Written by: Jen Dan
SEPHA., AKA Joey Aybak, is a daring and experimental singer-songwriter/musician of Turkish/Irish descent who currently resides in London after stints in Vienna and Berlin.
The electronic/avant-pop artist has dropped a couple of EPs and a string of singles over the past few years and he’s now just released his latest EP, titled opioid eyes in a cattle farm.
The jam-packed 7-track record is an intriguing blend of different styles, from cheeky electronic pop to serious singer-songwriter confessionals to straight-up electro oddness (and goodness!).
Standout “What We Wish We’d Said” is a sly, joyful romp (including its high-end, sexy, and possibly NSFW video) that showcases SEPHA.’s playful side. A bouncing, staccato beat and skittering electronics announce SEPHA.’s arrival on the scene as he struts in with a dispassionate catch to his vocals. This swiftly changes to wistful sighs and angelic cries surrounded by shining horn blasts and quirky electronic squiggles on the chorus sections.
The genre-composite “The Business In You Says” continues the upbeat, ‘80s-flashback, electro-pop sound and is again occasionally graced by SEPHA.’s falsetto vocals. But then the pace and intensity quicken at the midpoint as grimy metal guitar lines and sizzling electronics zip by, giving the song a grittier, rockin’ vibe. A perfect cut for the club dancefloor in any era.
EP-opener “Monitors Off” sweeps by with its head full of diffusive synth washes, crisp electronic percussion, and a kicky beat and SEPHA. singing in a drawn out, regretfully pining tone. “Darling Don’t Loosen Your Grip” displays a bluntly emotive SEPHA. sing-talking and exclaiming to a cathartic zenith against a spare, foreboding sonic backdrop.
On the even more avant tip, “The Cattle Farm (Interlude)” is laid out as an introspective spoken word piece featuring a bare soundscape and various manipulated audio clips of people revealing their deep thoughts. In deepened and twisted tones that sound like Tom Hardy’s Bane in director Christopher Nolan’s film The Dark Knight Rises, one person states, “So many people…feel… / like they’re failures in their life… / I love them because / they remind me of myself.”
Off-kilter “Opioid Eyes” piques the interest with a near-cacophonous mix of slanted notes, rapidly ticking percussion, and a plethora of see-sawing electronics. SEPHA. drapes his velvety vocals over the urgent synth press and other instrumentation as the beat increases in tempo before it fades away…
Indie folk EP-ender “Motions In My” is pure singer-songwriter in style, flowing along with a mellifluously rambling guitar line and SEPHA. singing plaintively and backed by a passionate second tier of his vocals.
opioid eyes in a cattle farm is quite a wild and surprising ride, both aurally and lyrically provocative, and balancing the light with the heavy. Kinda like life, but with the boring bits excised from the recording studio!
Find out more about SEPHA.