Axel Ocelot – [Kurtains]

One of the most fascinating aspects of progressive music is how artists and their corresponding scenes evolve in a methodological sense. This idea manifests itself in a number of capacities between these two parties, but one in which they both seem to share is how they gradually incorporate conceptual themes and outlooks into their art itself. 

It is a trend that is beginning to take shape in both the young career of Kurtains and the corresponding digicore scene that they and their contemporaries make up. Just as this scene begins to see its more conceptualized songs, projects, and other facets come to light, so too has Kurtains themself in a purposefully commanding manner. 

They have entered this stage in their career via a coming EP — a first for this ever-so-promising act and their unmatched take on the worlds of indie-tinged alternative music. It’s a project that would absolutely be enough as a short collection of tracks from a young act like them, but they are taking it a step further with this aforementioned promised concept surrounding it.

The concept has been laid out in full on the EP’s first single “Axel Ocelot” — a track that sees Kurtains adopting a brand new character in which the project’s narrative will presumably follow. Directly channeling Metal Gear Solid for the name itself, the person known as Axel Ocelot is something of an alter-ego of sorts, and the song that surrounds this new figure could not be any more conclusive as to who this person really is compared to the other side of the mask. 

Kurtains – among the best young songwriters working in the online scene right now – dazzles just as much in this conceptual setting as they do on every other occasion. The track’s chorus, which arrives after a stunning beat drop that enhances this song’s structure to unfounded levels, is just as effective at distinguishing the two figures at hand while also being one of the most gripping and memorable hooks heard yet this year.

The rest of the track is filled out with some masterfully-sewn instrumentation, fit with a myriad of plucked riffs with all the artful harmonization one could ask for. These verses also give plenty more context as to who this “Axel” character is thus far — something of a neglected soul who is constantly misunderstood all the same. The way they are able to truly capture the best of what indecisive songwriting can offer in the first verse – based on lines surrounding others being mad at them for talking when “they don’t even talk at all” – is absolutely remarkable in its own right, and it becomes the crux for the frustration expressed later in the track as well. 

No single could have better represented the vision Kurtains intends on conveying than this track in itself. Every single facet here is so expertly communicated that it would be impossible not to be eager for the coming project we are being promised; the introduction of a whole entire personality here just caps it off in the process. Even forgetting what Kurtains means to the grander digicore scene alone, we are dealing with one of music’s most gifted and promising individuals regardless of genre, and what’s next to come will undoubtedly cement that statement in full.