MERU’s sophomore collection, but first fully self-produced EP, is an intimate journey that can push back its own clothing to reveal the common threads between humanity. Aptlty titled The Human Experience, or La Experiencia Humana, the 7-track EP explores the facets of life for the Phoenix-based artist. It flourishes in its rhythmic scheme, alternating with instrumental tracks and interludes, nostalgic washes of hip-hop, and rooted sentiments from the artist’s Afro-Indigenous background and intended voice for Venezuela. It reads as casual conversations, late night thoughts, and poetic metrics. MERU takes on the role as a sensory artist — singing, rapping, and producing soundscapes of the residue left behind each touch.
As for the The Human Experience, the conceptual thought and emotion behind each track is dynamic. The lead single “HIP HOP” ignites the simulated experience of being human before gorgeously melting into a steady, and classic backbeat. MERU’s unbothered background vocals lament the space before delivering futuristic bars. The artist’s melodic inflections amplify each line of unity through basic emotions.
Very early on MERU navigates between English and Spanish, playfully exchanging enunciation of the languages: “they call me meruana / if I had to choose that would be my favourite flower / life reminds me of a telenovela / pero solo quiero meditar en una montaña.” Its laid back assessment and seamless tempo switches are continued on “IJUSTWANNAHAVEFUN,” which take to a more R&B production. A summer escape that lives in the moment and sees MERU’s “futuristic flow” find comfort in a slow-burning light.
“FUEGO” warmly stirs the pot with a sax and bass horn, primarily crooning in Spanish. It listens as a more modern piece, briefly touching on Cypress Hill, as “HIP HOP” name dropped Missy Elliott. References like these add more to the direction of MERU and honestly feeds her message: this is my experience.
The EP’s closer “HUMAN” is cognizant and experimental which ironically acts as an introduction to MERU. The artist has a way with animated vocal runs that become robotic, fierce, and raw on each bar. Heavy on electronics and avant-garde hip hop, “HUMAN” dives into samples while asking for another point view: “tell me about your perspectives / I’m so interested / I know I can learn so much from you / I’m a wombman, a man human why don’t you underdstad.”
Energetically built though, MERU’s most astute features on the EP would be the isolation of elements as instrumentals. Tracks “AGUA,” “ROOTS,” and “CHUAO / VENEZUELAN DREAMS” bathe in their own spirit and stand alone.
“Agua” is a jazz filled Cumbia that alludes to the rhythm of life. Peaks of harmonization open and close the track with the main focus on percussion and strings. Whereas “Roots” echoes ethereal vocal cleansing chants before making their way onto the beats of chillwave.
Of the elements, the utilization of dreams as an ingredient of humanity on “CHUAO /Venezuelan DREAMS” is the richest; a back call that affirms that dreaming is just as vital as the water we drink. This track sentimentally pieces the EP’s concept thus far and now invites listeners to a small town in Venezuela, Chuao. The Cumbia accents and slow moving dance tempo graciously moves with the percussion and MERU’s enchanting call. It’s a beautiful piece of vocal music that sparks tender nods from MERU.
MERU’s meticulous and freeing creation is of a grand mind, and we can’t wait for more experiences delivered by the artist.
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