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FKA Twigs


(Young Turks)

FKA TwigsYoung Jamaic­an-Eng­lish-Span­ish sing­er-song­writer and dan­cer FKA Twigs (real name: Tah­liah Debrett Barnett) has been com­pel­ling listen­ers and view­ers across the globe since 2013, when her EP2 record and mar­ket­ing cam­paign floored people through incred­ibly del­ic­ate, detailed and warm-hearted son­ics matched with ornate pitch-per­fect visuals.

With LP1 she expands on this, gift­ing us with 40 minutes of equally shim­mer­ing dream song, cre­ated with assist­ance from Arca, Clams Casino, Sampha, Devonté Hynes and oth­er mod­ern tal­ents. Epi­tom­ising smart 21st-cen­tury pop music, FKA Twigs’ palette clearly takes weighty influ­ence from Björk, Tricky, Bey­on­cé, Ciara, early-era The Weeknd, Kate Bush, Jam­ie XX and even per­haps Tori Amos. But as LP1 gently uncurls, she artic­u­lates and expresses a sin­gu­lar and com­pel­ling artist­ic vis­ion all of her own.

Lead single ‘Two Weeks’ and its incred­ible Ale­jandro Jodorowsky-recall­ing video con­firmed her mer­cur­i­al 2013 singles ‘Water Me’ and ‘Papi Paci­fy’ were just the tip of the ice­berg. In line with this tra­ject­ory, LP1, heavy as it is with blind­sid­ing cut after blind­sid­ing cut, nev­er sees FKA Twigs lapsing into the over-thought head space that often over­takes musi­cians who value art-house sens­ib­il­it­ies as much as pop aspir­a­tions. The out­come is one of the best albums of the year. 

Sui Zhen

Female Basic

(Teto Records)

Sui ZhenThe most recent solo release from Mel­bourne-based vocal­ist and pro­du­cer Sui Zhen (real name: Becky Sui Zhen), Female Basic is a son­ic explor­a­tion of robot­ics pro­fess­or Masahiro Mori’s uncanny val­ley concept, as filtered through her per­son­al exper­i­ences in Aus­tralia and Japan.

Presen­ted through out­board gear-gen­er­ated synth-pop beats­capes and dreamy vocals, its five songs ride the line between real and unreal, cre­at­ing a listen­ing exper­i­ence that com­pels and chills in equal meas­ure. ‘Beige Dip’ evokes wad­ing into crys­tal-clear ocean water on a sunny day, while the organ­ic cyber-chords of ‘Star­gate’ sug­gest a splen­didly dir­ect inter­weav­ing of nature and technology.

Court­ship Ritual



Courtship RitualAs Court­ship Ritu­al, New York-dwell­ing Cali­for­ni­ans Jared Olms­ted and Mon­ica Salaz­ar advoc­ate for a lo-fi dream-pop sound-world primar­ily con­cerned with min­ing a new strain of min­im­al­ism with­in minimalism.

Com­par­able with early-era Beach House or mid-peri­od Cocteau Twins, their debut album Pith show­cases Monica’s fra­gile yet firm voice and eleg­ant synth fig­ures ebbing and flow­ing against Jared’s syn­co­pated drum pro­gram­ming and hyp­not­ic fretwork.

Pur­vey­ors of son­ic envir­on­ments as opposed to tra­di­tion­al storytelling in song, their hazy music still feels under­scored by a sing-along pop clas­si­cism, as seen best on ‘Yel­low Spiders’, ‘King­dom of Beauty’ and ‘Six Foot Summer’.

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