If you ask Esther Joy why the earth is being ripped apart by war, terror and disaster, she’ll tell you it’s all due to one thing – The Chaos. To humans, The Chaos is invisible. But to other species, it’s the tangible life force that sustains them, an energy that when properly managed, can give way to supernatural powers. While humans remain ignorant to the potential of The Chaos, they pump it into the atmosphere, sustaining entire ecosystems without even knowing.
Following so far? If the concept of Oxford musician Esther Joy’s latest project sounds like the blurb of a Philip K Dick novel, that’s because this is more than a collection of songs. On her ambitious new project, the Charli XCX collaborator tells the story of an alien escaping her home planet through a trilogy of disorienting electronica. Embodying the character of Silipur, Joy follows the extra terrestrial as she sets her sights on Earth. Why Earth? Because while reserves of The Chaos run dangerously low across the universe, on Earth, there’s still plenty of it – for now.
So far, two tracks from upcoming EP The Acid Caves have been released. The first follows Silipur as she leaves her home planet, Joy creating a thumping techno maze built on frantic electronic zigzags and distorted vocals.
Though Joy’s work strays pretty far into avant-garde territory, there’s nonetheless something familiar about the alien soundscape of ‘Day 1 (Silipur Leaves Home)’. While it’s mired in tangles of impenetrable electronia, there’s an undeniable dance beat at its core and even something that resembles a pop refrain. There are shades of Alice Glass to be found in the distorted fuzz of vocals that are swallowed – and subsequently regurgitated – by the frenetic arrangement, Joy losing herself in the suffocating throb of swampy electronics.
The second in Joy’s trilogy is the similarly hectic ‘Day 4 (Landing)’ that documents Silipur’s first day on Earth. Speaking about the track, Joy says “[Silipur] is overwhelmed by the psychological state of the planet and the emotional toxicity of its atmosphere. Humans cannot understand The Chaos and have therefore left their planet to emotional ruin. I wanted this song to feel violent and intrusive, as if you are experiencing the extremity and destruction of Earth for the very first time.”
Setting out to reflect the destructive chaos of Earth, Joy utilises synth hisses, electronic screeches and vexing samples of human speech to discomforting effect. Listening to these tracks, you almost believe they were created by the alien of her story, or at the very least, someone who’s had a peek at alien life firsthand.
Joy’s narrative is one that’s complex and enthralling. Silipur leaves her home illegally in search of the headrush of Earth’s Chaos overload, knowing she can never return. But Chaos levels on Earth are fading thanks to humans’ increasing reliance on technology, putting the entire universe at risk. Will Silipur be able to warn the earthlings of their impending doom? We’ll have to check out the upcoming EP, The Acid Caves, on April 27th to find out.