In all honesty, I probably could just listen to i-fls’ entire catalog and nothing else for the rest of my life and feel OK. It took awhile for Artificial Outsider to arrive — well, in i-fls time, as his last release came out in May, but over six months is a serious drought — so I sorta forgot how deeply soothing and sweet his simple Garageband creations are. It also makes me realize how little fun music has felt to me over the last six months, and how my most listened to song of the year is the Neko Atsume background song and how when I go out I leave my iPod at home in favor of podcasts. I’m not sure what has happened to me, but music (well, keeping up with new music) often feels like a chore rather than something that enhances my life.
Artificial Outsider makes me feel…well, a lot, a mixture of joy when “Charge” starts pulsing off or the shiny strut of “Heavy Metal Listener,” but also a sense of ennui during “Soundcloud4” or “720p Evening.” This blur of emotion, perfect for staring out a bus window on a rainy day or taking a walk at dusk, might be what pulls me into i-fls’ world so deeply. There’s an emotional ambiguity at the core of almost every song i-fls creates, one hovering somewhere between thinking of something lost and feeling nervously excited about the future. Like, how a song called “Half Unfinished Works” hovers over regret (“unfinished,” not “finished”) but the scrambled synths eventually clear and a bright path emerges. It feels more conflicted, more human, than a lot of stuff I feel digital voices are telling me to take a side on.
Get it here, or listen below.