The inaugural solo outing by Sojua — Josh Burgess of intercontinental synth-pop institution quartet Yumi Zouma — took shape during the surging pandemic last spring, as venues shuttered, tours were canceled, and quarantine became quotidian. Suddenly rich with free time, he began sifting through his archives, imagining ways to communicate without the universal “beauty of language” intrinsic to his primary group's vocal-driven pop. What emerged were four fluid electronic instrumentals, each flexing a fresh wavelength of rhythmic sophistication, melodic subtlety, and twilit emotion, inspired by scenes and sounds spanning Mood Hut, Four Tet, the Paradise Garage, and beyond. Music for bodies both alone or together, low-slung but high-minded.
EP opener “The balcony” begins with a sliding acoustic guitar sample, gradually building into a swooning downtempo gem splashed with piano and sunset synth wash. “I take aim, at the slightest revolt” skews more uptempo, poised and delicately designed, echoing the best of the “Canadian Riviera” sound surrounding Jack J and his contemporaries. "Tempelhof” aptly pulses with more of a Berlin synthesizer flair, romantic and regretful, watching widescreen grey skies. Closing cut “Up the street, round the corner” shines as one of the collection's peak achievements, jazzy but disco, sidewinding starry-eyed magic of the metropolis reminiscent of Etienne De Crecy’s ‘Super Discount’ years.
Burgess cites a creative process centered on discovery, distillation, and focus, following forking paths and letting the songs lead the way. The moniker comes courtesy of Yumi Zouma bandmate Charlie Ryder, from an “almost anagram” of his birth name, Joshua — Sojua also happens to be a rare South American monkey. This is fittingly playful, naturalistic music, born of trust in cathartic process at a time of great unknown. Writing, recording, mixing, and editing without a net of trusted collaborators there's only one compass: “Learn to have faith in your own convictions; there's nothing more empowering than that”.