Single Reviews: 8 June 2023: Viktor Benev, heka, SOFT, Reid Jenkins, Banyan

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi 

Viktor Benev - Aera

IDM / glitch

On his recent single "Aera," the Bulgarian electro-acoustic artist Viktor Benev creates a beguiling environment of gentle splutters, simple piano keys, and delicate production in which to practice explorative sonic experimentalism. Benev's musical education may have its roots in classical and jazz, but his current compositions are decidedly electronic, and he harnesses electronic sounds as naturally as metal conducts lightning. The synthetic elements here have an interplay that mirrors the capricious characteristic of the natural world, so when you listen, it's effortless to envision yourself lost in a digital hinterland.

heka - april (away)


Italian-born multi-instrumentalist and songwriter heka has been making a name for herself on the underground music scene in London for the last few years. The artist approaches her craft with razor-sharp precision and skill for creating communicative music, using diffuse guitar strokes, angelic vocals loaded with characteristic depth, and experimental drum loops to postulate secret mellow realms within our stressed-out reality. "You're my city and my cage," heka sings on this romantic track of escape and dreaming, finding ways to avoid the humdrum of city life through bucolically focused ruminations.

SOFT - I Don't Know (What I Do This For)

post punk

Medway post-punk outfit Soft come out guns blazing on their recent high-octane single "I Don't Know (What I Do This For)." The track segues into a more investigative and psychedelic middle 8th, a stark contrast with the snarky and tongue-in-cheek proclamation of discontent at the onset and offset of this cool-as-an-air-conditioner track. Perhaps these mismatched energies communicate the allure of escapism. Soft finds it easy to switch from disillusioned youths who are mad at their local council to new age gurus who look for paths into different realms with their spacily-affected guitars and exotic harmonic structures. This six-piece band formed last year, and while this single may sound like a band still finding its voice, it's almost impossible not to enjoy listening to them look for it.

Reid Jenkins - Last Love

indie folk

New Yorker Reid Jenkins is a gentle soul, so much is apparent on his recent single "Last Love." Though it might be hubris to presume an artist's character by their art, Jenkins delivers the kind of spiritually-curing purity in his low-key ruminations that adds a layer of warmth to your day. The song is somewhat sentimental, and if you try to avoid end-of-history rhetoric, then its theme of telling someone you're their "last love" may grate. However, it's possible to let this one fall into the background and pick up on its amiable intentions through the gently plucked guitar, measured percussion, and heartfelt vocals.

Banyan - Holly


US-based duo Banyan make wonderfully chilled-out and easily-digestible electronic dance music, as evidenced on their recent single "Holly." Comprised of musicians Michael Saenz and Logan Gomez, Banyan has been gaining traction with their meticulously crafted and stylish downtempo efforts. "Holly" is dedicated to Michael's mother, who faced serious health concerns last year, and sees the duo build up rhythmic progressions into a hypnotic broth of smooth synths, dulcet keys, and nothing-but-positive vibes that attempts to emulate the muse's "warm and loving spirit."