Folie displays the hard-to-define breadth of hyperpop with the new mixtape 123! | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Folie displays the hard-to-define breadth of hyperpop with the new mixtape 123! 

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click to enlarge Folie


Lucas Flanders

Chicago-via-New York producer Folie belongs to a loose collective of artists who’ve put out playful inversions of pop music through Dog Show Records, a Mad Decent imprint run by 100 Gecs cofounder Dylan Brady. Folie made her way onto Dog Show’s roster with some assistance from producer Gupi; in the mid-2010s, they both worked with an eclectic dance label called Rora Team, and after Gupi joined the Dog Show family in 2019, he urged Folie to send her stuff to Brady. In May 2020, Folie released her debut for the label (two bundled singles), and this month she followed it up with 123!, a full-length mixtape. Folie’s sweet but abrasive music can loosely be categorized as hyperpop, a frustratingly imprecise umbrella term that refers to a growing pool of stylistically disparate pop experimentalists. On 123!, Folie uses what sounds like TV static as a brittle base for calamitous trash-can percussion and glistening keyboards (“Clean2,” released early as a single) and melts video-game synths onto a chattering beat that occasionally sounds like an army of colliding B-movie androids (“Lost the Project File”). Folie doesn’t attempt to conform to a genre, but by following her gut she can render eruptions of noise into sweetly melancholic songs that set your heart aflutter. She processes her singing so thoroughly on “4AM Insomnia, Crying” that I can’t quite make out the lyrics, but her vocals gel perfectly with the song’s zigzagging synths and frothy melody—its rapturous intensity speaks to the quixotic hopefulness of living.   v

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