Karl Zine has made some waves as one half of alt-pop duo RINNGS, but this year he’s stepping out on his own with a debut solo album, due in November. Today we have the pleasure of bringing you the song “Greenscreen”, which displays Zine’s idiosyncratic trails of thought. He’s told us about “Greenscreen”, saying:
“Police cars at night have the most amazing blue lights, strangely sinister and quite beautiful at the same time, you don’t see that blue anywhere else really. The intro of the song was inspired by the video game Grand Theft Auto 5 which features police cars pretty heavily, it’s one of the most amazing feats of programming I’ve ever seen. A whole miniature world to explore, complete with sunsets, waterfalls, cityscapes. Losing myself for hours, flying over the mountains in my private Learjet got me thinking about reality, about the gap between what we think we see and what’s really there. My bookshelf full of ‘classics’ I’ve never read and probably never will, the things we believe we want, whilst having no idea where the desire comes from or if it’s even our own.
“It was beginning to feel like I had more in common with the title characters in GTA than the real people outside. So, I started writing phrases down, random stuff that popped into my head. I didn’t set out to write a ‘song’ as such. I decided against the structure of verses, choruses and specific hooks, I just let it evolve and when it felt like a good place to stop, I called that the end.“
Using Grand Theft Auto V as a jumping-off point for a song about existential thoughts is an interesting technique, but over the course of lockdown we’ve all had to find new ways to simultaneously escape from and connect with the world at large. For Karl Zine, diving head first into this thought experiment has yielded “Greenscreen”, a song that is both musically compelling and lyrically thought provoking.
Not using a traditional verse-chorus structure on “Greenscreen” keeps listeners hooked in, and it’s almost as if we’re walking through a virtual world that just keeps going – whenever we expect to hit a wall or a repetition, Zine just keeps the song evolving into something new. At a basic level it’s a synth-pop jam, but through the continual cascade of sounds – sirens, choirs, ticking percussion – “Greenscreen” only grows more engrossing and harder to pin down. Zine’s passion for jazz drumming is also on show, underpinning the track with a steady pace but one that expands and contracts, artfully increasing and decreasing the tension. Zine’s lyricism follows a similar path, collecting together a wide range of off-the-cuff thoughts in a thread that rides beautifully atop the undulating synth and drum surges, all tying together into a whole that reflects a very modern mental state.