WORDS BY NNEKA NNAGBO

Ottawa electronic producer Frayd released a new five-song EP Vacation, full of finely-tuned singles and fluid and romanticized tracks right in time for summer.

Occasionally weaving between pop-like tendencies and mellow EDM, the album does not stick within the parameters of one genre. Instead, it moves from electronic and synth into chillstep, then into rap and back to electronic with each track growing in complexity.

“Frayd-step?” The young producer jokes, when asked to describe his musical sound.

“Since I take influence from so many kinds of music my sound is always changing and using so many different elements. I guess it would be in the world of future bass or garage but that also doesn’t really fit.”

Frayd eschews the usual stew of radio-friendly music, opting instead to use software to hone a grittier, more intimate sound targeted towards a cosmopolitan audience.

“I grew up with ambient music that had very heavy emotional undertones and had this amazing ability to connect parts of my life to those songs,” he said. “I always try my best to create that experience with my music because I want everyone to feel that at some point.” 

Vacation opens with the dreamy tune, “On Me” featuring Vikki Gilmore. The record takes you on a surreal adventure as Frayd moves into a breezy, twinkling piece of lo-fi synth pop, invoking a feeling of returning home to a place you’ve never been.

He has a fondness for feminine voices singing in their upper register as evidenced in “After Dark,” which is probably the most fully realized track on the EP, complete with a painstakingly emotional vocal performance from Maria Barefoot.

Vacation is also somewhat of a hip-hop album, and a successful one at that. Frayd introduces rap in the songs “Left Alone” and “Glasses On,” altering the vibe of the whole album. The rappers Sol Patches and Scribe offer their lyrical talents, rhyming over the sounds of waves.

Over the length of his album, Frayd employs a general atmospheric formula—skittish beats that cleave easily to vocals, tight instrumentals, and undulating synths—that swells with energy.

It’s unmistakably a summer album, and would be recognizable as such even if the album weren’t titled Vacation. The album bleeds nostalgia and comfort—listening to it feels like being caressed by warm waves and wind.

With this EP, Frayd displays a radical growth as a producer, composer and arranger. Although the album doesn’t stick to one genre, it never feels amature. He has an astute ability to figure out what makes different styles tick, and to replicate them in his own work.

There’s no question behind the title of this EP either. It’s a showcase of a producer who wants to sonically send his listener on an extended vacation, whether real or imaginary, without ever having to leave their bedroom.

“I realized most of my music was a lot more heavy or wintery,” Frayd said. “I wanted to make something that people could listen to and immediately associate with warm evenings, driving at night, sandy feet at the beaches, and watermelon too maybe.”

Check out Frayd on bandcamp.