Fans of Lights were ahead of the curve when a mysterious new EDM artist surfaced recently. LŪN was a familiar name to fans of the Canadian pop artist’s “Skin and Earth” era, as they were a background character in the comic series released alongside the 2017 album. LŪN hopped into the real world from the depths of Madison Oasis’ underground scene and now delivers self-proclaimed “goth-bounce” beats and serves as an alias for Lights herself to peruse the world of electronic music.
LŪN’s debut EP, haha i like it, dropped April 9th and serves up six electronically infused tracks on a bass-shaken silver platter. This is top tier production laced with a handful of mostly indiscernible lyrics and enough energy to power the western half of the United States if we blasted these songs through the grid. What I found so remarkable about this set of songs is that each one feels like a different scene in the same movie. Each track is a different mood, a different collection of frames, but together they create a feature film.
Like any good flick, we start off by setting the scene. “bitches” eases us into the dark, slowly wading through murky bass punctuated with an enchanting melody. The countdown to the drop starts with the sound of a ticking clock weaving in and out of the soundscape and while the tempo doesn’t change, it feels like things are picking up pace. This feels like a scene where main characters are introduced on opposite ends of a crowded space, cameras panning back and forth in quick succession, flashing from one face to the next… but when a singular lyric “bitches” rings out, their eyes finally meet and some kind of chase ensues. Quick on their feet, they dart in and out of crowds in perfectly timed chaos. The beat comes back down and you think one of them may have escaped without a trace, but that ticking clock filters back in from behind a wall of Inception-esque bass waves and once again we’re in pursuit. As the track filters out it leaves me with the feeling of a narrow escape, and someone is left watching their back as we move into the next song.
Enter “y2k2k” which, if “bitches” were a game of cat and mouse on foot, this is a full fledged car chase. The anticipation of the chase builds in time with the beat and when we make our way to the drop, someone’s close on your tail. You can feel the pressure of someone following you as you weave in and out of traffic, trying to put some distance between you and the car in question. But as the bass falls into place, they’re right behind you again. Coming into the drop, you ease off the brakes and onto the throttle, eyes darting between the road in front of you and the rear view as your tachometer hits the red line. Even in the midst of the chase, you crank the volume on this song before shifting gears and leaving the car behind you in the dust. Like the action movie this album is, when you’ve lost your tail you ease your vehicle into an abandoned warehouse somewhere near the water and set up the perfect transition into the next track, which in my opinion is best served on a yacht.
Fittingly, “us at the boat” is a summer hit. Sun glistens off still waters while waiters in black tie attire serve expensive champagne to attendees of this exclusive, invite-only event. You somehow worked your way in through the crowd, lingering on the outskirts while taking in your surroundings. People around you are dressed in designer beachwear, vibing to the DJ hired to keep the swarm of extras busy while the party host schmoozes the antagonist for some kind of skeezy business deal that thickens the plot. Your mission was probably to garner as much information as possible without being caught and you sneak around this yacht party until you get what you came for. As this upbeat pop-electric bop bounces off crystalline waters and caviar, you gather your intel and hum along to the lyrics as you wait for this ship to make its way back to port and you can disembark under the radar.
“um sir” could be played over a dance club scene in a dark, futuristic Netflix special. Boasting rave-worthy beats, I think that if you close your eyes, you could see neon signs lining a blacked out dance floor punctuated with strobe lights from a stage. The electricity pulsing through the crowd is palpable as the track builds before the drop, people moving in time around you before a laugh rings out and then you’re shoved into the drop, and the entire space goes dark at once. You can feel the bass in your bones and just as it eases up, you think it’s over and step outside to catch your breath. The track continues, though muffled by the disconnect, you can feel the sound vibrating through the floor a room away. You wait until the interim beat matches the one pounding between your ribs, breath dragging in the space between as you attempt to get back to baseline. After a moment you feel ready to get back out there and as you push open a door separating you from the main space, you’re met with that laugh again and plummeted back into another drop. Pounding bass moves crowds around you, sweat trickling from foreheads as bodies create the kind of heat only felt in this space. And just as quickly as you were thrust into that second drop, you open your eyes and the scene disappears as the track closes out and you leave the club behind, acutely aware of the reality you left for three minutes and 12 seconds.
While the rest of the EP is very upbeat and raw, “girl brain” is a little bit of a softer track. Still packing a punch, this song would fit very nicely in a more intimate scene of a film. One where those main characters who locked eyes in the first scene finally get a more refined interaction. The breathy vocals and soft top drop lend this song to a scene locked behind a hotel room door somewhere foreign while the protagonists get a moment to breathe away from their mission and be human. A light breeze filters through open windows, fluttering sheer drapery and sun dapples the high thread count sheets strewn on the floor that you only catch a glimpse of as a camera pans across the door swinging shut after someone leaves the room and disappears down a long hallway.
“demolition” ft. Lights is the plot twist you never saw coming. Lights featuring on a track she produced under another name is the kind of paradoxical situation you find yourself in at the end of the movie when everything starts falling into place, that “ah-ha” moment where you realize you’ve been intentionally led off track the entire time. A good movie will leave you guessing right up until the very end, and this track is the perfect climactic finale to this EP. After the final big event in the film this song could trail into the credits flawlessly as Lights sings “demolition” and the screen fades to black.
This EP is a beautiful experience, and a flawless entrance into the electronic scene for LŪN. The production value far outlasts the short track list and left me wondering when we’d catch the Madison Oasis character outside the pages of Skin and Earth again. LŪN is going to be a staple in EDM playlists from here on out for sure.