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Conceived in 2015 as a vehicle for musical experimentation and self-expression, Zeiiga is the alias of Brisbane’s Emma Rose Pitney. Growing out of DIY project Abysso, Rose’s self-taught experimentation quickly found an unlikely affinity with the sugary electro-pop of Kylie Minogue and detached melodicism of Annie Lennox. The project’s glossy pop veneer is also underscored by a darker element; there’s a cold minimalism evocative of electronic luminaries like Kraftwerk.
Are you looking for some synth-pop with plenty of venomous bite? Zeiiga is pulling out all the stops on her EP Soma.
But it seems like that when it really comes down to it, it’s the bold, glamorous and boundary pushing inspiration of Madonna stands out above all others. “The sheer presence of Madonna inspired me,” Pitney reveals. “She was blonde and sweet like candy, but oozed that powerful sensuality,” she adds. “Madonna never played by any other rules than her own, and I don’t really either. It’s hard to play by the rules when you don’t know the rules to begin with.”
Zeiiga’ debuted with three-track EP Soma, which dropped in December last year. “I began to create an EP that retained that sweet 80’s pop, but took it a little darker with heavier bass lines and revved up the engine,” the artist shares. Her words certainly ring true in the EP’s first track Dreamscape.
A bass heavy arrangement, the track sets reverberantly hazy vocals against snappy synth drums and pumping arpeggios. The rhythmic song exemplifies the stripped-back arrangements, evocatively confessional lyricisms and pulsing synth-pop electronica which defines Zeiiga’s signature sound.
Born atop an aggressively chunky synth riff calling back to Visage’s Fade to Grey and Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These), follow-up New Age continues to build upon that driving pulse. Venomous lyrics take aim at an unidentified antagonist. Not pulling any punches, Zeiiga is far from bubblegum.
Despite her electronica leanings, closing track Drive also demonstrates that Zeiiga’s anguished pop can just as easily stand beside that of conventional synth-pop of acts like CHVRCHES and Sky Ferreira. Dishing out the details of a failed relationship, the starkly personal track delves deeply into the psyche of a troubled narrator. Oscillating between dismissive verse lyrics “See you in the rear view mirror” and vulnerable chorus lines like “Call me your backseat Band-Aid/I won’t mind,” Drive bleeds not only with pathos but also a needling nonchalance.
If Soma’s hard hitting yet infectiously pop savvy material is anything to go by there’s certainly a lot more to come from this talented Brisbane act.
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