Phon.o's "ABAW723" starts demurely enough, with a blippy arpeggio and tentative dub chords, but from the moment the bass drops, this is a big tune. A little bit Zomby, a little bit Joy Orbison, it swaggers and soars in equal proportions, with a 2-step cadence that's more lurch than swing. A crunchy clap/snare sound leads the groove; it's loud but not too loud, reverb-free and somehow exceptionally present—you could almost call it cozy. Foghorn bass and cinematic strings earn "Sad Happiness" the first half of its title. As for the second, it's actually hard to find anything upbeat about the tune, a unilateral brooder. But the skeletal drums move with a fleet step, and the swelling strings explore denser and richer harmonies as they progress. There's far more conflicted joy in the A-side, but for dark drama, "Sad Happiness" will do just fine.
Tracklist: Phon.o - ABAW723A ABAW 723
B Sad Happiness