Music

waxing poetic for kelela

So, as yet another week of school goes by, I’m already back to using music as my beacon of melodramatic light in the never-ending tunnel of darkness that is the upcoming midterm season (#butactually).

And yes people, with the return of midterms also comes the long-awaited return of my incessant use of scholastic metaphors to describe just how much I enjoy studying non-stop. All poetic hyperboles aside, I truly do wish, like a good student, I actually spent all my time studying. At least it would add more meaning to my Facebook-ridden existence , and would also result in a 4.0 GPA, but really, who’s counting?

However, this week was sorta different? On top of my usual Facebook duties, I also occupied myself with listening to Kelela‘s just-released, debut mixtape Cut 4 Me non-stop. Though that may not seem like much to those who have tons of shit going on in their life, I don’t; so for me it is. Thus, kindly refrain from raining on my damn parade. Let me have this moment of glory in knowing that my week was more than just virtually interacting with my close peers (read: Facebook-stalking people I don’t know).

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Remember Kelela? Well, she’s already back with her exemplary debut Cut 4 Me. Having first heard about the musical goddess that is Kelela a few months ago on the final version of Kingdom’s #instaclassic “Bank Head,” I knew from the moment I first heard her divine voice that she was an angel sent from some musical, hipster heaven. But actually tho, there’s just something about her voice that’s so rhythmically reminiscent of 90s R&B, while still being compatible with the many intricately layered beats arranged by the legion of very #relevant producers that make Cut 4 Me such a memorable debut. With bass-infused beats crafted by the likes of Girl Unit, Nguzunguzu, Kingdom and even Morri$, just to name a few, Kelela definitely knew how to seek the right kind of help in ushering her into what will certainly be a prolific musical career. If she is to be the sole vocalist in the Nights Slugs/Fade to Mind fam, I already can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Highlights from the mixtape:

“Floor Show”
Produced by Girl Unit, this track has what seems to be subtle oriental influences that somehow manage to mesh perfectly with the R&B vibes that are oh so apparent during the splendid chorus. The song is sort of like a contemporary, more refined and experimental version of Christina Milian‘s classic “Dip It Low.” Maybe I’m just pushing it, but hey, shamelessly enough I love that song, so it’s definitely a compliment. But seriously, that chorus is simply sublime. Just like in “Bank Head,” Kelela shows us just how easily she can get us to lose ourselves to her voice,  just to find ourselves again on the dancefloor.

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Do It Again
Following my first listen of the mixtape, this song was initially my standout favourite. After a couple more listens, I realized that Kelela’s debut is simply littered – in the best of ways – with so many incredible songs, to the point that this song became but a favourite among many. However, that certainly does not take away from the many merits of this gem produced by NA, who happens to be 1/2 of Nguzunguzu. There’s just something about how the track begins that is so damn enrapturing – a sentiment of enchantment that is firmly cemented by the first thump of the bassline. The entrancing contrast between the spellbinding delicacy of what seems to be a pan flute (or is it just me?) and the aggression of the tribal rhythm is balanced by the ethereal nature of Kelela’s voice, bewitching us to simply do it again.

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Something Else
For me, this track can be summed up in two words: classic Nguzunguzu. Complete with the classic Moments In Love sample at the end, this song effectively demonstrates just how versatile and timeless the duo’s unique sound is. Similar to the material on their initial, eponymous EP, Nguzunguzu, released back in 2010 (3 years ago!), this track marks a return to their understated, quasi-minimalist, tribal roots in a fashion that is made captivating by Kelela’s soothing tonalities. Pun obvi intended, this song truly is something else.

With all that said, kindly download Kelela‘s Cut 4 Me HERE, and listen to the rest of the stunning mixtape below.

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