Buried deep underneath the soft beats, twinkling production, and calming whispers, there’s something uncanny about “Perfect Place”. Something unsettling.
As the first single off of Melbourne experimental artist Sui Zhen’s third album Losing, Linda, “Perfect Place” finds the musician moving into uncharted territory. Described as a record that is inspired by “the insights that we gain from loss itself” and “somewhere between a ghost, a memory, and a digital assistant,” Losing, Linda seems to be a strange mix of ideas that seem to intermingle with each other. Already, it seems miles away from the bright beachscapes of her debut album Two Seas and steps away from spacey sophomore album Secretly Susan.
“Perfect Place” manages to do exactly as Zhen promised–finding the perfect balance between creepy, gorgeous, and addictive. “Perfect Place” could easily double as twilight yoga music from the spiritual realm. Between the yowls and glimmering synths, Zhen inserts meditative mantras that will guide you on your spiritual journey (“Things you can’t put off / Do it now” and “I got the perfect place / (Quiet) / The perfect place / (Gentle)”). From the tone of Zhen’s voice, “Perfect Place” seems like a song for healing–casting a hypnotic spell on its wide-eyed listener.
However, when combined with Zhen’s mysterious visuals, “Perfect Place” shifts meaning within its context. Take, for example, the haunting, inexplicable interactive website that she concurrently released with the album announcement. Furthermore, her music video, which finds Zhen and her long-haired doppelgangers lounging around in a house in the woods, offers even less of an explanation. Perhaps Zhen herself says it best in her song–“I just can’t explain it / It just does something to me”.
It’s often said that music will take you on a journey, and in this instance Zhen is more than willing to invite you into her perfect place. The question is, are you willing to join her?
Losing, Linda will be out via Cascine on September 27.
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.