After releasing music independently for nearly a decade, Tim Atlas signed his first record deal with Nettwerk Records to release his latest sun-kissed EP QUOTA. For the most part, the lead singles from the project pick up where Together Lonely left off with Atlas’ signature sound of psychedelic R&B that’s thick, sticky, and subtly sweet as a pandan waffle. The usual woozy synths, funk-colored basslines, back-of-the-beat drums are present. But there’s also a new tension in the Los Angeles-based musician’s work that makes his songs richer than before, from the static-melting harpsichord-synth in “Peace at Last” to the mournful bugle of “Courtside”.
“Water” continues to show the different sides of Atlas that aren’t so swooning and digestible—this time, one of introspection and malaise (“Kept myself from a smile”). Each line is almost mumbled to incoherency, engulfed in a fog of reverb. Piano notes are plucked like drops of water from icicles, shimmering and falling. It’s resigned without feeling inert, not a stasis, exactly, but a stupor, catching the light that swirls around him in firefly-like synths. In a statement, Atlas explained that the song is about mental health and depression. “One of my favorite parts about being an artist is having an avenue to speak about this stuff because most people don’t want to talk about those things in an actual conversation. So, to have a medium like music, where I can be vulnerable, is something I’m grateful for.”