From left to right: Marisa Hylton and Manny Folorunso of AOSOON. Courtesy of Sodwee.
In other “music that has flown under the radar in 2013” news, AOSOON released their debut EP “What Is This About” last summer to quiet but appreciative murmurings. The young British duo, comprised of vocalist and guitarist Marisa Hylton and bassist Manny Folorunso, have kept a low profile throughout their music process which allows listeners to focus on the music but also adds intrigue to the story behind each of these personal songs.
The four-track EP plays like a musical diary – if your personal journal from the beginning of freshman year was set to music, it’d sound something like this. Hylton’s vocals are equal parts heart-warming and heartbreaking while Folorunso’s bass matches like a steady heartbeat.
In “Skinny Strong”, a moving bassline is met with Hylton’s gently played guitar and soothing vocals. The way her voice flips up when she sings “I’m skinny strong” is a small detail that draws listeners in and assures them that everything Hylton sings is 100% from her soul and that at this moment, she is sharing something very close to her that may just leave her vulnerable. The instrumentals are minimal with just the guitar, bass and a few percussion with the focus on the lyrics and Hylton’s delivery.
“Ghost” has more layers, instrumental-wise. It’s beat-heavy with some added synths and keyboard work that leave a haunting feeling. But even with these additions, Hylton’s vocals remain the center, refitted to have an echoed effect that adds to the eeriness. Her lyrics point to the hollow feeling that even the living can feel, complimented by the spacious instrumentals, almost creating a bubble that someone can get lost in.
“Under” is more upbeat in terms of rhythm and Hylton’s singing. Everything about the production is uplifting – as Hylton sings “When we go under we don’t stay down we come up / It’s a crazy world you better keep your spears up / So just breathe and exhale” the instrumentals follow the pattern that’s similar to breathing, rising and falling with Hylton’s voice. The guitar line is poignant while the bass leads; at times it can almost be overwhelming but Hylton’s voice is an anchor, coaxing listeners to calmness.
Lastly, “What Is This About” is an old-school acoustic track with just a guitar and Hylton singing a coming-of-age story. It’s nostalgic and sweetly miserable, sure to bring tears to anyone’s eyes.
Though AOSOON has removed their music from their Soundcloud and iTunes, their Youtube channel still has all four tracks up and also some live performances. It will be exciting to see what else is in store for these talented, bright musicians. In the meantime, make a playlist and just have their debut EP on loop, at least until they release new music.