Hobbyist want you to dance in the dark to Side Fx | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Hobbyist want you to dance in the dark to Side Fx

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Chicago experimental electronic-pop duo Hobbyist are well suited to capture the anxiety that’s been our constant companion since the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic upended the world. Producer Marc Mozga creates a stark, austere sound from programmed percussion and synth licks, and his prickly, spacious beats and sparse melodies feel like they could raise the undead. Meanwhile the restrained vocals of front woman Holly Prindle split the difference between sinister and sultry, making her sound like a possessed lounge singer. Mozga and Prindle worked on their new self-released EP, Side Fx, throughout April, recording its wobbly, dark pop songs on a phone app while sheltering in place. Despite the circumstances that inform the EP, Hobbyist stop short of going full doom-and-gloom. When Prindle compares the way she lives in quarantine to the habits of bunker-bound survivalists on the dub-driven “Preppers,” the two words she keeps repeating (“Cook my own / Build my own / Can my own / Shoot my own”) suggest she takes comfort in the power she has to provide for herself.   v

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