Miami-born, NYC-based Anthony Naples made a name for himself as soon as he came onto the scene. “Mad Disrespect” wasn’t only his first song ever, but the first on a 12” that became Mister Saturday Night’s inaugural release. And with it came a request by Kieran Hebden AKA Four Tet to remix “128 Harps”. Since then, Naples has released a handful of 12”s on various labels, including his own Proibito, and there hasn’t been a single dud. Body Pill only continues his streak and finds the producer refining his sound. The tracks on here are uncharacteristically short for Naples, and the album’s only a mere 29 minutes, but he’s efficient with his time. And even with the variety of styles present, the record manages to feel both immersive and cohesive. Naples stated that this record was meant to evoke the mystique of late nights out of the club and onto the streets. In the press release, he specifically mentioned “those weird fluorescent light tubes in the subway. They give off this weird hum that you hear only when you’re alone in the station between trains late at night.” And while he’s since disowned his words, much of Body Pill could soundtrack those moonlit evenings where one feels isolated in a public setting. On “Abrazo”, strings weave in and out, providing a warm contrast to its cold, pinking melody. Later on “Pale”, Naples creates a hazy, uncanny valley-esque drone a la Boards of Canada. And then in the record’s final minutes, robotic melodies play call and response over static and Badalamenti-like keys.
But more than just a unifying sonic aesthetic, Body Pill shows off Naples’ compositional chops. There’s not much happening on “Way Stone”, and it doesn’t even reach two minutes, but its skeletal delay-laden melody feels fleshed out alongside subtle white noise and the periodic thud of a kick drum. Naples’ strongest asset has always been his sound design—his ability to allow individual elements of a song to breathe while simultaneously interacting with each other is what makes him a star, and it’s best showcased on centerpiece “Refugio”. On it, a frantic melody pans from side to side but it doesn’t diminish the effect of the song’s other components—the shuffling hi-hat, the keyboard chords, the tap of a cymbal that faintly reverberates every few measures. In his interview with Pitchfork, Naples stated that he was weary of being put in a stylistic box. That he’s expanding his sound on this record, then, isn’t much of a surprise. And after proving his talent for the past few years, the fact he’s on point throughout all of Body Pill isn’t much of one either.