Do you ever remember the first time you were blown away by something completely different? I’ve had some incredible moments. My most recent memory that applies is FKA Twigs. I had seen Danny Brown (another personal discovery that blew my goddamn mind) post about her and the moment I listened, I was hooked. The heavy, spacious at times and chaotic at others electronic production combined with her beautiful vocals really takes me somewhere else. It reminds me of Massive Attack or Portishead dipped in a quick, coating bath of 90’s dance music.
I had discovered her after LP1 was released so when she announced her M3LL155X EP, I was REALLY excited to hear it and experience it as it was released. It’s always more exciting for me personally to experience a release like that. The music that was released before you personally discovered an artist is great! It is probably what got you into that artist. That said, that first release after you’ve started paying attention always means a lot. I do occasionally pre-order releases but most of the time, I love finding a release while flipping through at a local shop. In this case, I came across this at Reckless Records in Lakeview.
The front cover is surrealistic with her face/mouth and hand intertwined as she gazes at you. This artwork really sets the tone for the rest of this surreal, sexy and deep listen. BOOTS (who you’ll know from Beyonce and Run the Jewels) brings his incredible, industrial-style production to this collaboration with FKA. The first track, Figure 8 starts with almost an underwater sounding, warbly bass line then you hear:
“Let me live
Through your vice
I feel in ten breaths it’s a miracle if we’re still alive
Can you touch it? Is it real?
Paper cards that I feel
The slightest rip is a river that’s overflowing me”
The opening track just drips with passion, power and sensuality and that is counterbalanced with almost a post-apocalyptic bass thump as it unravels and ends. It ends as it began, on absolute fucking fire. The next track, “I’m Your Doll” was originally written when FKA was starting to get into production. She revisited and augmented it for this EP and it fits this powerful, sexual theme. The third song closing out side one is “In Time” and it almost feels like a re-examination of the journey of the last two tracks but with with a lighter production, an interesting almost Asian synth line that kinda gives me a weird airy kind of feeling in my stomach.
Side two has just two tracks. The first, Glass and Patron feels to me like another examination of love, sex and a sort of power struggle amidst all that. This track has more going on production wise with things moving quicker in parts and vocals being manipulated more than the previous side. The EP closes out with Mothercreep. A track FKA states is an apology written to/about her mother. Stylistically, it fits with Side Two but doesn’t follow the themes I perceive, at least.
Between the two, side one is my preferred and if I had to pick a favorite tune, it’d be Figure 8. There was a (fucking jaw-dropping) video produced for the album which I highly recommend (I’ll link it below.) This and LP1 continue to be frequent listens for me. After a late night of hanging and partying with friends, putting this on in my headphones on the train or bus ride home was requisite for a while and will probably start again soon.
It’s kind of funny how music is, yeah? You start out on one path of appreciation and whether it’s through friends, or colleagues you discover bits and bits more. You look back over the years and it’s so fascinating tracing the path of your interests in music and all art even. I don’t think I’d have been this excited about this release 10 years ago. It’s just a wonderful and probably my favorite part of life and I appreciate you reading.
For the vinyl nerds I’ve included a discogs link and for the unfamiliar a link to the video she produced for this EP. Thanks for stopping by and see you again soon!