Melati ESP Hatches a Hyperreality Out of Hypnotic Electronica on Debut Solo Album “hipernatural”

Melati ESP 2023 photo
Photo by Marlee Pasinetti

It’s hard to pinpoint where precisely NY-based electronic pop artist Melati ESP draws her inspiration from. But then again, what’s the rush in defining the music when it’s already in a realm of its own right from track one? That happens to be the case for her new album, hipernatural, a formal introduction of sorts for the Jakarta native after previously working as part of the percussion trio Asa Tone. While there are surely stripes of that group’s work here and there, hipernatural is not only Melati Malay’s first solo album but a fresh and self-assured project that’s as exciting as it is peculiar.


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“TEPI MEMORI” opens up hipernatural to serene and lush nature sounds, beginning like the musical equivalent of entering a remote rainforest in a sci-fi/fantasy world. Switching mediums, it also works as the title screen to an old handheld video game, calmly setting the stage until the bass-heavy drumbeat of “E.M.Z.” takes over. Vocally, the track is the most impressive, moving from fluttering vocal chops in the distance to Malay’s voice pitching high and low. To put matters into context, “E.M.Z.” is the kind of song that, if played in the club, would first confuse the crowd but eventually break down into a uniquely odd combination between breakdancing and an ayahuasca-induced electric slide.


On the other side of the iridescent spectrum, “INTUISI” is much more laid back than the other tracks, opting for a simple house beat rather than an entire ecosystem. Alongside the album’s release, a music video for “INTUISI” also dropped that’s something straight out of a vaporwave edit from the early 2010s. Not every song is a mellow vibration, as “DI ATAS” proves. Featuring an uptempo beat you could imagine Sonic the Hedgehog running across, it’s one of the oddest sonically. Continuing Malay’s love for drones, an admiration heard across the album, the mountainous production stuns and shows hipernatural does not falter in the latter half.

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The multiple teasers leading up to the album’s release are all highlights in their own right, but one stands above the rest in the best of the entire album. “KUPU KUPU ELEKTRONIK” begins with the nostalgic startup sound of an old Windows XP computer before quickly transitioning to wavy synths that drive the song forward. At the very least, it’s impossible to move your shoulders, but Malay’s skipping vocals are there as a fail-safe, wrapping the cutesy harmonies up in a nice bow that pairs well with the rainbow road drift of a song.


There are no promises about whether the album will win over everyone. Pulling from multiple points of inspiration is sure to alienate some, but it will, at the very least, intrigue for how wholistically different it all comes together. As far as first albums go, hipernatural is one of the best in recent memory and exemplifies that Malay is a natural when it comes to making music.

Words: David Sosa

hipernatural by Melati ESP is out on all streaming services. For more on her music, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Bandcamp.

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