Reddie Radar: Illusory Entities

Perhaps you’ve seen the flyers around campus. They’re sort of obscure and vague. A little bit of artwork, a few words and a QR code that takes you to a Spotify page of a local artist called Illusory Entities.
There is not much info on the artist, as all of their bios are left blank. But maybe that’s part of the appeal of the band, the mystery and uncertainty attached to it.
Their number one hit “castlevania” has 27 views on YouTube, while the band currently sits at seven monthly listeners on Spotify. They are also available on iHeartRadio, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Amazon Music and Deezer. The album art, fitting of the title, is a glitched-out 8-bit looking scene. The vocal effects and piercing keyboard sounds match up with the theme as well.
The track seems to draw from several genres, with Auto-Tuned vocals, lingering dissonance and a trap-inspired beat.
Another song in his top five tracks is “Tap Me Before You Go.” This particular song, which was released on Jan. 17, feels like a tropical-themed Marilyn Manson song. The single has a strong indie surf rock identity, but the vocals stray a little too far into the cold, mechanical sound that fits better with Manson’s discography. The juxtaposition of bright and chirpy guitar tones clashes with the droning singing style.
At the one minute, fifty-one second mark, the song shifts moods with a reversed guitar section. The transition is decent, and the song continues with this new, slightly somber feel before ending abruptly at two minutes and twenty-four seconds.
“I’m not up so tap me before you go,” the lyrics say. “The mystic operates in the Caddo. When you can’t even trust your sight, the world is illusory but bright.”
These last words of the song seem to mention Henderson’s dining hall and their own band name in just a few lines. The word Caddo isn’t really going to be found in the lyrics of many people outside of this area, but the distinguishment of “the Caddo” as opposed to just “Caddo” could suggest that the writer of the lyrics is talking about the dining hall and not the people group or any other place.
Then, there’s the “strawberries & milk” EP. The three-song release came out on Sept. 14, 2019, and is by far the strongest work of the artist. The album features drum and bass that sounds like it came straight out of a 90s drum machine (that’s a good thing.) The guitar tone was lacking, but it was not inexcusable. If I had put the album together, I might’ve reversed the song order, but with three songs, it does not make much difference. The cover art is just what you’d think, a little sketch of a strawberry and a glass bottle of milk. It’s quite a nice-looking album cover.
The first song on the EP is titled “i can’t live forever.” It is a charming song that could use some tightening up. The vocals really shine on this piece, as they remind me of the Gorillaz. The chiptune and kazoo-like keys are quirky and work well in this song. At times, the song seems like it’s stumbling along, but in the end, it all comes together to be an interesting and enjoyable track. A type of track that one might hear on an old Michael Cera film.
“GhOsT!” is the second track on the album and the best work of Illusory Entities. The instrumental feels loose and swung compared to the rest of their music. It’s definitely the most solid piece, standing out with its calm Animal Crossing vibe and well-selected chimes and keys. It avoids the pitfalls of being too busy and going too many directions while still taking the listener through an obvious arc of emotions. The lo-fi background audio is commonplace for the style and does not add anything significant, but it sets the tone for the song nonetheless. It drifts off as the lead part continues to cascade downward, the warm hi-hat dividing up the outro as the song fades out.
Track three on the EP is “the boat.” It comes out of the gates strong as the best vocal performance and arrangement in the entirety of their work. It loses a bit of traction towards the last half but finishes up quite well. The cough at the end somehow works in the track’s favor.
For most of the band’s releases, it is hard to find lyrics. In some parts of the songs, it is clear and easy to make out what he’s singing, but in other parts, the aesthetics of the sound get in the way. It’s a common give and take in this style of music, but I’m glad they went for the vintage, grainy sound over clarity. At least in “strawberries & milk.”
Illusory Entities definitely has some personality but needs to hone in on what makes them stand out. They’ve got some hidden gems, a semi-consistent naming theme and many other things working in their favor. Still, there’s no way of knowing who they are, if they play any live shows or anything else about them.
I guess that for now, Illusory Entities will remain illusive.