Essentials: “Aurora” – RL Grime

First things first: let’s retire the term “festival trap” when talking about RL Grime. The Los Angeles based WeDidIt affiliate is so much more than cacophonously heavy 808s with an acidic, screeching synth thrown on top of whatever rap hit was big six months ago. Sure, “Aurora” could be classified as “trap music”, but it’s way, way more than that. It’s expansive, dramatic, cinematic. The track subversively plays with the standard musical structure of trap music to draw in even the newest EDM-loving listener, but is challenging enough to keep his style at a level that legions of producers continue to idolize.

“Aurora” quietly unfolds itself to epitomize the growth in RL Grime’s sound over his career, with a bevy of details that immerse you into his soundscape. The minute specifics in “Aurora” unmask themselves with each listen: the tinkling windchimes, a ticking clock. It makes the track richer, and more complicated than you realize when first hitting play. A hymnal hum of organs and choral riffs are sliced through with a helium-sucking atonal vocal sample, launching to a liftoff of explosive synths that feel both organic and otherworldly. That mood created by RL Grime pairs perfectly with the video for “Aurora”: a POV-style view of a barren landscape that, with a series of jump cuts, shoots you into the serenity of outer space. The nuanced pairing of audio with the visual for “Aurora” brings to mind RL Grime’s Reddit AMA, where he discussed his concept for debut album Void:

“i began with the concept before making any music for it. in general i like to go in with an idea or something visual to work off of before i start making music. once the idea and concept was down, the album came together pretty organically.”

It could be said that the LA producer followed the same idea for his newest work. Check it out for yourself, and watch the video below.

Connect with RL Grime on Soundcloud and Twitter.

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