Philadelphia’s tiedye ky is a patient human. Despite beginning his musical career in 2016, the Basspunk Loverboy artist has exercised both a passion for developing his craft and a restraint for growing into his eclectic flavor of bass. Embued with a modest charm, humble self-awareness, and wholly dynamic sound, his music traverses the worlds of hip-hop, indie, rock, and gritty low-end electronic.
Ky’s entirely unique style is like nothing else in the world of underground, experimental bass music—a place which he has very clearly and intentionally positioned himself. But tiedye ky’s music isn’t really bass music at all. “It’s not really dubstep,” he told EDM World Magazine, “but then I find myself being accepted by this culture. It’s flattering that people in this scene have an open mind in that sense.”
Certainly, Ky draws on many bass music elements, but it’s so much more expansive than anything one could pin down in a single genre. One need only look to his three previous EP projects (Basspunk Loverboy, Color Palettes: Side A, and Color Palettes: Side B) to see that tiedye ky’s style is introspective and conscientious, warm and colorful, and incredibly original.
Despite having performed at large-scale festivals from Camp Bisco to Wakaan Festival and Moon.Beach to Dirtybird Campout, tiedye ky held closely to his focus and restraint before taking the forward-fold plunge into his debut full-length. Now, after four years since his debut lo-fi single release in “Crate Digger,” Ky has finally pulled back the curtain on his most defining project yet: his seminal debut studio LP.
Landing today as a self-released, fully independent tour de force, tiedye ky’s Baby Blue and the Super Moon is not just a display of his maturity and range. The 12-track album marks tiedye ky coming into himself as a sonic storyteller, an old soul, a lover, a fighter, and an artist wise beyond his years.
From right out of the gate, the album opener touts the dynamic tiedye ky style that he’s been working so diligently over the years to develop. “Over Again” begins with abrasive synths that intentionally jolts the listener into submission. Of course, this gives way to indie-electronic guitar work and hip-hop styled lyrics that are suddenly vulnerable and honest.
Utilizing his own vocals, Ky switches between soft, spoken word and smooth, calming melodies: “When you talk like that, I know / It’s o-over again.” It’s a distinct line of verse work that has a pronounced Mac Miller influence, whom Ky has said elsewhere was someone who had a significant impact on his emotional style as an artist.
It’s all about this juxtaposition that I try to keep in my project at all times—where you not only have the soft, very vulnerable side…but you also have the intense, heavy vibe.” – tiedye kyEDM World Magazine
The LP’s second track, “Never Cage A Butterfly,” continues with the soft strumming of the guitar before moving into the world of glitched-out, experimental trap. The song’s sporadically changing percussive tempos have a powerful command through its melodic trap snares, sharp bass drums, honky synth thumps, and periodic chorus chanting. Listeners become wrapped up in this sound, which exists somewhere between a Flume bassline and FKJ’s soulful lyrics. Still, Ky manages to keep everything cohesively in sync.
Steering his sound in this direction is something that has brought tiedye ky a lot of success. There is a duality present across his music—between his chiller, lighter, more “vibe-y” side, and the heavier, grittier, and disjointing side. Just listen to the next two tracks against each other to see this thematic play out in full technicolor. On one end, the softer side of “Hold On” touts a jazzy flow and R&B feel, albeit with heavily experimental segments. On the preceding track, “Maintaining It All,” is a full-fledged gritty masterpiece, while still holding tightly to the melodic. “[We used these] elements to describe that hybrid or juxtaposition that says, ‘tiedye is every color,” tiedie ky told EDM World.
Tiedye can be whatever it wants. I think what has helped me create the most success with this project is always being myself and not trying to stick with one idea or one sound.” – tyedye ky
By the album’s midpoint, this clear thematic takes hold. From the heavily wonky beats and jolty measures of “Don’t Do Me Like That” to the calm, collected melodies and heartfelt lyricism on “Livin Right Now,” tiedye ky oscillates between the duality of his sonic world. It’s a world that is efficacious and indelibly honest because Ky realizes at a young age that by way of his own humanity, he is imperfect. That is why he finds beauty in the mess and seeks out the happy accidents in his songwriting. “Music is not really about sounding perfect,” he believes. “It’s about being intentionally imperfect.”
“That is something I carry through the music that I make, and through the art that I love and enjoy. It’s almost like a painting – my favorites are abstract and messy rather than precise. Using your emotions to lash out says a lot more than being perfect,” he continues.
Experimentation is the name of the game in Ky’s artistic world. No where is that more apparent than in “Pipus And Wine/Life On A Loop.” The record begins with some field recordings of some studio conversation, which gives listeners a peak into the creative process, leads into a Pipus beginning to rap some inaudible verses as a somber acoustic guitar line creates feelings of nostalgia and sadness. Clearly, this an ode to the late artist before the bass-leaning electronic elements come in around the minute-and-thirty mark.
Then an enitrely new sound design is introduced, leaving one to believe this is two different songs coming together in an intentional pastiche. Heavily distorted synths, halftime beats, and Pipus’ recorded vocals take over as he raps about illicit drugs on a loop. The song feels as if it was never completed, but that’s also the precise place which the song draws its power from.
Making music has always been about tiedye ky being unapologetically himself. This is the major thematic staple binding his entire debut album together as well as his young catalogue. Once one begins to peek under the hood of every song, it can be seen in his dedication to experimentation. It can be seen in his commitment to honesty, vulnerability, and imperfection. It can be seen in how he stitches so many different genres together in one single LP and how many emotions he packs into one song.
tiedye ky doesn’t really worry about whether or not anyone will like the music. For him, Baby Blue and the Super Moon is about being true to himself. This is an album that is all about intention and there’s a lot of beauty to be found in that. The overall message seems to be this: Creativity breeds intention and intention births creation.