The Dizzying Dissonance of British Producer Guillotine Sunbeam's Latest EP
“I suppose you could be criticized for making a record that isn’t cohesive…” Yoni Collier considers. “But where’s the fun in that?”
Yoni’s talking about the unspoken belief of many that music should be part of a greater union, one that just fits. But as an experimental producer releasing music under the flashy moniker Guillotine Sunbeam, the British artist isn’t exactly following the radio recipe. Instead, he works hard to build soundscapes that dissolve into each other, these dizzying forays into genre-blending dissonance that shouldn’t make any sort of sonic sense but do, simply because it’s all part of Yoni’s intention.
Earlier this month, Guillotine Sunbeam released Fever Dream, his latest three-track EP featuring fleeting gems merging anxious electronica with dream-pop influence among others. "I've always loved EPs that are stylistically varied — I love it when people throw as many ideas as they can into a handful of tracks, and that's what I wanted to do here,” Yoni tells us about Fever Dream. “I like the idea of throwing a krautrock bassline up against a melancholy piano track or trap hi-hats!"
This is clear from the get-go on Fever Dream. The brief EP (clocking in at just over ten minutes) opens with its title track, plinking along rapidly with an electronic base. There’s a swollen synth bloom casting shadows across the arrangement before the buzz of ominous organ kicks in, but then we get Yoni’s vocals, and they’re not awash in darkness. Steady with a sad-rock drone, his delivery lifts the eerie arrangement that bursts with seemingly random moments of percussive rhythm.
Next comes “Future Fading,” this one starting with a sparkling crescendo and soft swells. Led by a gentle, unrelenting piano line, there’s almost a theatrical component to this track. Yoni’s vocals dabble in falsetto wisps and broken croons while quick percussion pulses like a heartbeat. Fever Dream ends with “Drowning In Dust,” a dynamic chillwave conclusion. We get the cascading synth swells again, but this time they’re accompanied by the churn of electronica and staccato beats creating an intense, echoing arrangement dreamy with quiet explosions of pop-tinged ambient music.
Yoni’s right. You won’t find much cohesion on Fever Dream, but we don’t want it. There’s a special kind of traveling that Guillotine Sunbeam accomplishes on the record, weaving in and out of blossoming electronic soundscapes we’re meant to get lost in.