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Album Review: BABii - HiiDE


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Electronic music catapulted into the second decade of the 21st Century, with artists like SOPHIE, Charli XCX and Grimes pouring industrial, techno and house textures into the pool of sounds pop now draws from. On her debut album HiiDE Margate native, BABii injects her own eclectic sound into the discourse. Her amalgamation of various electronic subgenres results in well-crafted and melodic alt-pop songs. 

Album Art 'HiiDE' (2019)

The jagged sonic textures, against the soft, ethereal vocals constructs an atmosphere that feels like an experience of falling slow-motion, in retrograde, through an iridescent cave of stalagmites. Though comparisons to FKA Twigs and Grimes are inevitable, BABii exists in her own weird and wonderful universe.  

Opener 'SYMMETRii' kicks off with industrial tones, leading into a drum machine beat that feels simultaneously hostile and endearing. This sort of dichotomy permeates her music thematically, and though 'SYMETTRii' floats on a cloud of high altitude nostalgia, songs like 'VOLCANO' are more resilient and gritty.

'CARNiiVORE' continues to explore the toxic, all-consuming part of love as BABii reveals “I fell in love with a carnivore”. The track explores the sacrifice of identity that can occur in human relationships, through the metaphor of a carnivorous lover. BABii, on tracks such as these, almost opens herself up to becoming vulnerable, but the jagged textures in each song refuse to allow this completely, counteracted in 'CARNiiVORE' by the oscillating synths and detached vocals. Previous single 'PHANTOM' continues this theme as she wistfully exhales, “Should have been a forest fire, but instead, I got the embers”,  and though the dainty, breathy vocals never quite reach climax, it teeters on the edge of that point. At points, the album feels the same - a little too polished. Restrained.

'VOLCANO' moves into an obviously more tropical house inspired vibe - the kind of vibe that Jamie xx crafts so well. It swirls in and out of consciousness, as BABii sings, “Let me tear through you”, in a sugar-coated rage. These contradictory and interacting feelings emerge as the album shifts into a higher state and BABii analyses her own emotions from a higher perspective, blanketed by hedonistic electronica. 

'POiiSiN' enters like a pebble dropping into a remote lake, echoing vocals compliment the reflexive lyrics, which explore the throes of a toxic relationship. Final track S'EiiZURE' is what you may find reverberating from the speaker at a 2 am warehouse event, yet could easily be imagined to feature on a Samsung Galaxy advert. It’s forward-thinking, but not too alienating to be inaccessible. Again the fragile vocals work through a timeline of discovery of identity, “I dreamt of how disposable you made me feel when we were one”. Although her lyrical content can be obscured by the instrumentation, BABii's confessional moments can be incredibly introspective.

BABii is very much a product of Gen Z (her Twitter name is BABii_mp3 - need I say any more) yet she embraces the prevailing textures of modern and retro electronica, to put out an album on which is she is the embodiment of exciting new female artists in 2019. Although most will have known her for her appearance on Iglooghost’s track 'Shrine Hacker', HiiDE contrary to its name is ready to thrust the Margate artist into the foreground.

HiiDE is out on the 5th July via Deathwaltz Originals

Lead Image Credit: Album Art 'HiiDE' (2019) 

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