♫ Listen: Yikii – “Reality Crimson”

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The work of Yikii has been quite a revelation to me. Whether it’s as vocalist for ambient pop band Anemone (damn good, by the way) or with her own utterly emotive tracks, Yikii’s style exudes some mystery. The signature of her sound is perhaps her airy vocals, so light and mild on their own. But where Yikii is entrancing is turning those vocals into a knife, cutting through maddening and disorientating songs that end up being more laments than lullabies.

With her latest (and aptly named) Gentle Nightmare, a phantasmagoria in itself, she has me transfixed. Or horrified. It’s some timid suffocation, dancing on dizzied ankles with morbidly fragrant perfume soaked into nearly everything. The temptation is here to speak of Yikii’s whispers but in truth, this is muttering, no less beautiful but it adds a tortured dimension. If there’s a persistent quality to her music, it’s how Yikii plays with what appears at first as a contradiction. A grim, fairy tale melody emanating over a forest floor of crimson. An absolutely bloody music box, but a joy to pry open nonetheless.