LP1 by FKA twigs

August 11 2014
3:00 PM

In a media soundscape where over-emotional vocal convolutions have become cross-genre and predominant to the extent of being considered synonymous with “technique,” FKA twigs‘ exercise in constraint is an R&B aural caress. Born Tahliah Barnett, FKA started as backup dancer in music videos—a career she recalls in Video Girl: “The camera’s on your pain that it loves / You’re looking for the all around good love”—before creating a huge buzz when she released her self-produced EP1 on Bandcamp. After collaborating with director Jesse Kanda (the video for “How’s That” with Twigs’ digitally-rendered body metamorphosing into pure black and white visual signal is a must see) and with producer Arca on EP2 and being included in the roster of the indie label Young Turks, FKA twigs launched Nabil’s directed introductory video for her first album earlier this spring: “Two Weeks” exalts her low-serotonin, intimate style to mainstream accessibility. Tahliah has often been compared to the classic ’90s R&B singer Aaliyah, though these ten songs clearly trace her artistic lineage back to Bristol’s futuristic torch songs (Martina’s collaboration with Tricky, Portishead) and the ethereal, “heavenly” voices that climaxed in the exhausted new wave of iconic label 4AD. Punching basses, trap-rap-like percussions, languid minor chord pads counterpoint the potent songwriting in a way that will entice you in for more, again and again. Already a strong candidate for the 2014 top 20 albums. (Francesco Tenaglia)