EP Review: Dusk // mxmtoon

Back in April mxmtoon kicked off a two-part EP with Dawn – a project filled with optimism and hope for the future, embracing the unexpected. The artist is now back with second part, Dusk, which subverts those emotions, exploring the cyclical human experience and how everything eventually comes back around.

In a year as hectic as 2020 there has been a lot of change in the world, which is part of the reason why this project works so well. In the six months since Dawn’s release, mxmtoon, or Maia, has changed greatly as a person: She’s turned 20, completed an EP, and also dived headfirst into the digital world as an activist on TikTok, Twitch and Discord. These changes surface in Dusk and help any listener reminisce over the past year, be it the good or the bad parts.

mxmtoon opens her latest collection with the delicate ‘bon iver’, reflecting on the past and the intense feeling of missing those we love. The artist begins with “Every passing minute is a thought of you not in it” which no doubt hits a chord with those who cannot see loved ones due to the current pandemic. She further enforces the idea of remembering in the chorus with “Holdin’ on to moments we found”. However, the song isn’t just about remembering what has ended but pondering the possibilities of what’s to come, creating a cyclical link back to Dawn. 

In an interview with Substream, Maia said that ‘bon iver’ is meant to “spark thought over the possibilities that are ahead”. The artist makes that extremely clear with the pre-chorus, “Even when the sun goes down still know my world goes ‘round” and the bridge, “Time waits for no one but there’s beauty in the moments and the spaces in between”. Through these beautiful lines she conveys that even without those you love around, life still goes on. A combination of sadness, longing and future excitement is conveyed beautifully in the melancholy tone of ‘bon iver’, coupled with the sound of Maia’s now iconic ukulele which evokes Call Me By Your Names excellent soundtrack.

With the release of Dusk, mxmtoon also debuted her latest single ‘wall flower’, a song that allowed her to look back at starting on the music industry as an introvert.

“There was comfort in the anonymity, in thinking I could shout into the void of people with no one to shout back at me”.

Maia, when asked about the new single.

This message ironically comes through loud and clear with the chorus repeating “I don’t wanna stand out” and her saying “Now I’m wishin’ I could hide”. While Maia is very grateful for the fanbase she now has, she states that sometimes she would “crave backing into a wall and fading away as (they) watch the world go by”. By doing so, she introduces another prominent theme within her work – reflection. In the second verse the artist sulks she “could sit and stay outside and watch the thunder clouds”, referring to her being able to take a step back from all the stress and simply observe and rest before getting stuck in, something many of us in 2020 certainly relate to.

One of the most important tracks in this EP is ‘show and tell’ because while we have been stuck at home unable to do much, she preaches that it is okay to not be productive and wish for normalcy back. Most of these songs have been about reflecting about oneself, but this track examines the needs of wider society. Maia has managed to craft a song that’s relatable to everyone, in a collective fuck you to 2020. The first verse mirrors a common feeling this year, stating that “Lately, it’s been hard to find the words” and “Just want a break, my heart seems to ache. I’m craving some normalcy”. Following on from that we have the lines “Show and tell is getting more mundane, no life to live or share”, referring to how over lockdown we have had very little to do, with each day becoming less exciting and harder to keep going. While the message being conveyed is a bit bleak, you can’t help but find comfort in the fact that you aren’t the only one finding life hard at the moment.

In short, mxmtoon’s latest EP is a stirring success, if a little sad. It’s the perfect companion for anyone reminiscing over the past year with all it’s trials and tribulations. 2020 has been a hard year, but with each song mxmtoon lets us know that we aren’t alone in this struggle and everything will eventually come back around. Eventually.

Words by George Bell.

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