Neo Soul, Indie Rock, and Avant-Garde Pop: the Strange & Beautiful World of Moses Sumney

CREDIT: Emines2k under CC BY-SA 4.0

There’s no shortage of artists and musicians that push the boundaries of creativity nowadays. Indeed, streaming platforms such as Spotify have made it infinitely easier for new artists to connect with a wider listener base through the use of its New Music Fridays playlists. This is why it’s even more impressive when an artist stands out for being unique in both music and style. Enter: Moses Sumney.

Moses Sumney may just be music’s best-kept secret, as the 29-year-old has worked with everyone from Solange to Beck. Now, while his previous collaborations should give you an idea of how boundless and genre-blurring Moses Sumney’s work is — even this would be an understatement. If this has gotten you curious, read on for a brief introduction into the strange and beautiful world of Moses Sumney.

A Special Talent

One of the most impressive things about Moses Sumney is that he didn’t grow up playing an instrument. If you take the environment that artists are subjected to nowadays, one can consider Moses Sumney a late bloomer as he only started performing publicly when he was 20. He did however hit the ground running and started making a name for himself in the music scene in 2014 when he released his debut EP Mid-City Island.

Right off the bat, it’s obvious that it’s hard to box Moses Sumney’s work under one genre. While his tracks could fall under indie rock, he also subscribes to more avant-garde sensibilities like from Perfume Genius and Blood Orange. It’s safe to say that Moses Sumney’s work refused to be classified and there may be no better example of this than his latest release græ.


Moses Sumney’s græ is a musical embodiment of self-discovery. It takes the nuanced subjects of gender, sex, and identity and warps them into a tightly-knit 20-track album which stands as Moses Sumney’s opus. This album is an accurate depiction of an artist at the peak of his power, as he takes listeners on a sonic journey unlike no other.

Given this, one may come into this album with certain expectations. While Moses Sumney’s approach to music may seem unpredictable and eclectic, it’s actually more refined than one would think. Moses Sumney uses a wide array of tools to get his sound just right. He utilizes a Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ pedal to be as precise as possible when it comes to his sound, as most of his tracks require a certain level of tonal control to pull off. However, this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t leave room for unconventional techniques. This is evident in his use of hi Loop Station pedal, that seemingly lulls listeners into a trance as heard in the song “Conveyor”. It’s the balance between wild artistry and masterful refinement that makes Moses Sumney a one of a kind artist.

If you enjoyed reading this piece, you may also want to check out our article on London-born singer-songwriter Treasure!

by Brianna Jazz

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