Photo: Neil Krug
Electropop sensation (and mother of newborn X Æ A-12 Musk) Grimes has long held the position that "ethereal" should be a genre. She argues, "There is a long lineage of auteur artists, often producing their own music and/or directing their own music videos. Oft with a heavy visual component and fantasy, sci fi or literary elements… often very ethereal otherworldly and futuristic in nature." No artist better exemplifies this genre than Singapore native Nat Ćmiel.
Nat Ćmiel, who performs under the name yeule, is one of London's most intriguing emerging artists. The self-described "shoegaze and boom bap mixed with Nobuo Uematsu witch house" artist grew up on jazz, alt-rock, and whatever else she could find in her dad's CD collection. These early influences, coupled with a deep relationship to the online gaming community, provide the foundation for much of Ćmiel's music.
yeule's debut album Serotonin II is a 12-song collection of mesmerizing vocals gently layered over eccentric instrumentals. The project seizes on the aesthetic themes introduced by Ćmiel's Coma EP, expanding on its celestial production and fleshing out the EP's sparse lyrics. Compared to 2017's Coma, Serotonin II presents yeule as a romantic goth princess with a polished and cohesive sound. With maturity beyond her years, yeule explores the relationship between identity and reality.
Songs like "An Angel Held Me Like A Child" and "Pretty Bones" begin with a soothing lullaby of serene scales and bell riffs before making a smooth transition into the sphere of hazy electronica. The reverb-drenched vocals and buoyant keys paint an ambient soundscape adorned with lyrics about cyber-love and the fleeting nature of the Internet.
Serotonin II seamlessly drifts between the tangible world and cyberspace. yeule threads together calming synths and electronic beats to create an atmospheric limbo between escapism and realism. Traces of shoegaze and electropop are scattered throughout Serotonin II, yet her sound feels distinctly her own.
Listen to Serotonin II below: