In what might be a banner year for LA-based producer extraordinaire Elliott Kozel, he’s taking his shoegaze project Gloomer to a new level with his latest single, “Lightning.” The song, one-third of his upcoming EP, In The Sewer, out Oct. 27, comes after production work on Yves Tumor’s explosive album from earlier this year and the recently released Jean Dawson and SZA single, “NO SZNS.”

Through the Gloomer name, Kozel made his presence known in 2022 with the equally explosive and experimental One More Time EP. But on “Lightning,” he favors a DIY approach to shoegaze and delivers a promising first look at what’s shaping to be another standout EP.

“Lightning” starts on a lo-fi note, establishing a false sense of security before a wall of layered guitars comes into play and hits harder than a semi-truck moving at supersonic speeds. Miraculously, Kozel comes out on the other end of the distorted noise with his wheezy vocals, which are hard to make out at first but become apparent when the distortion settles. And by the sound of it, he must have every guitar pedal at his disposal, swirling them together during the mixing to induce a scrappy yet hypnotic feeling.

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Perhaps even more scrappier than the song itself is the visualizer done by frequent collaborator Joon Voigt and Kozel himself. Similar to the distorted sound of the instrumental, the animation evokes something reminiscent of animator Don Hertzfeldt’s style if put through a psychedelic meat grinder. Not that that’s a bad thing, far from it. In fact, the disorienting and somewhat scrapbook look to the visuals captures the DIY chaos of the track.

For those familiar with Kozel’s production work, Gloomer might be a polarizing contrast compared to the polished and sheen quality of a Yves Tumor or Jean Dawson track. However, that seemed to be the intention behind “Lightning” and the EP at large. “I wrote the song about trying to break from the monotony of life and looking for that spark that might bring back excitement to existence,” said Kozel. “I took a lot of ketamine, and when I was done writing the song I went and had dinner with my friend Bradly.” His methods clearly worked, where “Lightning” breaks Gloomer out of the monotony of recent shoegaze-inspired acts and proves he’s more than a stellar producer.

Words: David Sosa

“Lightning” by Gloomer is out on all streaming services. For more on new music and live shows, follow him on Instagram.