Move out of your head with Hoshin.’s new EP ‘Move’
Release date: July 12th, 2019
Listening to Hoshin’s new EP is like jumping into a soulful ocean of melodies for a 20-minute swim. As a whole, each song feeds into the next as like peaks turn into troughs through the passage of time. The last song and title track, “Move,” flows back to the beginning of the album, as if the EP is meant to play in a continuous loop, crashing against the shores of the listener’s mind over and over and over again, until there is nothing but silence…‘cuz your phone died.
“Move” is a two-minute outro that utilizes vocal layering to fabricate a foundation that drowns the ears in a soft hum, on top of which a funky guitar melody is played. It’s a very simple yet effective song that serves as a nice transition piece — or, in this case — a brand new beginning found at the very end.
Circling back to the first song, “Further By Now,” we encounter a similar use of vocal instrumentation, which is why it feels so easy to keep the whole EP on repeat. On this track, though, the vocals are much more pronounced and stand firmly at the front of the listener’s awareness. We’re also greeted with a couple of percussive elements from the get-go, such as snapping — which brings in yet another purely human element that creates a deep sense of connection. This allows us to get sucked down into a hypnotic trance that is guaranteed to get you rocking from side to side right as frontwoman Sam Hoshin delivers the first lyrical ideas of the album.
Hoshin begins with specific imagery: “water down the faucet / a rocket in space / time is a conveyor / a car with no brakes.” All things that are running away from you, each creating a bigger sense of urgency. We encounter a desire for more, an aspiration, a dream, that feels like the chips are on the other side of the table, and we don’t know how to get them back on our side.
Later in the song, Hoshin adds in a cyclic bridge section: “too much time, not enough grind / too much grind, not enough time / thought I’d be further by now.” We find ourselves stuck in a battle for fulfillment, desperately trying to get back those chips. So much time has gone by, and all of our past ideas about where we would be and who we would become simply evaporate.
Next, “Blind” has an airy lightness established very quickly by bouncing chords on the keys, a couple of guitar licks, a little bass line, and some warm “oohs” and “aahs.” Once again, you are caught in the melodic and rhythmic net that Hoshin. expertly weaves around its listeners.
After introducing heavy images of death and growth, treading the sea and having so much weight to bear, Hoshin asks, “where is my limit?” How much are we all capable of, and are our limits just a figment of our imagination? A very infectious song with a message that will get you questioning your own limits, “Blind” will have you pushing the envelope beyond anything you imagined before.
“Shadow,” the third song, is the trough of the EP. It begins by introducing a simple percussive pattern. The hi-hat lays back to establish a solid rhythm over which a melancholy piano joins in. Together, they create a somber, thought-provoking aura.
Compared to the rest of the songs, this piece is lower in energy; it requires you to get swallowed up by your own mind and sink into your body. The lyrics tell a story of unrequited love, misunderstandings, self-sacrifice, and knowing your worth. During the chorus, Hoshin shares, “ain’t my job to jump your shadow,” suggesting that the person she’s singing to must embark on their own inner journey to find happiness.
Coming in right after “Shadow,” we pick up with a similar feel in “Surpise,” my personal favorite track on the EP. Quickly, energy gets us back into the groove, approaching our next peak. Lyrically, we encounter ideas of being seen, understood, and feeling more.
In the scope of the peaks and troughs, this song is the moment right before you reach the highest point. It’s as if you’ve been waiting to get to the top — to complete a cycle, to see all that has changed — and, as you are approaching the peak, you encounter doubts that you are even in motion, battling illusions of standing still. Well, surprise! You are moving, and all that is required to see this, as Hoshin puts it, is to “move out of your head.”
“Surprise” also has some intentional pauses, silences, and emptiness that I totally dug. These are very intentional ways to create tension and pull, and they turn out powerful. At 2:57, the track switches from a groove to a more spacey breakdown. To conceptualize it, it’s as if you’re swimming along your merry way, and, out of nowhere, you find yourself swimming through molasses. The song picks up gravity and tries to pull you down as you strain to keep your head above water. It is such a great addition that shows real talent in the way Hoshin. composes and writes their music.
Although, even after a few rounds through the album, it was still difficult to pick out the words that Hoshin was singing, in the moment, the composition and the juxtaposition between every element of the songs fit together so well that it didn’t matter. And no matter how many times you choose to ride the wave of Move, there’s always so much to love about it. You’ll find a piece of yourself in the music and want to replay it over and over.
Originally written for Dan's Tunes Seattle