Consistency is key, and Ayleen Valentine is becoming one of the more reliable names for off-center pop cuts. The 21-year-old seemingly shape-shifts between releases, finding a new aspect of her artistic identity to highlight. On the second of four installments of releases, a/b__2 is a heavily-tinted meditation on the suppressed ideas that often dominate our private moments. A sort of paranormal presence looms large over both tracks; on “i can’t stop dreaming of you,” Valentine makes an explicit reference to what haunts her, but there is a chilling feeling that dominates A-side “epitaph” as well. “Do you see my epitaph?” she spews, with an emotional swagger unbecoming of the moment. A much darker shade than its predecessor, a/b__2 accomplishes the goals Valentine set out for herself with her string of releases: to display versatility while building an impressive discography for listeners to enjoy. Valentine supplemented the project with a music video for “epitaph,” a visual just as hopelessly articulate as the song. Directed by frequent collaborator Genevieve Andrews, the video comments on a culture lacking in apathy that we find ourselves in daily.
A Miami native, Valentine is set to become a need-to-know artist sooner rather than later. After moving to Los Angeles to commit herself to music, she has been producing not only in quantity, but quality. Her debut EP tonight i don’t exist laid the foundation for the songs we hear today, as she experiments with the talent displayed on her debut. Having just got off the road supporting RIZ LA VIE as well as performing two headline shows, Valentine has plenty more still on her plate. Along with the forthcoming a/b projects set to complete the series, she will also be playing at Belltown Bloom Festival in Seattle and Bottle Rock Festival in Napa, CA. Valentine has answered about every question there is to be asked of a new artist. The only valid question to ask is, what will we hear next? At this point, anything is on the table.