Lucky for us, the Hong Kong-born, classically trained musician (choral, saxophone and piano, since you’re asking) has delved into her archive to bring us her much-anticipated debut album, Spacings.
Spacings comes drenched in experimental, forward-thinking pop, nestling Rainbow Chan’s nostalgic, fluttering vocals atop a whimsical, electronic-studded soundscape.
Preceded by three singles, Nest, Last and Work, which are scattered throughout the album, the rest of the tracks are playful and textured, awash with sugar-sweet melodies, laced in loops and layers, and driven by synths and percussion.
Ultimately, Rainbow Chan is a storyteller; an alchemist who blends up a hybrid of cultures, sounds and intelligent, rich harmonies. Lyrics are marked by personal changes – specifically love and loss, subtly infused with Rainbow Chan’s memories and recordings of particular places or certain times in her life.
She does this by marrying those infamous loops with lyrics and pairing sounds with stories, and they cosy up in this way that’s innovative and utterly natural all at the same time. The result is something that’s as close as most people will ever get to the dream of synaesthesia.
Weirdly, it’s also the happiest way you can listen to heartache – anthems for relationship breakdowns you can dance to without suddenly realising you’re bawling your eyes out.
Opener Only Kindling tumbles from dreamy, discordant chorals to thickly layered vocals over glitchy, artfully looped electronica; Pearled Intro hovers meandering, wistful harmonies over a buzzy, treacle-thick bass; and Stretched features an impulsive saxophone and calls in a favour from HTMLflowers.
Meanwhile, Pillow Talk is infused in experimental loops and vocals delivered with just a touch of deliberation. The Letter is tender and sad, mingling melancholia like “I can’t make your heart sing” with intricate instrumentals, and Shell tumbles effortlessly from stitched-together samples into luminous pretty pop arrangements and back again.
Spacings is awash with surprises – one you could listen to over and over, but never fail to tumble into a rabbit hole of the new and unexpected. Long awaited, sure, but well worth the wait. And if that’s not enough for you, she’ll be chasing it up with a national tour this September, alongside Moon Holiday and CORIN.
Spacings is out now. Check it!
You can also catch Rainbow Chan when she’s at BIGSOUND this September. Find out more about BIGSOUND here.