Innovators of modern music fill in what’s missing from the lexicon and with a deep sense of what’s come before, Yonatan Ayal, known professionally as Chiiild, explores this space, conjuring deliberate and confidently beautiful soundscapes on his second full-length release, Better Luck In The Next Life. Chiiild works in levels of experimentation, leaning heavily on his experience as a producer having worked under the name xSDTRK in collaboration with artists like Usher, Lucky Daye, Jack Ü, and Chloe x Halle to marry R&B vocals with downtempo psychedelic beats resulting in a fresh perspective. “I’m trying to create from a space of like, ‘How creative can I be? What’s the coolest thing that I can possibly do right now?’” he explains. “And I was just attacking everything from that point of view, like ‘What feels like it’s missing in the world, and what do I want to hear? What's the most the wildest thing I can get away with? I am no longer a producer, alone, making beats,” he continues. “Now I am outside speaking to people.”
Chiiild speaks on closure from the first notes, opening the record with title track "Better Luck In the Next Life.” While this sets the album’s theme in motion, it’s with the understanding there’s always a new beginning with every ending. “I want everyone to understand that there’s never actually an end,” he says with sincerity. “You can always start over.”
The track melts into the infectious and psychedelically anthemic “Bon Voyage” then on to “Antidote,” a laid-back and soul-stirring elevation of the dreamy dance roots planted on 2020’s Synthetic Soul then amplified on 2021’s Hope For Sale. Grammy nominated R&B visionary Lucky Daye lends vocal response to Chiiild’s call on “Good For Now,” an ample slice of celestial Pop, before we undertake on a journey of longing on “Hell And High Water.”
The influences run the gamut from Pink Floyd to Sam Cooke, but their evocative reinvention is the cornerstone for Chiiild’s emotional resonance. “This is my Molotov Cocktail,” he says. “This is unapologetically who I am, so let’s see what you think.”
Listeners of The Current, Radio Milwaukee, WNXP, and KRML are thinking on Chiiild with more to follow.
Photo by Eddie Mandell