Bracken’s songs ooze with combative fury and vibrate with electronic detail, never settling for easy conclusions. “Argyle,” the lead single from the 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s new album; Hypochondriac, is a determined, pathless garden of swirling emo-pop. As Brake grapples with dissatisfaction with his musical career (“I used to try to make a living/Well, I did, and now I don’t want to make a living”), the drums feel just as tentative, wandering carefully between metal snares and snares. Cut lines.

Back in July, a fellow producer asked the fan subreddit of r/brackens for advice on how to make similar sounds. Brakes himself answered, swinging through different technical approaches, linking to some sample packages to try, and offering a visual exercise: “Try it with your eyes closed and ask yourself what I’m doing. [percussion samples]Or do I feel the beat in general? ” he suggested. “Wood? In an oil pan? Water drops? Bugs? Industrial machines? […] Use your imagination!”

Despite surface-level similarities, Frene’s music originated not in hip-pop, as it is often classified, but in a more frenetic beat. In the year A self-proclaimed “saint nerd,” one of the many Ableton wunderkids whose jammed drum programming owes a debt to the LA beat, samples and tutorials sold online in the wake of the EDM boom of the 2010s. Scene, and vibe based YouTube channels. Although Brake was somewhat private—he didn’t reveal his face until two years into his career—he became a superstar with an avid Internet audience. It’s on Hypochondriacflaunts pop structures with beautiful sound design and hair-raising songwriting, not always meeting the expectations of an artist.

Hypochondriac It refines the swagger of Brake’s earlier albums into a neurotic polish, so thick with effort that the psychic attack becomes hard to take at times. It stores itself in the audio software to adjust the songs as they overlap and unfold. On “5G,” the feverish, drill-instrumental and emo rap hooks seem to be of varying proportions, joined by the ghost in the machine. Vocal samples pop up like flashbacks in The Matrix , often with disarming, wry humor: On “Caffeine,” he He thinks again The famous Super Smash Bros. Melee “wombo combo” sound bite like EDM take off.

Moments like these illuminate the album’s most intimate connection to hip-pop: its many online reference points allow you to see the gear turning into an artist’s head and daringly emotional investment. Brackens begins “Caffeinated,” like a version of his 2018 single “The Effort,” with self-satisfied bars reminiscent of the most annoying YouTube rapper: “How is this shit not clear to you?” I’m not even 21/My music is the snobbiest, somehow I still don’t make it.” Two minutes in, he’s so angry that he looks like he’s injected the track with Jersey Club stimulants. Bracken’s raspy vocals draw stream-time tones from singer-songwriters like Eden, but fade in every direction as the perspective shifts. When he compares playing the guitar to “finger-night” he just pisses off the broken stock shares[ing] Strings “By mistake!” But they fill the studied songs with a changing personality, which makes it difficult to distinguish the purpose.

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