Mixtape Forensics — April 2024, Part 4: Evgeny Bardyuzha, “Tastes Like Poison”

this is one of Ramdaram's OC but I can't tell which one, I think it's the squirrel girl

Okay, this one requires a little table-setting.

There's this cartoonist/animator from South Korea who goes by Ramdaram. If you've encountered any of her stuff in the wild, it's likely one of her animated music videos starring her OCs, one for Jack Stauber's “Two Time” (24 million views at time of writing), one for Tim Legend's “Soda City Funk”[1] (52 million views). The OC lore is extensive and cryptic in the way these self-contained universes tend to be (no doubt exacerbated here by my inability to speak Korean), but the videos are fun explosions of Gen Z webcore energy. “Poison” is a newer, moodier entry in Ramdaram's “Underfity Friends” story cycle[2], soundtracked by Evgeny Bardyuzha's “Tastes Like Poison.”

There isn't much online when you search Bardyuzha's name, which leads me to believe he's just a dude out in Chelyabinsk who likes making electronic music, sometimes for clients (those motivational business videos don't score themselves, shout out to the library music producers out there), sometimes for fun. “Tastes Like Poison” is indeed fun in a club-goth Drive-core kind of way. It sounds like the Weeknd and M83 trying to write a crossover EDM hit. Ramdaram seems to be doing well for herself as well: just south of a million YouTube subscribers, a handful of viral videos, a steady stream of new work on Instagram (movie dork bonus: her most recent piece at time of writing contains a nod to Chungking Express). There's something heartening about stumbling onto the work of people plugging away on the other side of the planet.

[1] It is absurd how hard “Soda City Funk” goes. I mean, it's just “Got to Be Real” plus “Do You Wanna Get Funky?” at 1.7x speed, but it works.

[2] Perhaps sensing there were a bunch of non-Korean goofballs like yours truly among her subscriber base, Ramdaram released an English-language lore explainer last year with the circuitous, oddly poetic title of “Story of a city where it's not strange for a person to go missing.”