BEST NEW ARTIST - IZNIIK
Enigmatic producer Izniik is a Postmodern Pop Star for the end times.
The dizzying, kaleidoscopic digital world we inhabit is doing strange thing to our consciousnesses. The 'past' and 'present' become vague and blurry with instantaneous access to almost any work of art that's ever been created. Information technology removes both space and, subsequently, time, with instant communication that is nearly indistinguishable from technology. We demand authenticity from the artists we adore, following their every moves on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. We lionize individuality, yet we are so often the same, being made up of the same pop cultural influences and ingredients, which are warped and remixed in interesting ways.
In this strange new world, it stands to reason our expectations on our Pop Stars are a little different. At this point, anyone who's too bold and in your face should be suspect. Anyone claiming complete originality should be viewed with skepticism. In this strange world of postmodern pop, bricolage and assemblage are the name of the game. Especially when it's delivered with a killer style.
IZNIIK - SHADOWS
Not much is known about the semi-anonymous producer Izniik. They've got profiles on all major social media networks, and yet there's little content, let alone clues to their actual identity. Think early Burial or the genre/gender-swapping 18+ before both were buffeted by the press into dropping their masks. Izniik is in that sweet spot before the Pop Culture machine demands the sacrifice of their privacy.
Izniik play a sampledelic collage-heavy aesthetic similar to The Avalanches or the cut chemistry of DJ Shadow. The cover of their newest EP, EP 2, is a perfect visual complement to the bright, bold soulful electro hip-hop. A mannequin head, looking like Frank Ocean, is split open, revealing a colorful chaos of inanimate objects. In this instance, the samples are the strawberries and sea shells brought to whirling, fizzing, levitating life. "Leave" and "Shadow" off of EP 2 are both wonderful examples of Izniik's colorful cut-and-paste style.
IZNIIK - LEAVE
Glad to see sampling is being returned to its rightful place as a creative artform. Glad to see our pop stars are starting to reflect our daily lives again, as well.
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.