On Friday, LA-based artist Sun Kin announced their upcoming album, sharing lead single "Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)". The track comes off the producer and musicians upcoming LP After the House. After the House is out February 12th — stream the lead single now and look out for more news from Sun Kin.
"Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)" was inspired by Sade, Blood Orange, Peggy Guo and Nile Rodgers (Chic), as well as by endless YouTube playlists of acid and deep house, much of which sounds like it could have been made at any point in the past 40 years. The tone is yearning but playful, light but also deep, with a propulsive, hopeful energy contrasting the melancholy of the melodies. — Sun Kin
Sun Kin is the project of Los Angeles based producer Kabir Kumar. Born in Bombay, India and raised in five different countries, Kumar’s music is informed by the intimacy and audacious vulnerability that can only exist through learning to bond through transience. Kumar has been making music under the Sun Kin moniker for nearly a decade, traveling from a psych folk project to something more rooted in a combination of the Middle Eastern and Indian pop music they grew up on with elements of Acid House, disco and R&B. Kumar’s whole life as an artist has been marked by momentum and migration. As they’ve homed in on their craft they’ve accumulated new sonic textures, new territories, and different modes of expression. This bricolage and deep inquiry into movement reaches its apotheosis on After the House, Kumar’s fourth full length as Sun Kin. It is here that they conjure together seven dance tracks designed for late night introspection.
While some might fear the idea of a blank page, for Kumar it is essential to their practice. They thrive with limited constraints, favoring any opportunity that allows them to experiment. “I love the feeling of fitting melodies into spaces within the groove. I think of them as friends, little friendly melodies that come over the more dystopian pulse of everything,” they say of the joys of making dance music. In contrast to the naturalistic textures of Kumar’s earlier work, After the House is speckled in drones, cement-colored LFO engineered chords, foggy swaths of chintzy house piano, and subterranean drum machines. To make these songs, Kumar relied heavily on improvisation, often using four on the floor as the basis to each track. Just take “Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night),” the first single they finished, as one example of adding vivid and intricate colors and textures to a blank page. The song brims with disco guitars, elastic congas, and meditative vocals which rise up from nothing more than a click track. “Everything fit in. I felt pretty singing the chorus. I felt more pretty than I’ve ever felt singing a chorus,” they say. Or perhaps “In the Cold,” a song inspired by Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, which features a crystal clear guitar solo and synth decay that feels like sequins on skin under a black light.
Equally essential to their work is collaboration. In 2018, Kumar released a split LP with Miguel Gallego (Miserable chillers), called Adoration Room. Kumar cites this record as a breakthrough for them musically. Gallego continues to be an important confidante, and helped sequence After the House. Kumar also considers their co-producer Geoff Saba (Forest Floor) to be an inspiring collaborator, as well as Julian Fader (Ava Luna), who plays drums on two tracks on the record. “Every time I collaborate with these people I feel like they are imbuing some of their magic into me,” they say. For Kumar, that collaboration is often nomadic, existing in the form of text messages and social media. This is something Kumar is especially excellent at, in part because of their migratory childhood, which taught them how to seek home in unexpected places—like the warm embrace of dance music. So much of Kumar’s craft on After the House is about the bliss that dance music provides, the intimacy it encourages, and the ways in which it can feel like a home for the listener to bask in, and feel safe inside. — Sophie Kemp
AFTER THE HOUSE - TRACKLISTING
01. We Build Tiny Houses for the Dead
02. Trying to Trust
03. Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)
04. Purification Grave
05. In the Cold