The Refraction EP from Cariss Auburn is one of the most refreshing releases to land this year. Sonically, the record calls to mind old school and alt-R&B, as well as synthy, dream-pop – reminiscent of Solange and her collaborations with Dev Hynes. The themes on the record reflect a diverse mix of Auburn’s life experiences, including a trip to Japan with her mother, visual art, and experiences of lockdown and isolation.
Listen: Cariss Auburn – Refraction
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In the past year, a lot of releases have tended either towards, on the one hand, flexing and posturing, or, on the other, self-pity. Auburn eschews these tropes, offering a record that feels intimate and honest throughout. Backed with stunning visual worlds, influenced by Auburn’s love for fashion, the music offers the space for intimacy, solace, and escape. In her words:
‘Refraction is four different angles on how I’m feeling right now. The isolation of the past year, insecurities about where I am in life – it’s a lot. Writing these songs was very much an exercise in catharsis in allowing myself to just exist for a bit in the comfort of my friendships and memories. It’s not every day self-betterment and that’s OK.’