When I first played Sydney-based artist Kavi’s track “D-Triple-U” to a friend, they turned to me and said: “Yeah, it sounds like it could soundtrack Mario Kart.”
It didn’t sound like that at all - but it was easy to understand the thought process.
Kavi’s discography - though only three releases deep - drives a connection to an effortless child-like sense of fun. His digitised-soundscapes imitate a video game, like that last lap of Rainbow Road or the long-gone days of arcade machines. The lyricism is simple. Backing beats drive the song. It’s slightly frenetic, but kept in place by tight production and a catchy, melodic chorus.
A better way to describe Kavi’s music, in terms of genre, is club hyper-pop. It has a tinge of SOPHIE., A sprinkle of Smile.Dk’s “Butterfly” and an archetypal pop structure influenced by the lasting shudder of the 2000s. While overtly-produced and stylized, there is something still raw about the delivery.
And that probably stems from Kavi, himself, still being in the teething stages of his career.
His freshman release, “Reality TV,” whet the palate of first time listeners at the end of 2021. And while it's a song fitting for a lockdown period where shows like Love is Blind and Love Island were our only means of escape, it also doubles as an ode to the treacherous nature of dating. Throughout the track, Kavi describes a defunct “situationship” through the lens of trashy reality TV, singing, ‘get me starry eyed / we’re on in 5 / let’s overdramatize’.
Though Kavi is still a new artist on the cusp of finding his sound, what makes him unique and gripping in the Australian music landscape is the direction he’s heading - not only with his tracks (though not many artists are experimenting within the same genre) - but also his presence. His image is carefully articulated by his own genuine individualism.
There’s something deeper behind Kavi’s intent than just making songs. It seems like he wants to create a space that not only caters to himself but a community of people that have long been repressed: the queer, coloured kids of Australia.
Growing up in a strict Hare-Krishna family and coming-of-age in Melbourne’s underground club playground, Kavi finds inspiration in the almost-fatal dancefloors of Berlin. His collagic upbringing has created a stirring new artistry. Its maturation will be exciting to follow.
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