Who? Based in Prague Chinese-Polish artist (and former neuroscience student, no less) Ai fen made her solo debut last year, the Calvert’s Journal. His first album, poster forever, was released in February 2020, followed by a remix EP, poster poster forever. With an otherworldly voice that ranges from delicacy to frenzy and a sound that pushes the boundaries of pop music, Ai fen is a unique presence on the contemporary European music scene.
What? In the video of the pandemic-only Can you believe ?, Ai fen crosses a forest to reach a neoclassical temple. There, she experiences a series of pagan rituals centered on nature.
What they say: “The track began with a simple strumming of the guitar and an obsessive repetition of the question: Can you believe“Says Ai fen.” It served as a mantra, a backdrop to ruminate over my emotions surrounding the past two years and what was to follow. Like all of us, I was destabilized by the pandemic. But as the pandemic continued to expand, I began to feel that this destabilization was just a revelation of the way things had always been: uncertain, fragile and in need of a faith that will hold us together. in the dogmatic or religious sense, but a faith that goes beyond creeds that essentially exalt our own ego, a faith that trusts the intelligence of the surrounding world and embraces the fact that we are part of that intelligence.
Why you should listen: The skillful and seemingly effortless way in which Ai fen escalates and dramatizes her voice, giving the song its sublime and timeless quality. Despite the direct references to the pandemic in the lyrics – “Can you believe, the year we had? – the single is far from cliché and avoids conventions at every turn, instead taking audiences out of the ordinary and into the spiritual realm.