Mysterious Swedish newcomer Bah Non describes his newest song “homonym modulation” as “a ride through the emotional roller coaster of a recent difficult break up.” Although the electronic artist’s apparent debut single moves across six minutes of ambient sear and waveform digital bloops without so much as dropping a single drum beat or finding anything resembling a pulse, it’s impossible to miss the pain that the gradual roar of the backing wall of sound imparts. The unsubtle dynamic shift that occurs about halfway through the song likewise conveys a deep sadness that’s a challenge not to feel right in one’s bones. But before all this, there’s a deceptive start: Its opening moments, which speckle a shower-like patch of background noise with playful synthetic bloops, might feel at home in the pantheon of ’90s IDM. The situation flips about 90 seconds in, as the song’s cresting synth bubbles begin to nauseously gurgle and sound lopsided, hinting at the forthcoming agony, isolation, and emotional torture. For music that has no words, “homonym modulation” certainly paints a powerful picture.
Also, speaking of powerful pictures: The single artwork is deeply evocative and open-ended. From the angle at which the picture seems to be posed, it appears that the person whose eyes we’re seeing through is looking down at a butterfly that somehow got into what might be a communal shower or maybe a gym bathroom. The suggestion is that an object associated with beauty has found its way into a space that’s often seen as grimy, gross, or just deeply private and intimate. This image fits the narrative of losing someone deeply loved: In place of a beautiful and romantic time now lies an unsettling, confusing, infuriating mental fog. That the picture is rendered in “bluescale”—it almost appears to be a photograph in negative, but dyed shades of blue throughout—only compounds the unease that accompanies repeat listens of “homonym modulation.” And you’ll certainly be playing this one over and over again.