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Artist Spotlight: M. Vaughan’s musical return will explore a combination of genres

On June 14, M. Vaughan will return to the music industry with a different take on his signature style. The “Keep in Touch” EP explores the indie rock genre with traces of the electronic music influence that has driven the artist's career so far.

Previously, the artist has earned acclaim as an electronic music creator from VICE, Resident Advisor, Mixmag and his fellow DJs. Vaughan spent a decade producing his music on labels like Freerange Records, Monologues Records and Super Tuff.

Vaughan has lived worldwide, from Berlin to New York to Lisbon, Portugal. His upcoming EP was inspired by the emotions he developed during his move to the capital of Germany in 2021. While there, he suddenly felt detached from the city’s club and dance scene.

After relocating to Portugal in 2023, Vaughan began experimenting with the music from his roots. He began blending his early influences of The Microphones, Mark Kozelek and Alex G with his genre-bending heroes Mount Kimbie, Tirzah and Blood Orange. The result is the new sound of “Keep in Touch,” which combines techno music elements with a primary indie rock sound.

“This record is about these past few years of transition, trying to reckon with my own musical roots while making sense of life abroad, and eventually landing in a new place and making it home,” the artist said in a provided press release. “The songs on this record are a fusion of my experience as a dance music producer and rock songwriter … I use the tools of electronic music to make rock songs.”

The first lead single on the album, “Tire Swing,” will be released on April 19. The song was written during the artist's ambiguous time in Berlin and explores his feelings of disconnection.

“Tire Swing” begins with an all-encompassing synth and piano combination, turning into a high-intensity track with the drum machine's introduction. The pounding drums and repetitive piano lines call back to the artist's techno roots. Meanwhile, the layered, monotonous vocals and subtle harmonies are extremely characteristic of the indie rock genre. The moving track ends with a beautifully swirling soundscape of synths and drums.

The follow-up single to “Tire Swing” will be “Cold Read,” set to release on May 17. While the song features the most upbeat energy of the EP, “Cold Read” is a love letter to a home just out of reach. Despite its melancholy themes, the track is rhythmic and groovy, ending with an intense electronic synth as a further callback to Vaughan’s original musical passion.

Following along with the sorrowful themes of the EP, “Nazaré” is a deep exploration of longing. The sound is much more sinister than the rest of the record, due to the underlying, deep synth that persists throughout the whole track. The chorus features overlapping vocals contributing to a disorienting sound, driving home the emotional imagery of the song.

“All Good” brings the record full circle with the observation of how uneasy happiness feels for the artist. The theme of the song is represented through the most vocal clarity of the whole record, and a more mainstream pop energy to highlight the theme of happiness, no matter how unfamiliar it may feel. The song offers the most variety in topics, as well as the most variety in background sound effects.

“Keep in Touch” is a full-circle musical moment for M. Vaughan. The record portrays the artist as a complete musician with influences spanning genres and geography. The EP explores themes of heartbreak, excitement, loneliness and adventure all in a masterful combination of styles. The same drum machine pattern persists throughout all four songs, giving each one a foundation to build from to tell their stories.


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