Bitan is the new EP out from Korean-American singer/songwriter Ane (pronounced Ann-nee” and standing for “A New Era”) and it is a sultry, soulful set of tunes. The EP’s title means “lament, a passionate expression of grief or sorrow” in Korean and while there is a dusky solitude to the record, it does not wallow in it. With lyrics that ruminate on love and lust over subaquatic beats forged from Ane’s sampled vocals, Bitan deftly explores passion and all its trappings.
Bitan opens with “R.S.D.”, a modern torch song about riding, smoking, and drinking at dawn set to a gritty, luminous beat that slinks along with a stylish, hungover decadence. “Dreams” follows with spacey R & B that flows in and out on the velvet vocals of Ane. The production of Bitan makes great use of the fact that Ane is vocal powerhouse as her lyrics, moans, and melodies are layered upon one another to create plush musical beds. The track “Driving Around Thinking Bout U” exemplifies this as vaporous vocals entwine the beat and the listener, pulling them further into the fantasy of the album.
By the time “Stick Up” spins around, with its love-as-robbery metaphor, descending chord structure, and arena rock guitar solo, Ane has made it clear that she will not be defined by identity or confined by genre. She is an artist in the tradition of Jill Scott and Nina Simone as much as that of The Beatles and Stevie Wonder. On Bitan these influences shine unabashedly through Ane’s own unique shroud of smoke and soul to create moody and moving music.