RayRay Takes Over EDM with an 'Alien Invasion'
BY Evan Vitkovski / Sep-19-2019
RayRay has a special place in the Taiwan EDM circuit and as an international representative of what Asia has to offer at festivals across the planet. Graduating from the proving grounds with her winning performance at Taiwan's 2013 Red Bull Thre3style, she showed off her skills next to some of the best DJs alive at the World Finals. Quickly and steadily gaining momentum, her subsequent musical contributions have received lots of attention both in Taiwan and abroad as a producer, DJ, and force to be reckoned with in EDM. Getting to perform for huge audiences in 2019, including Ultra Singapore, Tomorrowland, and Glastonbury has put RayRay on the map. And by the sounds of it, she’s taking her musical career to new heights approaching astronaut status. According to a recent interview with Billboard, she identifies as an alien, so it's only appropriate that everyone takes notice while she experiments on their ears.
On RayRay's Alien Invasion, she comes off as an EDM enchantress chanting an alien mantra hook or a few bars over each and every track on the EP. She branches out to include her own vocals and put the full force of her music production experience to work. For her second release from Dutch imprint Barong Family, Yellow Claw reportedly had significant influence on the EP, giving RayRay suggestions on which direction to take the sound. Alien Invasion is a hypnotic showcase of different styles within EDM that includes a roster of collaborations. These are beats made for bumping in a frenetic club environment or at large festivals packed with throngs of people dancing together. Because each song is paced differently but retains some essence of EDM's wanton repetitious and infectious energy throughout, it feels like the soundtrack to different stages of a night out. That's quite an accomplishment, since the EP clocks in at less than 15 minutes total.
En route to the party, the opening of Alien Invasion sends us to "Outer Space," where the initial heavy throbbing dubstep drop sets the tone for the rest of what's to come. The second drop scatters that energy into a constellation of brightly pulsating quasars that hits with the same mix of excitement and anxiousness as waiting in a long line to get inside a popular club.
The second track, a collaboration with Juyen Sebulba from Dallas, Texas, speeds things up a bit. Imagine just walking into the much anticipated party. Like any good night out, it's time to get right to the dance floor. Fuzzy rumbles of bass split the quickfire snares effortlessly to the sound of RayRay sing-song rapping about her "Drumstick." This track is probably the best use of RayRay's vocal effort, while still fitting the consistent style she has created on Alien Invasion and other tracks she has produced over the years.
As the condensed narrative of the night plays out and the EP peaks, on comes "Back and Forth," which has the makings of a Jersey club anthem with playful vocals putting the party into full tilt. By now, everyone in earshot is dancing their hearts out to the tune of RayRay's party instructions. Just like her signature sets at clubs and festivals, as well as her purely sample based production style, RayRay treats this EP and her decks like an eclectic mixing board of dancefloor bangers. Her style spans the spectrum of EDM while pushing the sound forward into the cosmic future.
Making sure the journey winds up smoothly, "Samurai" starts with a haunting trap beat before transforming into a dancefloor stomping EDM tune. It has elements of RayRay's more hip-hop inspired production, and leads nicely into the closing track of Alien Invasion. It's time to leave the club and see what the rest of the night has in store.
Finally, we teleport to the afterparty where the vibe remains lively, but distinctly different; embodied by the final track "Like This," with Gianno Marino featuring Lil Debbie. A hard edged trap tune with a braggadocious verse from Lil Debbie, it works as the fitting companion piece to "Like That," another collaboration with Gianno Marino from RayRay's Purple Alien EP that came out last year on Barong Family. In comparison, Purple Alien had more electrohouse/hip-hop inspired EDM tracks and didn’t take as many chances with subgenres as RayRay has on Alien Invasion. She still incorporates her roots as a hip-hop DJ into the bright future she has among the stars, and variety is part of what makes RayRay so versatile and beloved in the EDM scene. Playing on her strengths is something she has adapted to, even as an extra-terrestrial among us humans.