Every time I try to breathe
I only suffocate
After spending most of his life as the frontman for various punk and grunge bands, Joseph Ling decided to switch out his guitar for synthesizers. His solo project, Static, emerged in late 2019 when Ling, grappling with the ennui of band hiatuses, decided to dabble in coldwave realms – not just to whittle away time, but to plunge into the deep end of sound mixing.
Static is where Ling’s newfound love for electronic beats and moody synths takes center stage. The outfit’s crisp bass lines strut with purpose, paired with drum beats as tight and punctual as a Swiss train schedule. On this audial canvas, he paints with synths that radiate warmth, yet carry a certain wistful chill, a nod to the coldwave genre that’s always lingered like a shadow in his previous works.
Underneath the layers of melancholic melodies and brooding beats, there’s still a punk heart beating—albeit one that now dances to a different rhythm. There’s a subtle, almost mischievous nod to Ling’s punk roots nestled in the dynamic energy that courses through Static’s tracks. And in this eclectic mix, you’ll catch hints of everyone from Forest Pond to OMD to A Flock of Seagulls—think of it as a curated playlist from an alternate universe where electric sheep dream of post-punk anthems.
The song opens with Let It End, a fusion of retro and contemporary synth lines and a blend of electronic and live percussion. Both nostalgic and forward-looking, Ling’s ethereal vocals set a rich, emotive tone with a hint of wistfulness. Next, we move to It Hurts (All The Time), a gut punch of a number that could easily be a lost track from Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett. The palpable intensity, is marked by a sense of urgency and vague paranoia. There’s an earthy, raw quality to this emotional outburst, combining potent lyrics with compelling music.
Need To Know follows on a different trajectory, channeling Martin Gore’s introspection and profound depth. The rich, layered synthesizer textures, create an atmospheric soundscape that is both haunting and beautiful. Ling’s vocal delivery, characterized by its earnestness and vulnerability, adds a personal and poignant touch. The album closes with Suffocate, which combines sparkling synth stabs with rich atmospheric pads, capturing the complexities of disconnection. The song mirrors the nuances of loneliness, creating a backdrop that is at once cold and distant yet imbued with a certain intimate, melancholic beauty. The staccato electronic sounds convey a sense of the modern world’s paradoxical ability to connect and isolate individuals simultaneously.
Overall, this is an exquisite collection of four tracks from Oz, something to warm your hearts on these cold winter nights.
Listen to the EP and order here: