Ishtar Sr. | photo courtesy of the artist
Savan DePaul reflects on five years of artistic and emotional growth on “Mist Burns,” the first single from Acid Rain II
Producer, rapper, and singer Savan DePaul has one of the more prolific Bandcamp catalogs in the Philly music community, and this Friday, they’re releasing Acid Rain II, five years to the day after their first solo project (the original Acid Rain) dropped.
An artist who grew up in the suburbs of Montgomery County before relocating to West Philly, DePaul’s music is a heady mix of naturalistic imagery (cicadas are a recurring theme) and trippy production that reflects a distorted reality. Sometimes their creative vision takes more of a pop vocalist stance (their uncommonly melodic Ishtar Sr. project) and sometimes DePaul bars down over serious psychedelic beats that would fit right at home in the Stone’s Throw catalog.
For Acid Rain II, DePaul is in a reflective mood, something evident from the punchy hi-hat / snare rhythm and upfront vocals on the single “Mist Burns,” with features production from House Fire. It’s still woozy and weird, but it’s clear DePaul wanted the message on this track to cut through the prismatic atmospheres and command our attention.
With allusions to foggy paths, memories, and taking the good times with the bad, DePaul opens with a line about the expanse of experience, “from the fisticuffs to the pick-me-ups.” The song, and the album as a whole, are a look at “the changes in myself and in the world that surrounds me between 2016 and 2021,” as the artist explained to us over email. In a word, the difference is stark.
As DePaul tells us:
Acid Rain II’s existence is partially a celebration of coming this far in life, but more importantly a confrontation of the frightening world I’ve inherited as an autistic adult as well as the dissection of my teenage beliefs. Acid rain to me back then was simply a consequence of straying away from some divine essentialist vision of society. Acid rain to me today symbolizes a self-inflicted rot, a paranoia that exists as a product of the reactionary. Corrosive breath dripping from the maw of an imperial dragon, a process that can be analyzed and conquered. Dull-toothed centrism and deference to authority give way to revolutionary fervor and surgical self-crit. Appreciation for art becomes a showcase in its wonders. Thus, the connections between this album and its predecessor are deliberate – down to the similar length, numbers of freestyles & instrumental cuts, and the numerous lyrical callbacks.
What you will hear is the culmination of my first major artistic journey. This queer emcee finally finishes their first molt and stands ready for the rain, raincoat equipped.
Heavy, but inspiring for certain. Watch a video for “Mist Burns” below (heads up to viewers — it’s strobe-y), and be on the lookout for Acid Rain II to release this Friday, January 22nd, via Tiergarten Records. Also be on the lookout for a second single, “Full Metal Boa,” to premiere at 4 p.m. ET today (YouTube link below).