With the turn of the calendar comes new goals and fresh experiences. For Khuê, 2021, or more specifically the next album he releases, will serve as a milestone in his career. The SoCal musician has made music for years, but his recent singles are the only he has released that feature his singing voice. Both “Disappear” and “I Didn’t Know” are fun synthwave singles that show Khuê’s vulnerability; follow him to hear his newest track this Friday.
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Khuê Bui is a lowkey individual with a helluva back catalogue. The queer graphic designer-by-day has honed a number of technical skills over the years, including music and video production, which continually factor into his releases. Starting out with a cute Vietnamese word just because (Caro), he has tried on a few monikers over the years before turning to more personal terms that included his name. Today, he is Khuê.
Prominently displayed on the homepage of Bui’s YouTube channel is a remix of “Enigma” by Lady Gaga, a rendition that fills the Chromatica deep-cut with nicotine-stained suspense. This is the most recent of a litany of re-imaginings that Bui has put together over the years, for every contemporary pop icon you can think of, including Lizzo, Lana del Rey, Lorde, and more. Scroll back far enough and you will notice that the remixes were foundational to his career, and they still remain an integral part of Bui’s work.
It will come as no surprise to learn that the majority of Bui’s output was entirely instrumental and heavily electronic, flitting through sub-genres from house to glitch to dubstep. From there, he tinkered with songwriting and intention. His first formal releases had vague throughlines, but a full concept emerged on 2018’s The Quiet. The track listing is a brief poem, which itself opens the album up to a new world—one with extraterrestrials hidden in the shadows of the early hours.
Where The Quiet was abstract and opaque, the latest singles from Khuê prove to be the antithesis. His new music is less programmed synthesizer and more playful, ‘80s synthwave, and his gentle vocals complete the aesthetic. “Disappear” and “I Didn’t Know” take listeners to Bui’s soft-tinted bedroom and into shared memories of nascent love and all the fear that comes along with it. There are more songs to come in the same vein as these two singles; notably, a collaboration with Parker Eberle is due out this Friday. It seems that an album comprised of Bui’s new material is on the horizon.
As a fairly lean operation, Bui does just about everything himself, and the quality of his output consistently improves. Of course, in the past, he has collaborated with other folks and continues to so regularly, especially with pal Jack Jupiter; it hasn’t always been a one-person-show, but Khuê has certainly grown comfortable in being a solo artist. His current era is an indication that he’s at his pinnacle. And no, it’s not all downhill from here; on the contrary, Khuê is ready to explore the stratosphere.
by: Zoë Elaine