Shayu / Cares – DISPLAY 021/022

Seattle's Kid Smpl commissions a trans-Atlantic split release for his DISPLAY imprint.


Kid Smpl’s DISPLAY label offers artists a 10-15 minute run-time and unrestricted creative freedom. While this might prove daunting to some, Swiss producer Shayu and Canadian producer Cares turn it into gold. Modest, yet grappling, their sound develops with such understated sophistication that even distortion ends up sounding crisp as hell.

On “The Lake Down There,” Shayu weaves pastoral hymns into a bright texture. Piano chords and a mysterious crinkling motif flow into an R Plus Seven-esque mix; stark and resonant synth patterns are surrounded by airy vocals, which are then absorbed by a break that could make Villalobos sober up. An erratic pulse restlessly propels us forward. By the end, we’ve been seduced, teased, immersed and transcended; “The Lake Down There” wanders with such calculation that the result is as graceful as it is subtly infectious. 

Even more eclectic in style, Cares’ “Praying to Sponsor” kicks off with warped, dissonant vocals that are restrained in favour of a violin-like sound. Fiery vocals become abstracted and unrecognizable, as if they were trying to intrude on the track from elsewhere – this makes way for some carefully groomed distortion and a melancholic highlight that cuts to the bone. The mysterious ending perfectly summarizes the record; excellently produced, Cares’ highly technical experiments layer, distort and loop sound to get to the bottom of it.

by Juliet Hoornaert.

The Shayu/Cares split is out now on DISPLAY. Purchase it here.

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