Ears Wide Open: Pastel



Buena Park artist Gabriel Brenner began making music in late 2013 under the name Pastel, drawing influence from the Polynesian rhythms, classic soul singers, and the ’90s R&B of his childhood – and the result is some soulful “Alt&B,” full of brooding melodies and bustling production, and lyrics about more than heartbreak and relationships, also delving into cultural and social issues too. “Ode To A Toughened Woman” begins like turning a dial up on sad swirling synths, then dropping out to a bare-bones backbone for some devastating-yet-uplifting lyrics, then turning back up as the percussion builds piece by piece into a two-step tapestry, like a haunting Perfume Genius track gloriously remixed by Jamie xx. “Sweeter Conversations” is smooth banger with some hushed vocals, killer sax, and a tinge of yesteryear, like “Love You Down” meets “Shock The Monkey” a la How To Dress Well. His forthcoming debut EP will be released on Manimal Vinyl.

||| Stream: “Ode to a Toughened Woman” and “Sweeter Conversations”