Saturday, August 9, 2014

FKA Twigs

Wow, I am so glad FKA Twigs (British-born Tahliah Barnett) is on my radar. Her first full-length release entitled "LP1" is coming this Tuesday, August 12, 2014. But she has previously released two EPs, logically titled "EP1" and "EP2." Her music is somewhat aligned with neo-soul, but FKA Twigs' music is much more abstract, much darker, more experimental. It seems to come from a murky, pre-conscious place... her music is infused with a type of dream logic. Known elements are combined and then fascinatingly distorted, stretched. It all seems somewhat familiar, but it teeters on the edge of disintegration, danger...

In the following three astonishing videos for songs from "EP2," we see visuals that act the same way as her music. These hypnotizing images are simple but their precision is cutting, and their clarity is disturbing. They draw us in, but offer us no entry to any kind of understanding. They are infused with the same kind of dream logic as her music.

"How's That" lurches along from changing tempo to changing tempo while she croons what normally would be a sensual song ("How's that feel? That feels good..."). But the moody, foreboding swell keeps this firmly out of Marvin Gaye terriroty. In fact, we are lost in a maze of manic ping-pong sounds, echoes, and tense, swirling synths. The visuals are a perfect accompaniment, with bodies collapsing, dissolving, and contorting to shapes that have nothing to do with the human form.

In "Papi Pacify," we get something similar: in another universe, this is a slow, sexy R&B jam, but in this universe, it is a crunching, roiling, frightening affair filled with ethereal dread. It rolls slowly over our expectations, ever-so-gently destroying what we think a "soul" or "R&B" singer should sound like. The video of course is equally dark and frightening: desire and violence deliciously fight each other, slipping back and forth, over the seems obvious that FKA Twigs could be the "victim" here, but after a full viewing of her centered power, it could be the man behind her who is in danger...

And finally, the deceptively simple "Water Me," despite its ticking, is a forlorn, warped three minutes of resigned despair.

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