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Becca Stevens releases new synth-pop opus with a good deal of musical and sonic complexity / DOWNBEAT

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In the July 2016 issue of DownBeat, Becca Stevens was spotlighted in the article titled "25 for the Future." In the ensuing years, she has proven to be an artist worthy of such attention. For her latest project, the ingenious classical and jazz-trained singer-songwriter took the production reins for a synth-pop opus she calls Wonderbloom (GroundUp), co-producing and engineering the album with Grammy winner Nic Hard, who has engineered projects for Snarky Puppy and Bokanté, among others.

With its pop veneer and danceable grooves, the 35-year-old North Carolina native's latest album might be her most accessible recording to date. Under the hood, however, it has a good deal more musical and sonic complexity and sophisticated lyric writing than is normally found in dance pop. The album's immersive soundscapes and densely layered arrangements feature intricate synth programming and innovative use of percussion (including, at one point, the squeal of a squeezable rubber pig played by percussionist Keita Ogawa.

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