South African producer Cubbi has released some outstanding pieces of music over the past month in the build up to the release of his debut EP nothingspecial. It’s been a long time coming but with his masterful ability to create textured soundscapes as well as honest and poignant lyrics documenting his life over the past few years, it is well worth the wait. This EP deals with sexual identity, addition and mental illness to name a few and is simply magnificent from start to finish.
The opening track is Lose A Love, a very minimalistic track with just a solemn piano backing the distorted vocals of Cubbi with the occasional electronic flourish that adds a more ominous edge to the atmospheric nature of the song. It’s an incredibly emotional number featuring moments vocally where you almost feel as if Cubbi is breaking down as he is telling you this story. It’s strikingly beautiful.
Then we have the follow up track, the first half of GTFO was written when he was consumed by a deep depression that was being fuelled by his drug and alcohol addiction and it was only when he left rehab that he was able to finish the song. This whole process has allowed this track to possess some incredibly poignant lyrics mixed with chaotic production to create a cacophony soundscape that represents the confusion he felt and the self discovery he went through.
Fall Out Boy might be the name of a famous pop punk band but as of late I’ve found myself thinking of this song whenever they’re mentioned now. A glitch like production adds this wonderfully distorted feeling to the track that makes listening to it interesting from start to finish. Speaking about the track Cubbi said, “I did ‘Fall Out Boy’ with my friend Bubele Booi from Nobel… The first line of the lyrics were ‘It’s been a slow summer’, which was so fitting to how I felt at the time – I was working 2 jobs serving food, one at a market selling soup and another at some pretentious steakhouse and I was very over trying to make enough for bills etc.”
When you’ve got one of the founding members of Moving Castle, in the form of Robokid, producing a track you know you’re gonna get something sensational. Buzzkill goes in on the people who generally ruin the fun loving vibe of a party or an evening, there’s always one of those people wherever you go. It’s a brilliant little track that fits perfectly in the middle of the EP.
On first listen you’d expect Rippling to be a typical love song featuring the high and lows of love, however it’s actually about his relationship with his mental health. The honest and relatable lyrics have a poetic sensibility about them that will certainly strike a chord with his audience. The production of the track is superb with melancholy electronic beats featured throughout the track with the occasional inclusion of a lush acoustic guitar melody that combined created an ambient atmosphere.
Then we have the grand finale of the EP, White Lies, Like Flies is solemn end to the EP but also the emotional climax of the whole piece with this being one of the most intimate tracks of the whole EP. Cubbi said the track, “is about my first long term relationship which ended because of cheating. Eventually all of the lies caught up with them, I found it and it broke me.” You can really feel the pain within his voice in this track, the pain, the betrayal, the heartbreak, all of it is shown in this track and this makes it a perfect end to the debut EP.
Honest, poignant and extremely relatable, Cubbi’s debut EP nothingspecial is a beautifully produced and outstanding musical feat. Mesmerising in every way and will have you smiling with joy and crying with sadness, it’s a piece of art, plain and simple.