Roundup, February #1
From Flume going pop, to Loraine James testing the climate of ambient, and to Kavinsky making a comeback with a power ballad… these are our must hear selections of the week. In no particular order:
Jana Rush – Lonely (ft. DJ Paypal)
Last year, Jana Rush released the excellent and compelling Painful Enlightenment, an album that pushed the conceptual possibilities of footwork to uncharted heights. In particular, Rush’s use of improvised jazz as a framework for her footwork experiments imbued Painful Enlightenment with a richness and gravitas that was at once brilliant and alarming. On Lonely (ft. DJ Paypal), she extrapolates on this formula. Opening with fluttering jazz percussion and bass, Lonely throws high octane and whining brass riffs at skittish, jagged footwork polyrhythms to create another emotionally fraught composition that speaks toward Rush’s ascent into the pantheon of footwork visionaries. It’s the first single off her upcoming mini-album, Dark Humour, due out in March on Planet Mu.
PinkPantheress – To Hell With It (Remixes)
PinkPantheress is one of those rare TikTok viral sensations who has the artistry to back it up. After her explosion onto the scene with hits like Break It Off, last year saw her debut mixtape To Hell With It solidify her status as pop’s shiniest new arrival with a surprising mix of Lily Allen-esque writing, garage rock and drum’n’bass. On To Hell WIth It (Remixes), she invites the likes of LSDXOXO, Anz, and Flume to reimagine tracks from the mixtape. Anz turns the laidback kuduro of All my friends know into a smooth UKG-cum house slow burner, while Flume takes the galloping breakbeats of Noticed I cried and pushes them harder and further.
Whatever The Weather – 17°C
London’s Loraine James unleashed the genre-bending Reflection last year, a near perfect record that showcased James’s masterful affinity for crafting serpentine, amorphous electronic music that sounds both singular and familiar. Its unsurprising that James should have greater musical ambitions, and under the new alias Whatever The Weather, she’s allowing herself to explore these more left-field instincts. 17°C is the first single off her debut album under the WTW moniker, a record that spans ten tracks with each song being inspired by the mood and feeling elicited from different temperatures. 17°C is skittish, sparse drill’n’bass with touches of footwork, forming patterns and breaking them apart into passages of space and ambience.
Kavinsky – Zenith
French synthwave maestro Kavinsky has announced his first new album in nearly a decade, Reborn.The last we heard from him was on 2013’s OutRun, a dazzling mesh of synthwave and French touch that yielded the iconic Nightcall. As the first single off the upcoming release, Zenith reveals Kavinsky in power ballad mode. Opening with a forlorn sax solo and piano, Zenith grows into an 80’s tinged anthemic ballad, with Kavinksy’s retro-synths joined by a whining electric guitar riff. It’s kind of kitschy, recalling Pat Benatar and Bonnie Tyler with its epic chords and lovesick vocals from collaborator Prudence.
Flume – Say Nothing
Australian producer Flume is best known for his post-dubstep formulations of trap and future bass, creating a particular sort of experimental style that made him one of the most distinct voices in contemporary electronic music. His new single, Say Nothing featuring May-A, is one of his most radio friendly outings. Embracing pop more ardently than before, Flume crafts a track that pulls from dembow and afrobeat rhythms while delivering his signature amorphous bass and synth motifs. As the first single off the upcoming record Palaces (due in May) that features the likes of Caroline Polachek, Flume may be entering his most accessible era to date.
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