Lucinda Chua: “Echo”

In the Jade Ang Jackman-directed video for “Echo,” songwriter and composer Lucinda Chua pays complex homage to the 2000s films—Kill BillCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Lady Vengeance—that offered Chua, a South London teenager with Malaysian and Chinese roots, the next-best thing to representation. The after-image that these heavily stylized, often gruesome films left on Chua’s eyelids is instantly legible, from its scarlet-against-snow-white compositions and chiaroscuro to Chua’s languid fan dancing. She’s called “Echo”—which accompanies the announcement of her debut album Yian—a “pop song about ancestral trauma,” and the song seemingly plays out in the concussed emotional space that follows psychic contusion. “Holding onto so much pain/I won’t be your echo again,” she murmurs. There aren’t many words bouncing around inside this tiny cathedral of a song, built from just her voice and some blotted keyboards. But Chua summons ghosts with every pregnant pause, unspoken thoughts swirling the song’s mix like room tone.