UZA returns with a new EP a little over a year after Banality of Evil. In ways, Prototype is a continuation of Banality of Evil while also a step back in familiar territory. Throughout these four tracks, UZA continues to dive into her signature style while growing at the same time.
Opening Prototype with “Language” is smart. It’s a mixture of the core UZA elements. The slower tempo gives each verse staying power while building and adding more layers into her music. It’s not exactly a wandering tempo and the eighth note percussion melody adds to the momentum. She’s also more deliberate with the vocals and remains at a comfortable tone. “Language” is a bit melancholy compared to other tracks but is still able to harness her energy.
“Finder” reminds me a bit of older UZA songs and an infusion of UZA&SHANE, her other project. “Finder” might not be a city pop track, but it does carry tones throughout the end of verses and the chorus. One of UZA’s strengths is composing excellent melodies and that’s apparent on the song. I also think UZA’s focus on mid-level vocals to match the song is a good choice. She does have a higher range and shows that a bit after the bridge, but “Finder” shows that blasting around the octave is unnecessary.
If you missed “Airdrop” with Cat Psalm and Universe Mongae, you should take a listen because “Micro” sounds like a project birthed from inspiration. The percussion samples are the focus with the programmed hi-hat rhythms mixed with the snare and bass. It keeps the song moving and UZA’s vocals move between each hit without being drowned out. It’s almost mechanical in presentation, but grabs the focus into each verse.
Completing the four songs with “Name,” this song sounds like it could have fit on her full length. The minimalism in the intro finally lets you focus on the vocals and the slow build up creates tension. I really like songs that have that droning bass tone in the low end which “Name” has a lot. I feel like “Name” is the most deliberate of all songs on Prototype. It hints at a crescendo that makes a small appearance during the bridge. There’s also some instrumentation that goes beyond other songs she’s composed and opens the potential for a breakout single.
Essentially Prototype is a snapshot of UZA. It feels like she’s continuing the work she created on Banality of Evil, By not releasing a set of songs that could have been album b-sides, UZA is building out all the avenues she could explore. I think the EP is perfect for existing UZA fans, but others should go to the full length before listening to Prototype.