[TRACK REVIEW] 'Adam's Shadow', 'Idris's Silhouette' - VIONA
Ramadhan is here, and VIONA is decorating it with songs about the 25 prophets in Islam.
After using her solo project as a daily news bulletin in these Covid-19 times, Takahara Suiko of the Venopian Solitude is now channeling her VIONA persona for some Islamic edutainment.
This isn't her first venture into religious research for the purpose of songwriting, as Takahara has also collaborated with rapper, Altimet, in a song about Moses and the Pharaoh called 'Janji'.
With a beat reminiscent of the song Jesus Walks by Kanye West
RELEASE DATE: 24 APR 2020 GENRE: INDUSTRIAL / ART POP
In VIONA's song 1/25, the story of the first prophet and Man according to Abrahamic religions is told from the perspective of Iblis (Satan).
Through an aptly demonic, part-industrial beat that feels like it's swallowed by the abyss, VIONA sings of Iblis's arrogance. It's emphasized by the constant refrain of "You are not worthy of this high dignity" made creepier by the pitched-down deep voice. Pretty cool, but doesn't so much beyond what we're used to hearing from VIONA.
It would be better if that concept of Iblis's was explored a bit deeper in terms of narrative, but maybe with a 25-day project that requires extensive religious research, giving too much cred to the hell guy would probably not be advisable. Being succinct might have taken priority as well.
RELEASE DATE: 25 APR 2020 GENRE: INDIE POP / ACOUSTIC
In telling the story of Idris (Enoch), VIONA parses meta by acknowledging the lack of Quranic references to this particular prophet. Yet she still manages to stretch it out for a sunny, pillowy 3 minutes about the person who, in Islam, purportedly discovered writing and was also the founder of astronomy.
I prefer this more than Adam's Shadow. Although it's a very simple track carried by the sound of ukulele, Idris's Silhouette feels stronger lyrically and conceptually. "The silhouette eludes even the humble ones trying to reach your solitude" is such a great lyric, not to mention the metaphors of words floating around and landing in the ground in order to symbolize the enigma of Idris.
Idris's Silhouette is surprisingly rich for a track that doesn't even rank as one of VIONA's more sophisticated cuts.
What's fair to say about these tracks, and probably the other tracks to come, is that they're not your run-of-the-mill Malay nasheed that a lot of Malay-Muslims are used to. Interesting to see how VIONA frames the music for every one of these figures.