You wipe the sand from your eyes as you stumble through a stone door that slowly closes behind you. You are cast in complete darkness, having entered an unlit temple to escape the enveloping sandstorm outside, but at least you’re safe from the skin-shredding wind. A torch lights itself on your left, and another on your right. Others appear, and illuminate a corridor. You follow their lead, and emerge into a chamber. The boom of drums in the distance . . .
Artists that experience much of the world will oftentimes contort those diverse influences into elements that enhance the art that they create. Those type of impacts can arise from one of two things: 1. ancestral osmosis, or 2. individually seeking out new adventures, possibly in new lands. Tan is the newest release from Egyptian, Iranian, Paris-born singer-producer Lafawndah, who’s lived in New York, Mexico, and Tehran.
The versatile artist creates a unique breed of pop music that’s ripe with cultural collisions. The militaristic, trunk-rattling rhythms lean toward dance music and hip-hop sensibilities, while the darkly captivating synths entice with Eastern-sounding melodies. Lafawndah’s voice is a compelling presence, slightly resembling the glistening FKA twigs, but it’s her masterful application of ominous space that’s the most captivating.
There are risks taken on this record that most pop-leaning artists wouldn’t conceive of; off-kilter samples and melodic ideas that might make the close-minded cringe. These quirks are what set this collection of compositions apart from many others, because the listener never once questions the artist’s creative authenticity. Plus, it’s one of the most fun releases of the year. If you’re seeking worldly electronic pop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)