Producer Suicideyear crafts eerie blend of IDM and trap on EP ‘Hate Songs’
Before we get too far into talking about “Hate Songs,” the newest EP from electronic producer Suicideyear, it’s worth noting that it’s not nearly as dark as the names would suggest.
Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t a darkness present in the 25 minutes of this EP; it’s just not the death metal equivalent of electronic music that you might expect.
Suicideyear is the stage name for James Richard Prudhomme, a 22-year-old DJ based out of Baton Rouge, La. The artist’s style is an interesting blend of influences, as it’s easy to tell he’s just as inspired by the IDM (intelligent dance music) of Aphex Twin as he is by the trap beats of Metro Boomin.
On “Hate Songs,” Suicideyear dabbles in both of these styles in about an even split. The tracks on “Hate Songs” are dark and moody, usually favoring a spacey instrumental sound. Hi-hats rattle in the background, as is typical for a trap beat, but the main focus of each song often is eerie synthesizer parts, more similar to the IDM of the 1990s.
Occasionally, though, Suicideyear amps up the aggression. This happens most notably in the middle track on the record, “Spent Days Watching Horses Die.” The beats here are sharp and frenetic, with the melody being produced by a high-pitched whine.
It’s moments like these that Suicideyear begins to sound like a very trendy hip-hop producer. While you would never hear beats like these on the radio with pop rappers spitting bars over them, Suicideyear’s sound would be perfect in the hip world of SoundCloud rap, where songs with dark beats and drugged-out, depressed rappers are becoming the norm. If Suicideyear doesn’t collaborate with rappers like the $uicideBoy$ or XXXTentacion, I’d say he’s wasting his potential.
Now, if my constant name-checking of other artists in this review didn’t already give you this idea, I’ll say it outright: Suicideyear doesn’t do enough on this project to carve out a unique space for himself in the world of electronic music.
Sure, the dark, dreamy beats are enjoyable; I’ve spent quite a bit of time with this record this week, as it makes for relaxing background music. But the fact of the matter is that, while Suicideyear does work in a unique blend of genres, he wears his influences very clearly on his sleeve.
It seems that, for right now, the young artist is focused more on working in sounds that he knows can be successful than he is with creating a unique “voice,” as it were, separate from other artists.
With that said, though, Suicideyear has quite a bit of potential. His beats, while a bit samey-samey when compared to other artists, are still quite engaging to listen to. It’ll be quite some time before he puts out a classic record like one of Aphex Twin’s early albums, but I’d say he has it in him.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6119 or on Twitter @PatKernan.
Album: ‘Hate Songs’
Best Track: ‘Lagniappe (Spring Hate)’