Meet Ihui Cherise Wu, aka Polartropica, who premieres "Wild Lyfe" today on Popdust.
Born in Taiwan and raised in southern California, Wu blends a heady concoction of pop, space-pop, and classical strings into a bubblegum kaleidoscopic sound that's totally sui generis.
Wu conceived of the name 'Polartropica' after hearing a song by Mark Foster called "Polartropic." The incongruity between the two terms—polar and tropic—titillated her imagination, causing her to dream up a fantasy world in which things can exist where they don't necessarily belong. Incorporating the idea into her music, Wu began fusing antithetical musical elements into otherworldly sonic soundscapes.
"I wanted to create a healing, inspiring and empowering space with just the right amount of disco-party," said Wu.
"Wild Lyfe" opens on swirling, spacey, new-wave synths pushing out tendrils of pristine colors, like froth oozing from a spigot, or ocean foam dissipating. The harmonics undulate and flow delicately until the music swells and gathers momentum. Light, syncopated percussion trembles underneath, accompanied by the fragile pulse of a bass line.
Wu's voice is as surreal as the music, drifting and streaming as if from a dream. It's a gorgeous voice, full of fluctuating timbres and gossamer, wraith-like tones. The graceful plucking of Jett Kwong's guzheng complements Wu's tantalizing, elusive voice, akin to something from the Empyrean.
The video goes enters the realm of dreamlike phantasmagoria with animal-masked humans in string cages, and flag twirlers gamboling around amidst the attendees at a garden tea party. It's wonderfully innovative and fantastical at the same time.
"Wild Lyfe" creates a musical image in the visual region of the listener's mind, an image that moves to the diaphanous emotion of the music. It's both superb and like nothing you've experience before.
Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.
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