TSHA – ‘Capricorn Sun’ review: euphoric debut certifies producer’s scene-leading ascension

Created with live music in mind, the London-based artist, producer and DJ's debut album transforms lockdown frustration into gradual catharsis

Since 2020, TSHA has become one of the most talked-about break-out names in electronic music. With two strong EPs (‘Flowers’ and ‘OnlyL’) in the bag, as well as a pumping compilation for Fabric, the London-based artist, producer and DJ’s emotional blend of patiently-euphoric synth build-ups and hook-filled pop stylings have connected far and wide, elevating her far beyond underground favourite status.

Recorded during the COVID lockdown, TSHA’s long-awaited debut album ‘Capricorn Sun’ is a deeply personal, reflective and, contrary to the time it was created in, soothing listen. Dreaming of one day getting back on the dancefloor, TSHA turned to music as a vital outlet of expression. The record’s shifting moods and genres effectively convey that desire, with house, breakbeats, acid and pop fusing together to channel a shared feeling of long-awaited ecstasy. Ravey synths and steel drums explode with energy and happiness half-way into ‘The Light’, while ‘Dancing In The Shadows’ aims to unite strangers in a moment of hedonistic, hands-in-the-air clubbing bliss. ‘OnlyL’ rides this high to a state of transcendence, propelled by the angelic harmonies of NIMMO, whose dark lyrics juxtapose the upbeat instrumental.

What also helped TSHA get through lockdown was the support of those closest to her. These people help shape ‘Capricorn Sun’: the sombre piano keys and fuzzy static of the poignant ‘Galdem (Intro)’ are joined by a motivational voice note from techno producer Effy, who encourages her friend to big herself up. It’s a simple yet clever narrative device, pulling back the curtain on TSHA’s world during that enforced time of isolation. Elsewhere, her partner Mafro features on the LP’s lead single ‘Giving Up’: written when the couple had “little space to breathe”, it transforms the despair of a strained relationship into hope and celebration. The kaleidoscopic ‘Sister’, meanwhile, came to life after TSHA found out that she has an older half-sister, while the playful ‘Nala (Outro)’, an ode to her dog, closes the album with a sentimental electronic lullaby.

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The return of touring and clubnights post-COVID has seen TSHA undertake a taxing touring schedule in a bid to capitalise on her momentum, racking up over 100 shows worldwide across 2021 and 2022 in the process. Adjusting to such a busy lifestyle after the downtime of the pandemic has, however, taken its toll, and TSHA has spoken openly on social media in recent months about the impact that performing has had on her mental health.

That topic is appropriately highlighted on the brooding ‘Anxious Mind’. Showcasing a darker side to TSHA’s sound, the track sees guest vocalist Clementine Douglas sing about “fading away” and “wanting to be free” to convey the desperation of wanting to escape the mind, all while the track becomes engulfed by sub-heavy bass as glitchy bleeps enhance a feeling of claustrophobia.

It’s rare that an electronic album manages to tell such a strong story while eliciting so many different emotions. Impressively balancing meditative calmness (‘Time’) with rave euphoria (the guitar-led ‘Running’), ‘Capricorn Sun’ proves that TSHA really is in a league of her own.

Details

TSHA - 'Capricorn Sun' artwork

Release date: October 7

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Record label: Ninja Tune

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