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Live Review: Bella Unwin excels in abstract synth-pop jam 'Break Time'

16 April 2018 | 10:17 am | Max Lewis

Melbourne born, UK based producer Bella Unwin has outdone herself yet again with 'Break Time', a dense and ever-evolving synth-pop cut.

Every time Melbourne expat BELLA UNWIN drops a track, I'm pretty dang psyched. Not only because every track she drops is absolutely killer ambient-pop, but it's because writing about it feels like taking a break as opposed to doing work. Appropriately enough, she's come out with her latest cut 'Break Time', created after a self-imposed challenge to finish a track within a couple of days. And boy howdy, has she nailed it.

Bella Unwin first came onto the scene as Bella Labeaux, dropping her debut '13:00 (Into You)' and 'Don't Want', two glittering slices of perfect experimental pop that played with dense retro aesthetics and refined modern production. Her first track of this year, 'Off Peak', was a darker and more ambient venture, letting her soaring vocals and languid synths do all the talking. With 'Break Time', she's crafted an amorphous beast of a track that shifts between sounds and moods in a tight pop package.

Kicking off with that classic LinnDrum sound I adore so much, the track quickly becomes submerged in layers of reverb, reedy synths and layers of Bella Unwin's vocals. It's the drop around 0:48 that made me lose my mind; acid-adjacent synths arpeggiate while a lo-fi drum loop full of tom rolls and warped claps goes hard in the background. It's such a small chunk of the song - and the loop is never heard again- but it's really indicative of Bella Unwin's remarkable use of restraint in her tracks. 'Break Time' especially feels like it's always on the verge of going nuts again but it never quite does. It's that musical tension that makes moments where the mix thickens - like the synth breakdown at the end - so much more special.

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To think Bella Unwin pieced 'Break Time' together in a few days is almost untenable. It's such a rich and sonically dense track with tiny little details that I just get lost in until I die. I'm going to be shouting her name from the rooftops over and over again until she gets huge, because the thought of what she could do with a studio filled with all kinds of retro goodies is my idea of musical heaven. In the meantime, I'm more than satisfied with the absolutely solid body of work she has under her belt so far.