Emanating emotion from the outset, this aptly-titled new EP from artist and songwriter Itami quickly sets a deeply passionate, ambient and thoughtful mood.
Dealing with various issues relating to love and the complexity of being, Pain kicks into gear with a decidedly creative title-track, and washes through the room with multiple layers of delicacy and weight united.
Featuring heavy bass-work, a lightly trap-inspired beat, a wave of synths and a meandering vocal melody that offers distant yet intriguing, revealing lyrics, PAIN sets the mood with ease and starts things off in a hypnotic way – appropriately creating the perfect environment within which to commit and lose yourself to the emotion of the moment. It’s late-night contemplation bottled up and repurposed, and the entire EP suits precisely this context.
Production-wise the creativity is subtle yet effective. A strikingly titled END MY LIFE follows the opener, featuring more artistic sound-play and rhythmic stops and starts, along with vocal fragments – both spoken and sung – that really dig deep into the story and the weight of isolation and resentment. A definite highlight for its poignancy and vulnerability.
SEX WITH MY EX adds further eclecticism, leading with a sort of distorted riff and a rising sense of anticipation. Here the vocals are more strongly effected, lost in a loop of fuzz and uncertainty. The track is darker than its title implies, the melodic-rap tips its hat to the emo-rap legends of the past five years, and the whole thing hits with impact thanks to this balance between softness and intensity.
LOVE FOR REAL finishes up the EP with a contemporary take on anthem-like emo-rap that both invites a broader audience and effectively summarises the sound, style and subject matter of the entire Pain EP. Interesting production keeps things moving in an unpredictable way, and vocal repeats add a haunting touch of melancholy that blends well with the artistic nature of the soundscape.
A great way to go out, leading into a brief yet heavy-hitting 25 (Outro). A strong, varied yet emotionally consistent project in general.