Photo: Joel Bear
The musical mind of Nick Leng resides in a different dimension than most. Though still an earthly inhabitant, the classically-trained pianist-turned producer, songwriter, artist, hears the properties of sound differently than most. A quick listen through the young creative’s discography and his flair for manifesting otherworldly sonic textures and transportive musical experiences become indisputably clear. This is proudly on display in Leng’s “Plastic Moon,” an otherworldly offering featuring left-of-center hip hop artist Chester Watson.
The first single from his forthcoming LP, LEMONS, the origin story of “Plastic Moon” boils down to that of mutual respect for music and those who create it. From the song’s initial formation, Leng envisioned Watson on the track. As Leng expounded upon his initial idea for the song, he began to play with colors and textures. From the start, the listener is engrossed by these very powerful hues and feelings. As the music buzzes and pulsates, ringing out tight, dissonant chords, the sound can feel almost disorienting.
Allowing the listener to become acquainted with these textures for a full 10 seconds, Leng dreamily utters the repeated phrase, “Oh plastic moon / Oh don’t be shy / They’ve called your name / When you smiled at the valley.” Following this part-cryptic, part-psychedelic phrase, Watson enters with gusto. When asked about the song’s creation Watson shared,
“It was wild because I had written the majority of the song before I met Nick and then we met up in LA and I finished writing at his spot. His spot is very eclectic so that was an experience in itself. The vibe there was so airy and light with the sun pouring in and the song’s vibe is bouncy and a little melancholy so it created this very unique energy in the air.”
This “unique energy” is interlaced throughout Watson’s lyrics, as he spits deeply personal and spiritual bars. Existential themes are explored here in particular, in lines such as, “Dream I’m not on Earth and it felt like the birth space / No my soul really isn’t from here in the first place / Takes a toll and sometimes I feel it in the worst way.” While other lyrics are heavier, professing thoughts on life, death, and the afterlife as he muses, “Young Chester Watson / Not better, just conscious I’m invested so I rest somewhere up where the gods live / Young Chester Watson…”
This extraterrestrial aura is ever-present in the song’s visual companion. A claymation spectacle, directed by Darren Dai and animated by Bono Bones of Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, the video is a trip, to say the least. As the video unfolds that same velvety psychedelic mood is solidified, leaving the listener feeling a different sort of transcendence.
Watch the “Plastic Moon” video below and keep an eye out for LEMONS, which is set to release April 20 via SOTA recordings: