGMAFIA, heralding a shift towards meatier creations.

Now Joe Thornalley is back with his most refined work yet. ‘Like A Good Old Friend’ EP sees him again pluck ideas from deep house, glitch, electronica and ambient rap while crafting tunes that are less transient than his earlier work. Vegyn experienced a bout of depression when he first started writing the EP, but ‘Like A Good Old Friend’ is a bright affair. Some of his melancholic tones can still be heard here but this is a more lucent record that seeks to joyfully unite, rather than disrupt, melody and rhythm.

Lead single ‘I See You Sometimes’ shows off the producer’s skill as a songwriter. Here, east London rapper Jeshi’s despondent monologue (“Concrete streets I stroll / Can’t even breathe, places that I’m in / Expensive lies”) is time-stretched in sync with muted beats and simmering synths that threaten to boil over. Later, Jeshi’s vocals return to a more conventional rhythm, the lyrics “strollin’ through blissful, so unaware / Fireworks paintin’ the air” depicting a happier version of himself, soundtracked by beats that stomp rather than stutter.

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On the title track, Vegyn makes strings and lap steel guitar sound like Balearic house, before introducing his signature glitch stylings. The blending of the organic and synthetic adds a warmth to his music; ‘B4 The Computer Crash’, a ‘90s deep house song with a central internet dial-up melody, sounds like a fun nostalgia trip, while the muffled sub-bass on ‘Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Ruining Songs’ evokes that pang of waiting outside a nightclub, desperate to see your favourite DJ. Piano notes chime out over a seemingly endless loop of beats as if the night will never end.

The loops can become too repetitive (see ‘Mushroom Abolitionist’ and the maddening, beat-less fever dream of ‘So Much Time, So Little Time’), but overall Vegyn has made music that burrows deeper than before.

Details

Release date: March 19

Record label: Plz Make It Ruins

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