On its exterior, Oh Solemn Night: The Pvrple Tapes—KunD! 's second full length—feels like a tonal and stylistic break from the relentlessly peppy and bright-eyed pop hits found in the car stereo these days. On Oh Solemn Night: The Pvrple Tapes, composer, and bedroom producer KunD! lands healthy with a quietly devastating impact. His music captures the essence of transcendent musical prophets before him, building on enigma before humbling us with its dwarfing limitless qualities. The calm, filmy moments connecting cognizance and dormancy can be discovered here, while the approaching grandeur foreshadows the cosmeticized walls of this mesmeric journey into KunD's outer-space experience.
He settles into a soundscape ancestry somewhere between The Weekend and Frank Ocean—extraterrestrial in their significance and division. These are Composers that invoke the unveiling of existential beauty through their music, and there are moments in KonD! 's The Pvrple Tapes, that live up to that ambitious and emotional tenor. KunD! Sets himself apart from contemporary R&B casuals and instead invests all of himself into his persona. His faithful commitment to a sense of mesmerizing twilight, in the track opener, is overwhelmingly appealing as he earns pilotry over the most in-depth segments of our inner thoughts. Seldom has he let cliche or regurgitated toplines congest his work, and it's only the inception on the first track "Twilight."
Here, KunD! 's production remains a harmonious ingredient; over synth pads, low-rumbling-subs, and a dusting of tape saturation for the delays, he has managed to make the expanses of this industry-shaking performance pop. It feels like we're undergoing a consequential moment of transformation. Over a crushed sub and delicate synth pads, "Nightbounce" creates that warm, buzzing condition we get when we're vibing out—and it does this twice. With Part 2 subsequently rising from the ashes of its predecessor track, featuring a bounce that obviously eludes the tracks inducing title, the second half of "Nightbounce" incorporates a dark tint for the window openings of this star cruising rocket.
KunD! frequently uses the spaces in his mix to make his reverberations that much more impactful. It feels like he's guiding us from one magical room the next as the spaces shape-shift and morph from one song into the next. This is a notable characteristic of "Apogee," which serves as the interlude on this record, bartering between oscillating spaced-out synth pads in what feels like an expanding luxurious chamber. It serves to further dive into its enamoring and expansive qualities, while the trajectory this record has already taken becomes more psychedelic in tinge. KunD! is hardly forced out of his comfort zone in "Moonwalker" as his dissonance and 80's reminiscent influences glisten through during its chorus. This song sounds like a meaningful artistic leap in a new direction for anyone else, but for the Brooklyn born artisan, these sorts of hintings of his incandescence are manifested throughout his catalog.
Occasionally KunD! gives us time to breathe before the emptiness quickly fills back up with an incredible low rumbling. Entering stage front, his voice diffuses all pressures of life and invokes internal release on, "Final Phase/Dawn," playing like a spiritual meditation before opening up with the scattering punch of its drum part. It widens into a more angelic amalgamation of harmonies as we delve more in-depth, and KunD!'s harmonic echos flutter in the atmosphere. "The cycle never ends when one phase is done, a new one just begins," are the last words whispered before we descend back down under the pressures of gravity. With a sense of afterglow, we're left looking back up into the heavens with complete admiration over the journey we've just experienced.
Hello KunD! and welcome to BuzzMusic. What a heartfelt and intricate journey you've provided with your EP "O, Solemn Night: The Pvrple Tapes." Could you take us back to the very beginning, what initially inspired you to create this project?
Thank you so much. So, I began work on this project around July of last year. ‘Moonwalker’ was the song that started this whole project. I had been working on some beats late at night that day, (which became the norm for the rest of my work on this project), and I started playing around with synth key melodies until I found one that kinda called to me. Once I heard it, it just stuck. The concept for the song came to me immediately at that moment, and even though I didn’t have all the words yet, I knew exactly what I wanted the song to be about: someone, aimlessly walkin’ about in the dark, searchin’ for a glimpse of light to spark some inspiration, just like how I was that night. It was from that concept that “The Pvrple Tapes” came about, but it developed over time. I didn’t have the concept of the project until around late November/December last year, about 4-5 months later. I didn’t even have the title for the project until about a couple of weeks before I sent the project out to stores. But it was from that initial synth melody, that I was inspired to create the EP.
What can you say about the production and the overall sound within your EP "O, Solemn Night: The Pvrple Tapes"? What made you lean towards these deep and dark atmospheres?
I think it really started with the initial synth melody from that night. For most of 2019 after I released my first project, “Fledgling”, I was going through a pretty rough creative block; I hadn’t been feeling very inspired for most of the year, and I had been dealing with other personal things as well, so it wasn’t a particularly bright year for me. So when that melody came to me, it was so relieving. It was a solace for me, not just because I was able to create something again, but more so because it resonated with how I was feeling at the time. I decided to create this project in a darker vibe because I wanted to use the project as an outlet for myself, my feelings, and my thoughts. That’s why the ‘night’ became one of the central themes of this project; it ties together my love of the nighttime (I’m basically the definition of a night owl lol) and it also acts as a metaphor for the darker side of life, the other half of the whole that we have to deal with. This is what inspired me to make the production of the project darker, heavier, and deeper. I wanted my production to paint dark backdrops, I wanted it to create worlds you could get lost in, I wanted to make a soundscape that would express everything just as well as the lyrics would.
Did you have any influential albums/projects in mind when creating "O, Solemn Night:
The Pvrple Tapes"? Or did you create this EP out of pure and original insight without any exterior influences?
When initially creating the project, it started from me trying to capture and express how I was feeling at the time. But I definitely drew influence from artists such as 070 Shake, The Weeknd, Tame Impala, Frank Ocean, and Travis Scott to name a few.
Do you have a favorite track off the EP "O, Solemn Night: The Pvrple Tapes?" Which
song meant the most to you, and why did it have this much of an impact?
Well, I love all of them of course. Because I made all the songs on the project myself, each song holds a great deal of meaning to me. So, instead of choosing one song, I’ll talk about my personal favorites on the tape, and those would have to be ‘Twilight’, ‘Apogee (Interlude)’, and ‘Final Phase/Dawn.’ I love ‘Twilight’ because of its ambiguity; it’s formless, unassuming and it sets the stage for what's to come in the project. 'Apogee (Interlude)' is special to me because it's the first real moment of vulnerability that's shown in the project. The word 'apogee' refers to the point in the moon's orbit when it's furthest from the Earth. The term is also used to represent the climax, the highest point. The song is about trying to find an escape when the problems get too loud, but in your efforts of escaping, you get a little too far from everything else. It's the breaking point, and this song represents that. And lastly, 'Final Phase/Dawn.' I love this song because it was definitely the most fun to make, but also because of what it symbolizes as the last song. It’s a two-part song about ultimately overcoming your doubts and fears to focus on your own path and keep moving forward, despite what you’re dealing with. I think it was the perfect song to end with because it rounds out the project with optimistic energy.
What advice do you have for artists and musicians that might be facing a hard time
staying inspired through these tough times?
My advice is: to always focus on the music through everything because music is the focal point, it’s the constant. It’s why we all do this, why we go through what we, as independent artists, go through to ensure that we can make a living doing what we love. Music has always been there for me, and it came through for me at times when I really needed something to help me make sense of my life. I urge my fellow independent artists to never forget the music as we continue to navigate these murky times, because it may just be the thing that heals us all, at least I hope. Also, always remember to talk to someone you trust and love about what you’re going through. If music can’t be the outlet for you sometimes, then definitely rely on the ones that love you and care about your wellbeing. Even though we’re independent, we don’t need to deal with things alone.