So much of the conversation around Kanye West’s Yeezus concerned its aggression and abrasiveness; lost in the discussion was its creator’s focus on minimalism (a message perhaps muddled by Kanye’s irrepressible maximalist leanings on sprawling songs like “I’m In It” and “Blood On The Leaves,” as epic as any orchestral arrangement arrangement he ever conceived with Jon Brion).
That credo of reduction has not been lost on some listeners and artists—at very least, it seems to have seeped into hip-hop and pop’s drinking water. A certain streamlining of production elements has crept into radio rap thanks to DJ Mustard and his army of hits; Joel Little and Lorde blurred the lines by making one of the year’s biggest hits out of a bass line and, essentially, a hip-hop drumbeat. For artists like New Jersey’s Lewis Allen (whose music clearly feels of a piece with Kanye’s recent fixations and the work of a personal experimental favorite, Sydney in Theory), a tendency towards minimalism shows the expressive power possible with sparse production.
Built around 808s and effected vocals, Lewis’ “Drugs In Her Eyes” is almost shockingly simple, a whole greater than the sum of its scarce parts. Lyrically ugly (concerning lust and debilitating drug addiction), “Drugs In Her Eyes” isn’t necessarily a pleasing listen, but it is one that further displays the potential within a school of production that relies on a clarity of elements rather than a wall of sound, more-is-more approach. Listen below.