You’re in a submarine in the furthest depths of the ocean. It’s suffocatingly dark, save for the blinking lights that adorn the surrounding interior. It’s quiet, so quiet that the occasional beeps from the radar device tear through the dense atmosphere and shake your mind from its stagnant trance. The beeps grow steadily more frequent, faster and faster until they blend together to create one tone. The tone lowers, and raises in pitch, and the earth shakes . . .
The line between soulful r&b and mechanistic electronic music is increasingly becoming blurred, and it’s difficult to find a more effective blending of the two than the sounds of this artist. Hallucinogen is the newest release by Kelela Mizanekristos, a D.C.-native, L.A.-transplanted singer that possesses a startling ability to transform the sensuality of intimacy into rhythmic, hook-laden gems primed for a seductive club environment.
Kelela maintains the sensitive, hi-definition approach to r&b from previous record Cut 4 Me, due in great part to Kingdom and Nguzunguzu’s MA signing on again for production duties. Producers Arca and DJ Dahi (Drake/Kendrick Lamar collaborator) join the fray this time as well, and enhance her songs with colossal drum patterns, subterranean bass, and twinkly synthesizers. It’s equal parts futuristic and humanistic, a rare concoction.
At a brisk six songs, this release is effortlessly consumable and filled to the brim with captivating melodies that implant themselves into one’s mind immediately. Kelela is a compellingly forward-thinking artist, and one that preserves an astounding level of transparency within a scene that’s saturated with sounds devoid of any real feeling. If you’re seeking soulfully melodic, electronically-produced r&b, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)