American-born experimental artist Alex Rapp unveils her new single ‘Ego’ via Berlin-based Fluctua Records, setting the tone for the upcoming EP later in the year. During a post-pandemic era associated with efforts at taking stock of life and getting priorities straight, the opening lines of ‘Ego’ paint a picture of a Sisyphean predicament every single working age adult has found themselves in – stuck in a rut, wishing the days away in a well-paid yet soul-destroying job you couldn’t afford turning down: ‘Time is wasting away, I sign in for the day, pending pests fill the space where my dreams used to lay / Am I better than this, better settle for this, hold my place, keep face, one more day to erase.’
Quiet quitting and boreout aside, ‘Ego’ also hits home specifically for anyone who has ever worked in themusic industry notorious for cashing in on inflated sense of importance and false self profoundly confused between arrogance and insecurity. Having been around long enough Rapp has witnessed how the same ego that helps someone land a dream gig can also destroy their career, the point she puts across in the second verse: ‘And I wanted to run and I wanted to hide and I wanted my name lit up 40 feet high / But instead I froze / Gave up control’.
A piece of rapturous avant-pop, ‘Ego’ puts Rapp in the same league with Eartheater, Zola Jesus and other leftfield female artists of the 21st century. Armed with detuned cellos, brooding sawtooth basslines, and hard-hitting halftime drum beats, she has planted the instrumental roots of ‘Ego’ in the mid-1990s trip hop and the early-2000s UK bass while giving them a complete sonic makeover of operatic proportions. The end result is an edgy hybrid of atmospheric electronics and exuberant vocals that is as much a musing on the existential dilemmas we are struggling with in the modern age as it is an intimate glimpse into a multifaceted artist’s fascinating mind.