Temperature Falls is a trip-hop/alternative rock duo from Oslo, Norway, made up of vocalist/lyricist Camilla, and multi-instrumentalist Ian J. Ward. The two launched their project after a chance meeting and some ‘magical’ time spent together in a recording studio. They released their debut album, and a single cover of the Deftones’ “Knife Party”, during 2019, and now jump straight back with a brand new single, entitled, “Zuzu’s Petals”. With an unflinching adherence to a jarring, introspective aesthetic, the potency of the track is indefinable. Teasing as much as it satisfies, the single is defined by a few aspects, not least its spectacularly ominous atmosphere, but hanging over its somber backdrop is the dynamic voice of Camilla. Her chilling vocals are as eerie as they are beautiful, conjoining organically with Ian J. Ward instrumentation to achieve one of the slickest underground combinations found in contemporary music this year.
I have no hesitancy in branding the vocal performance on “Zuzu’s Petals” as one of the best of the genre this year. Throughout the recording Camilla sounds both, angelic and anthemic – her expression is heart achingly beautiful one moment, and explicitly resonant the next, while always remaining strangely irresistible at all times, as it thrives in the head of the modern listener.
The song announces itself as something new and distinct, and manages to do so with the wry, measured air of a veteran. Temperature Falls’ rumbling, submerged sound provides a near-perfect accompaniment for Camilla’s voice. The song emanates the dark but catchy pop sensibilities that will enable it to climb to notoriety.
Melding electronic synth sounds with a beat that powerfully surges forward, and melody lines that manage to remain intense and effective despite their minimal construction, “Zuzu’s Petals” proves itself intriguing for the listener. Floating effortlessly above these layers of effected instrumentation, vocalist Camilla provides one of the most distinctive elements of Temperature Falls’ music.
Her voice is always delicately yet firmly delivered. Production-wise, this track is a joy to listen to. I’m not sure how the recording process evolved, but is the song has wonderful analog warmth to it. Listening through high quality headphones or through a good sound system is a must for this track.
Music critics love to sniff out new sounds and shape music into narratives, and what is happening in this track presents a perfect opportunity for that sort of thing: Here is this collaboration of two relatively unknown Norwegian artists playing around with old trip-hop music, pop signifiers and alternative textures, and using them to create this fashionable atmospheric track.
A song like “Zuzu’s Petals” is both organic and synthetic to the point where the distinctions lose all traction, where they meld into the mysterious magnetism of the music. The alluring beat alongside the murmuring bassline and synth interludes create a fantastic backdrop for the vocals to sail overtop.
The narrative of the lyrics plays like a motion picture in your head, while “Zuzu’s Petals” presents itself as a punctuating display of Temperature Falls’ strengths. It is full of dynamics and shows us what a couple of passionate people can do when music is everything to them.