Small Black stated earlier this year they wanted to avoid the ‘chillwave’ label. In terms of achieving this, Moon Killer shows they are taking steps in the right direction.
Small Black prove many things with the release of their new mixtape Moon Killer. The New York quartet ,who in 2010 gained recognition in the indie world for their debut album New Chain, exhibit newfound diversity and range while avoiding the typical simplicity that haunts many of these carbon copy albums and mixtapes.
The mixtape’s genius lies in its ability to challenge common preconceptions of groups like Small Black. When it was announced last month that Heems of Das Racist collaborated with the group for Moon Killer, there was a stirring in the indie community that this wasn’t going to be something anyone could expect. And that is what this mixtape is about- letting go of preconceived expectations and basking in the uniqueness of what is being heard.
After a spacey intro, the mixtape leads into “Two Rivers” featuring Heems. The surprising collaboration works well for both acts as Heems’ lyrics float over the beautiful distortion of the synth coupled with dreamy vocals about New York City – the home of both artists. Heems also has a smaller part on the track “Sunday Son.”
The group stated they hoped to make this a ‘dancier’ release, and this is realized during songs like the title track “Moon Killer.” While dancier than previous releases, some of the songs on Moon Killer also display a more ambient and darker use of synth such as “Clear Blue Skies.”
Heems is the only featured artist on the mixtape, but Moon Killer samples some of the greats including the Carpenters on the short interlude “Late Night G,” while the song “Love’s Not Enough” samples Nicki Minaj’s “Your Love” and Drake’s “I’m On One.” The mixtape closes out with a short melody “All The Rainbows” and new remixes of “Photojournalist” and “New Chain” from Star Slinger and Phonetag respectively.
Moon Killer may not push the envelope for any indie dance subgenre, but as a group it shows Small Black will no longer need to worry about being pinned down or labeled. This mixtape shows their willingness to adapt and try new things which is important when you’re working inside of a music community that can typically saturate listeners with similar sounding bland releases.
Small Black released Moon Killer for free online, you can download it here or stream below.