A transformational trip to Los Angeles is often a rite of passage for young musicians. For Jessica Smith, a London-based artist of Irish descent, better known as Biig Piig, her move to Los Angeles in 2020 was a source of inspiration for the creation of her debut mixtape “Bubblegum”. But instead of being influenced by the sunlight of Cali or Hollywood, it’s the conflicting emotions of moving to a new city that are embedded in this stellar project, one that Smith has previously compared to a musical time capsule.
Although Smith has since returned to London, the tracks “Bubblegum” easily conjure up images of her tumultuous time in Los Angeles. There are moments that explore what it feels like to be lost in a new and stunning place, as seen in the evocative lyrics of “In The Dark”: “These are my dreams / Did they come to die in this place?” sighs Smith. indie instrumental.
Elsewhere, Smith tries to highlight other dirty, contrasting feelings that can cause major life changes. Escaping from the blazing highs of a new relationship (“Kerosene”) and creeping loneliness (“Picking Up”), “Gum” paints a deeply intimate portrait of creativity and anxiety.
While the 2021 EP “The Sky Is Bleeding” was backed up with grunge instrumental compositions, on “Bubblegum” Smith hones the dance sound of neon shades. The elastic composition “Picking Up”, created in collaboration with American artist Deb Nevers, thrives thanks to curved beats that turn into a breakdown in the style of drum and bass. The elegant “Kerosene” resembles the pop icon Robin with semi-spoken vocals and crystal synthesizers; Meanwhile, “This Is What They Mean” is a piece of pure pop music built on subtle disco fragments and euphoric choruses.
The sultry “Ghosting”, a celebration of the freedom that comes with the unknown in a new place, combines a subtle hip-hop beat with befuddled synthesizers and a funky bass part. Offering verses in Spanish and English, in the track Smith repeats: “I could be anyone / Find a new city where you can get lost.” This is a feeling that could sum up the “Gum”. By bringing together contrasting sounds and stories in this brilliant collection, Biig Piig enjoys reinvention.
- Release date: January 20
- Record label: RCA