Review of LAVIER’s Bloodlove

Listen to the EP here. 

Although LAVIER is a bedroom-electronic artist who identifies as lofi, he brings a sense of studio-caliber maturity to his sophomore effort Bloodlove. In the new EP, LAVIER expands on his ever-present theme of solitude. What this three track EP presents that LAVIER’s debut project CHAI TEA // TAI CHI didn’t is a feeling of a self-aware loneliness. LAVIER sits comfortably at the intersection of chillwave and nu-jazz, reminiscent of Robert Glasper’s Black Radio. This gives a refreshingly unique perspective of the trained artist who closed Finale and opened up a torrented copy of Logic.

This whole EP is laced with house party hallucinogens. As “Breaks Revisited” opens, you sit back and watch your parents’ basement unravel. It’s a lullaby to consciousness. At about a minute into the track, a breakdown rumbles and visuals begin a waltz across your vision. Your ex dances with that person you never liked in high school. You’re asked if you’re having a good time and you smile, but you wonder if that smile was just common courtesy or if you actually meant it. The song closes and it’s at this point you feel an odd sense that you’re no longer a participant in your life, but rather a distant observer.

The second track starts and warm vocals echo all around you.

Flash of people laughing.

This song is aptly titled “What Could Be” because it grabs you gently by the hand and takes you somewhere far away from that basement of yours. This place is green and new and you look down to see your bare feet a blur. Percussion pounds, methodically guiding your footsteps as if you’ve known this place your whole life.

Flash of people drinking.

You’re running fast, faster than you ever have. You look forward to see a beautiful woman. Her hair is blowing behind her as you’re chasing after her. You can’t tell if she’s running or if she’s flying. You hear her laugh. As you’re running, you come to a clearing and she stops. Flash of people dancing. The melody rises in a hectic chase, pushing you faster. You can’t stop. You try, but you keep going and then you phase right through her, and in that moment you feel your feet leave the ground as you fly off a cliff behind her. You look down at the sea below. You aren’t falling.

Flash of people smiling.

You’re suspended there, just like those cartoons you watched when you were a kid. The waves come in and recede in slow motion with elegance. White foam climbs high into the sky, lapping at your toes. Then the lead synth line blares loud and high, and immediately the rocky shore rushes towards you. Fast. The smell of saltwater burns your nostrils.

Flash of the woman as she places her hand on your shoulder. She looks like she’s reminiscing on all of the memories you two never got the chance to make.

Flash of people enjoying their life a hell of a lot more than you do yours.

The song ends in a quiet serenity.

The intro to “Lovers” rings as a piano shyly peeks through the electronic landscape. The vocals sway and fall gently. Low vocals whisper as they gently pick you up off the shore and set you back in the basement where this all began. They leave the woman on the shore, she isn’t supposed to come back with you. The basement is quiet now. Morning light trickles through the windows. As the woman fades from your memory, you see that everyone in the basement is asleep now. This track places a tint of hope in a world that seemed so lonely just nine minutes ago when the EP started.

To call Bloodlove a *trip* might be a bit redundant at this point. This little EP is only three tracks, but it creates a small world to live in. And in this world, you aren’t as alone as you once thought. In this world of luring synths and jazz, you can relate to LAVIER’s poetic musings and you can smile knowing that you aren’t the only one who has loved and lost. LAVIER not only masterfully tells a story in this refreshingly concise EP, but shows off his rare talent of being able to place the listener into the story. Bloodlove is lush in this unique way; it portrays loneliness as something beautifully okay.
Disclaimer: In the name of ethical journalism, I would just like to append this with the fact that Dylan Evans, aka LAVIER, is a good friend of mine from high school. He’s someone I look up to very much and not only as an artist but also as a person. I’m fully aware that this may bias me to appreciate his work more than others than do and wanted to acknowledge this.