Reaching back to the harmony-centric compositions that first put one of bass music’s most venerable arthropods on the map, Jade Cicada channels vivacious moods and melodies in Little Creatures. The release comes on the back of an extensive spate of summertime shows throughout the U.S. and abroad, and ahead of his widely anticipated headlining NYC performance in just over a month. Throughout the last three years, Jade Cicada has proven his skillset in music production and engineering many times over, cultivating a carefully curated blend of high fidelity music, and commanding frenzied crowds through total sonic domination. Taking a step back from his intense, low-end saturated music, Little Creatures is a vibrant and refreshing expansion on the compositional richness of Jade’s catalog.
Right from the jump, there’s the casual, approachable quality to Little Creatures that made us fall in love with Jade’s debut work, Eolian Oms. The sound design staples and undeniable audio quality are in line with his other releases, but the overall atmosphere of this EP is in stark contrast with his prior collection, Fish Juice. Eschewing ripping bass lines and high-octane synthesis, Little Creatures is a stereophonic blend of careful chord progressions and meticulous arrangement.
“Little Creatures”, the title track, opens the door to this entrancing listening experience, inviting eager ears to relax amongst the gradual swell of chords and audio artifacts. It’s a potent take on the lo-fi, bit-crushed textures that Jade is so fond of, but with a high quality twist. The rhythm stays pocketed throughout the duration of the track, teetering towards a casual head nod, save for the fibrous synthesis leading the composition.
Ramping up the intensity, “Ghost Blood” is a moody journey into stereo space. A plethora of glitches and atmospheric reverb surround pulsing leads, with gradual saturation bursting through the available frequency space. It’s as much a percussive journey as it is a melodious one, with all manners of clicks, pops, and transient smacks enriching the foundation of the song. Every sound and movement drives the arrangement through its emotional paces, culminating in a saucy, glitched-out meltdown.
“Olivia’s Theme”, a collaborative piece with Schmoop, is a spacious take on melancholy scales and delicate tones. The saturated lead synths carefully plucks along for the duration of the song, drifting along as washy textures and percussive glitches fold in and out of phase. The stereo mixing here is precise, with every tone getting more than enough room to breath whilst still pushing significant decibels.
Wrapping up the EP, “Komorebi” is the peak of intensity for the entire release. Translated from Japanese as “Sunbeams”, komorebi is the interplay of light rays shining through forest canopies. The song is a weighty, hypnotic wave of frequencies and harmony. Chunky stabs of FM synthesis carry the melody, riding in parallel with massive kicks and snares. Arpeggios and shredded textures fill the spaces between the main chord progression, just as sunlight fills the vacant space between treetops and foliage, giving the track a remarkably full palette of sounds and tones.
At this point in his career Jade Cicada has amassed a righteous collection of original music. He’s gone directly for quality with every release, choosing to present only the best of his productions into the public realm. It’s paid off quite nicely, given that any track in the Cicada catalog is certain to give audiophiles a run for their money. Little Creatures is an especially fidelity-driven record, showcasing some of the best iterations of Jade’s musicality. Next month on October 26th, Jade Cicada will undoubtedly rinse through some of Little Creature’s brightest moments alongside Detox Unit, Mickman, and 5AM at the famed Playstation Theater. In the short time between now and then, we’re going to be eagerly digesting this new EP in anticipation of this bodacious evening.