Producer Urban Romantic City’s first EP is a collaborative affair, drawing from a range of influences and artists to amalgamate her vision into something sonically appealing. For the most part it is tempered, shying away from brazen climaxes and instead favouring consistent polish. For fans of her LPs Lost and The Canvas it may feel too short, and so brief that it is unable to truly take form, but for those unfamiliar with the work of the graphic designer, this is a more than serviceable introduction.
“Mine” kickstarts the release, shuffling through its brisk runtime with staccato beats, outbursts of jazz-like brass, and airy synths. Mila.Akilah is purposefully languid until Won Jang, who syringes the track with more energy, thrusts himself amongst fizzing synth-lines. Towards the apex he settles into the relaxing energy of the offering, before things sharply fade out. It’s a frantically changing but nonetheless relaxing opener, and something which requires more than just one listen to firmly grasp its intentions.
“Lights” is a bit more straightforward, wrapping vocals around condensed trap beats, subtle dream-like melodies, and spacious synths. It feels more urgent than “Mine,” and Skinny Brown and Charming Lips’ chemistry is evident, particularly in the earworm of a hook. To its detriment, “Lights” does fall foul of being cluttered on occasion, with the only real smoothness coming at the tail-end when water droplets complement the fading mix with an understated calmness. This lack of organisation does somewhat mar the replay value, but never enough for the cut to be considered outright bad, or even as much as below average.
Urban Romantic City is at her most expansive in “Communication,” with the bright, colourful sliding synths the perfect backbone to Acay’s heavily autotuned vocals. It is loud, frantic and bouncy in the best possible way, syringing the EP with a hearty dose of carefree energy that it otherwise misses. Smile-raising and maximalist, “Communication” is the highlight in this short form effort.
“Loving” adds a consummate punctuation mark on proceedings, drawing from ‘00s R&B and hip-hop influences to create a mid-tempo offering which has both pace and polish. Uzuhan, with his sharply dispatched verses and hooky vocal delivery, shines here, with the harmonies in the post-chorus a particular highlight.
All in all, AURORA is a mildly captivating EP. It doesn’t necessarily hit the heights of Urban Romantic City’s full-lengths, nor does it entirely deliver on its potential, but when it does reach the right notes, it plays them with a pronounced competency.