There’s a certain comfort that comes with delirium. You know, one of those nights where you stay up too late bullshitting, fighting the temptation to fall asleep but for no real reason. There’s something very haunting yet freeing about being left alone, half-awake with your thoughts. Luwten’s latest EP Door embodies this feeling sonically.
Luwten is the stage name of Dutch producer, songwriter, and musician Tessa Douwstra. Her latest EP Door combines a large array of influences, including indie pop, R&B, jazz, electronica, and minimalism. This combination results in an ethereal and pleasant listen. This is evident with the moody opener “Don’t Be A Stranger”. The song’s lyrics deal with the difficulties of maintaining new friendships while constantly on the move. These themes are accentuated by Luwten’s melancholy, jazzy croon.
Luwten does an excellent job playing up lyrical themes with her vocal melodies. On the chorus of “Control” a second detached vocal completes each line with the song’s title. This fits well thematically and gives a sense that control is slipping away from the song’s protagonist. “Full Well” plays with dynamics to amplify lines like “You know how time will only magnify whatever seems small.” The song ends in a crescendo, as if to finally break the silence between the song’s subjects.
Lutwen’s production work is pretty fantastic as well. There are so many subtleties in each song giving them their own distinct character. Both “Full Well” and “Airport” smoothly transition from simple to massive songs thanks to their subtleties. “Airport” starts as an industrial jazz piece and blossoms into a truly psychedelic experience. “Full Well” plays with minimalism, using a toolbox of simple elements to build to that crescendo mentioned previously. The bass work on both tracks is really cool too; I wish more pop artists would use upright bass like Luwten did on “Airport”!
Going back to production choices, “Haircut” leans fully into Luwten’s production skills. The song is very airy and suspenseful, incorporating a number of small electronic elements to make an otherwise soft piano song sound grand. The ends brilliantly with a detuning piano note, really lending to the feelings of delirium I mentioned earlier.
I think the biggest challenge many EPs face is feeling like a full body of work rather than a collection of singles. Luwten’s Door EP definitely clears that hurdle thanks to its cohesive themes and clever production. This EP is definitely recommended for those late night sessions lost in your own thoughts.
Luwten’s new EP Door was released on September 11th via Glassnote music. Luwten can found on:
Best Tracks: Full Well, Airport, Control
Weakest Tracks: n/a
FFO: AURORA, Nana Adjoa, Someone
Overall Score: A-