Soft Powder’s new single Running Through The Dark is the perfect song to soundtrack your thoughts as you mentally attempt to unpack the feelings you’ve been neglecting.
14th February 2022
I recently moved back into my childhood home - a place I had hastily run away from in my late teens. When I left, I swore I would never look back, but as a decade passed, I found myself in the same spot that I used to curl up in on my childhood bed sheets. A lot happens to a person in a decade; all the different places I tried to call home, all the cities I’ve visited, all the people I’ve loved and lost, all the feelings of euphoria I tried to chase and the lingering lows have all come and gone with time. Trying to process all these memories is no easy feat. As they flash before me, the anxiety begins to build up and before I know it, I feel a shortness of breath. So you could say, it was serendipitous for me to stumble across Soft Powder’s new single “Running Through The Dark” on a stranger’s instagram story whilst I was trying to distract myself from the overwhelming burden of unpacking the past I had neglected for so long.
Soft Powder 软粉 is Naarm/Melbourne based musician Andy Szetho’s lo fi dream pop project. “Running Through The Dark'' 在黑暗中奔跑 is his latest single. The song opens with enchanting synths and guitar riffs, then dreamy vocals begin to weave in and out of the soundscape. Although I couldn’t completely decipher the lyrics at the beginning, “I swear it’s never going to leave my head, no it’s never going to leave my head” drifted through the echoes of guitar strings and took hold of my emotions. Sometimes it’s disorientating to listen to music where you can’t decipher the lyrics, however in the case of “Running Through The Dark,” it felt as if the lyrics were visually flashing towards me and I could choose which ones I wanted to relate to. The guitars, synths and Szetho’s “Running through the dark, I’m always looking for a spark and it’s time to run away from here” vocal continue to harmoniously shift in and out of one another and I picture myself sifting through my past, trying to find something that makes sense. After a few listens, “Running Through The Dark'' eventually eased me from my anxieties. As I sat up from my childhood bed, I was comforted knowing that I wasn’t alone in this search for “a spark.”
The anxiety and moods created with this song leads one to feel as if they are in a Wong Kar Wai film. If I was ever a main character, “Running Through The Dark” would soundtrack my character’s development as I transition from who I used to be, to who I hope to be. It then came as no surprise, upon further research of Szetho’s work, to find that Wong Kar Wai is one of his inspirations. In a previous interview, Szetho states that Soft Powder is a way for him to authentically portray his cultural background, reclaiming the narrative on the representation of Asian people, away from previous, harmful stereotypes. On top of Wong Kar Wai, his other inspirations and influences include Hou Hsiao-hsien, Zhang Yimou, Cocteau Twins, Bright Eyes and Brian Eno. It’s always pleasing to see who and what inspires artists and then to see them execute their vision perfectly, both sonically and visually.