MOONSUN is an artist who’s been creating music since at least 2018. Having already released a full album in 2020, Collapse, she returned this year with the 5-track EP TOM:貪. In it she offers a blend of distorted, enigmatic synth along the lines of min.a or ELE, with an unusual vocal technique often similar to Puer Kim in its haunting nature.
“HIATUS” is a catchy opener. The persistent synth bassline and snappy snare beats hook you in before she even begins to sing. It sets the stage for the EP and also introduces listeners to many of the production elements MOONSUN uses throughout; purposeful dissonance and irregular beats paired with multilayered vocals that reverb throughout her exploratory soundscapes.
This track is particularly hypnotic, with highly repetitive lyrics and that same bassline looping forever. However, about halfway through she breaks it down, bringing keyboard to the forefront of the soundscape before returning with even stronger, more exaggerated vocals.
“TOM:貪,” which can be translated to “greedy” from Chinese, is the titular track. It starts off with a simple synth beat, slowly adding one element at a time to the mix; each addition changes the vibe just slightly, and at first almost seems like it doesn’t quite fit.
However, this strange soundscape manages to work. MOONSUN’s vocals come in, multilayered and adding to the borderline unsettling atmosphere. The lyrics translate rather roughly, but the song is all about being greedy for a person and not being used to this behavior from yourself – at least, not anymore. Within the layers of irregularity, MOONSUN manages to create something sensuous; all the deeper, darker parts of the instrumentals and vocals feeling like that dark desire rising up and threatening to take over.
“BABE:TWISTED” kicks in with an unexpectedly groovy bass, though the synth elements soon join in and bring it into the fold of the EP’s sound. Where before MOONSUN had been singing in short bursts, or in a style almost reminiscent of chanting, here she opts to sing in a more traditional manner – although she maintains those layers and reverb throughout.
Despite its dark atmosphere, I can’t help but bop along to its infectious bassline, and MOONSUN’s call, “hey baby,” hooks me right in. When she turns back to chanting near the end of the track, modifying her voice unnaturally, it feels hypnotic. I’m obsessed with MOONSUN’s vocal choices in this track, and would highly recommend it.
Track four, “TIME:INTERLUDE,” may be the biggest tonal shift on the EP. It maintains some of the groove from the previous track, with retro disco-style synth utilized in a somber fashion. Her smooth, natural vocals, intercepted by the more irregularly harmonized choruses, are addictive. MOONSUN flexes her range here, and for me this makes it a real bright spot on the EP. Despite some of the lyrics being a bit difficult to fully understand, I find myself trying to sing along every time she starts in with, “It’s go time…”
“BETA:EGO” is similar to the opener in its repetition but heavier in instrumentals. Bright and high vocalization contrast the dark, multilayered synth. MOONSUN wastes no time, throwing listeners right into the deep end, opting for a bold, strong close with this track.
It’s difficult to pin MOONSUN’s style down, and even harder to describe it. It feels like an exploration into deep space, unexpected and at times unsettling, but something that makes you curious and keeps you on your toes. While some choices seem jarring at first, every song is pulled together in a masterful way that leads to new discoveries with each listen. Overall, it’s intensely interesting and subversive, and a must for anyone who enjoys unconventional electronic artists.