Tirzah is never not a breath of fresh air, from her casual delivery to the mellow rasp of her tone. This week, the Essex singer announced her debut album, Devotion, which she made in collaboration with her longtime friend, the composer Mica Levi (aka Micachu). The first single, “Gladly,” is a warm embrace of a song that clocks in at a leisurely 65 bpm—incidentally, the resting heartbeat rate that indicates tip-top physical condition.
Back in 2013, Taz and Meeks—the pair’s nicknames, which they alsooccasionally record under—charmed with a hyper-minimalist take on euphoric dance-pop called “I’m Not Dancing.” “Gladly” performs a not dissimilar trick with the concept of the soul ballad. “I don’t want/To sound so serious,” sings Tirzah, adopting the gentle back-and-forth swing of Micachu’s spare, piano-led melody. “But you are taking me away from all this hate/All it takes, all it takes/Is your arms, your smile.” It’s a song that creates space to contemplate the overwhelming generosity of love in its simplest gestures: the rush of feelings that the touch of your lover’s skin can stir, the contentment that only a cuddle can bring. That Devotion hints at a full-length exploration of a relationship’s many facets, through Tirzah and Micachu’s singular lens, only sweetens the deal.
Early August of this year will see the completion of a project two years in the making for Melbourne producer CHRISTOPHER PORT. Intrigued by designer and artist VIRGIL ABLOH and the connection between artist and audience, the producer lent his hand to not only two EP’s, but also designing and making two unique street wear drops to match the twin releases. Last year’s release Everything In Quotes “DARK” is soon to be met with it’s opposite, Everything In Quotes “LIGHT”, balancing out the brooding electronic garage of the first with the upbeat floating compositions of the second. His latest single from the release ‘Find A Way’ is a chugging house track, that is all at once funky and atmospheric.
A bright unstoppable pulse runs through the tune, either in the sharp hi hats line or echoing chopped samples. Groovy vocal samples and guitar riffs are warped and expanded, as Port juxtaposes the organic sounds with the square synth leads and a dense bass line. The repeated voice singing, “That’s how much I love you” and that they’ll “find a way” alongside the euphoria of the descending chords makes for a joyous, hands-up-eyes-closed finisher all the way to the five minute line.
In its opening moments, “T69 Collapse,” the much-hyped new single from Richard D. James, runs dangerously close to formulaic Aphex Twin. His tried-and-tested minor-key melody unspools in a fashion typical of the post-Analord era, reinforced by punches of melodic bass. The drums are impressive as ever, aided especially by occasional splashes of spring reverb, but the opening two minutes are more or less exactly what you’d expect.
The track is saved by the startling middle section. We’ve heard plenty of dystopian, disintegrating breakdowns from James before, but this shock-and-awe makes the preceding passage sound like an expert setup rather than a predictable intro. Stuttering gates, ratcheting triplets and rolls, detuned leads and the laddering resonance on the filter sweeps are tightly organised, but they feel like they’re collapsing in real time. When we’re given a reprieve after three minutes, it’s like dust settling after a supernova.
“T69 Collapse” hits a sweet spot that will please Aphex fans. It’s almost like a best-of retrospective condensed into five minutes. While some of its ideas are familiar, the power to shock is still there. It may not warrant weeks of headline news and a momentous build-up of anticipation, but it’s a relief that, when the time comes, Aphex’s music can still do the talking.