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First Impressions: SBTRKT, Kiesza, Flight Facilities + more

Written By Bianca Bosso on 09/15/2014

FI_15Sept

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the week passed, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week.

SBTRKT- Voices In My Head (Feat. A$AP Ferg and Warpaint)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/sbtrkt/sbtrkt-voices-in-my-head-ft-asap-ferg[/soundcloud]

Sam: I was really worried when I heard Temporary View that SBTRKT was going to be offering up the same ol’ thing but how wrong I was. Everything since that track has been out-of-the-box, bordering on bizarre. A$AP’s rap over SBTRKT’s jazz-infused beat sits somewhere between Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar. It shouldn’t work, but my goodness, does it. 4

Lizzie: This track is very muddled and maddening – a real departure from what I am used to hearing from my beloved SBTRKT. Yes, it does emulate the “voices in my head” weirdly well, but it just doesn’t gel together well for me. A$AP is the only thing that cures my insanity when listening to this. 2

Bianca: Everything that SBTRKT has offered us from his new album has been so diverse and challenging to the norm. Once again, he has enlisted more talented counterparts to create something multi-faceted and weirdly wonderful. Elements of jazzy brass, combined with A$AP’s infectious spit of words and the piano solo finale create a jilted atmosphere, oscillating between confusion and calm. In essence, the environment of someone who actually is suffering from voices in their head. So so excited for Wonder Where We Land to land. 3.75 

Kiesza- No Enemies

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kiesza/kiesza-no-enemiesz[/soundcloud]

Sam: Lay on the bass, reference ‘90s rave and throw down a killer melody and you’ve got me hook, line and sinker. This track is all about the powerhouse verses with Kiesza shredding with the vocals. It’s all very of the moment and throwback at the same time isn’t it? 3

Lizzie: I could definitely see myself dragging my friends onto the dancefloor with No Enemies. The ’90s beats and killer vocals are a fresh sound, and the breakdown at the end provide an easy and effective recipe for you to let your hair down and party on into the night. 3.5

Bianca: Every now and then, I question whether certain songs from the past would be successful if they were released in this day and age. No Enemies, with its thumping bass, power keys and Kiesza belting it out on the vocals, is the perfect case of a ’90s track subbing quite nicely into modernity. The ’90s is currently the new ’80s and this gal is so on-trend right about now. 

Arca- Thievery

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/arca1000000/arca-thievery/[/soundcloud]

Sam: This guy’s already produced for Kanye West and FKA Twigs so he’s got some serious cred and you can tell why on this first offering from his debut, Xen. The dense tones of this one really anchor in your brain, with the only relief being those flighty synths that permeate the track. The ebbs and flows, where he layers on the intensity and then pairs it back is what makes Thievery as captivating as it is. 4

Lizzie: Thievery has a soul, not quite sure why or how but it exudes an electricity which gets right to the core. I am still undecided whether I actually like the song, but it had definitely caught my attention, and opened my eyes to a new artist, which is not usually my style or taste. 3.5

Bianca: While some parts of the track bring back memories of my initial, screechy violin lessons back in primary school, there are some really nice sonic elements to this. Mind-bending and totally manic, Thievery ignites a kind of angsty emotion but I’m not sure I’m ready for just yet. 2.5 

Flight Facilities- Two Bodies

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/flightfacilities/two-bodies-feat-emma-louise-extended-version[/soundcloud]

Sam: Flight Facilities have made a name for themselves making music that’s suited to a boutique hotel lobby, but a little more melodic and interesting. Two Bodies has that same low-key vibe to it but Emma Louise hops on to give this sensual, personal vocal that saves the track from mediocrity. 3

Lizzie: Claire de Lune proved to the world that Flight Facilities are the great at creating ethereal, floaty, ‘Chill Out Album’ tracks with a killer female vocalist. Two Bodies is yet another example of this trend that the Sydney duo seem to be keeping. Sadly, this just misses the mark a bit for me – pushing the ‘minimal’ envelope too far, creating a boring vibe more than anything else. 3

Bianca: Flight Facilities are electronic masters and always seem to create the perfect vibe for drinks on a balmy Summer’s afternoon. Two Bodies paints the same kind of picture for me although it feels as if I’ve had a few too many beers in this situation. Love the steady synth and Emma Louise’s saccharine vocals but it’s verging on too dreamy for me that I almost want to nod off to sleep. 

Kid Ink- Body Language (Feat. Usher & Tinashe)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kidinkofficial/kid-ink-body-language-ft-usher-tinashe[/soundcloud]

Sam: This is just a straight up hip-pop record with Usher delivering a silky vocal hook to give it some sort of commercial-sensibility. It’s got the same sort of beat we heard earlier this year on Chris Brown’s Loyal and will most likely have the clubs going up, with alcohol-fuelled punters convincing themselves they can rap (I include myself in this). I wish Tinashe’s part was more prominent. Even by just harmonising in the background she steals the show. 3.5

Lizzie: This threesome works in complete harmony, proving three is definitely not a crowd. Body Language is little hip-hop gem which is not too in your face, very infectious and sure to be a hit on Kiis FM. I am glad I got to hear it before it becomes tainted by the dreaded radio overplay. 3.5

Bianca: It’s bouncy, it’s radio-ready and it’s honestly a bit boring for my liking. The melody leaves a lot to be desired and Usher doesn’t bring as much to the table as I would’ve expected. If this were to come on in a club, my body language would read that I was in desperate need of another drink. 

Sam Tiba- Deguisement

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/bromancerecords/bromance17-sam-tiba-deguisement[/soundcloud]

Sam: This is so off-centring that you’re almost made to stick around until the end just so you can make sense of it all. It wafts in and out of pulsating beats, crescendoing strings and stirring keys, traversing between the mellow and the club-ready. At every moment, there’s something delicious for the ears whether it be the perky vocal sample or the fluctuating levels of intensity. A surprise winner for me this week. Flawless. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Lizzie: The start just grabs you instantly! It’s so jumpy and playful in all the right ways and weirdly, unlike Sam it made complete sense to me right off the bat. Tiba has struck gold here, producing a track which could be played almost anywhere and at anytime and provide the exact mood pick-me-up you need. 4 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: What a wonderful array of thumping beats, hand claps, synths and strings. There’s an element of Nintendo game in here, but it’s been squashed and stretched, muddled and mushed into an energetic, driving force that immediately hits you smack bang in the face. In a good way, of course. 4 Variety is the spice of life but unfortunately that’s not the case this week. Deguisement is also Bianca’s Pick