First Impressions: Flume, Tkay Maidza And Sampha

Written By the interns on 05/24/2016


First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by Martin Solveig, Sampha, Theophilus London, Seramic, YG and Flume.

Tkay Maidza & Martin Solveig
Do It Right

Harrison Kefford: And just like that Martin Solveig has won me back. Collaborating with one of our own in Tkay, damn could this collab get any bigger. The sound design grows on you, and from a dance music perspective Solveig has produced a summertime banger. 3.5

Alistair Rhodes: Tkay is all over everything these days, whether it’s her own stuff or featuring on other producer’s work and she’s definitely doing it right. The song becomes quite catchy with the lyrics and then the drums and bells kick in and this dance number really gets you moving. I can see this number getting a big workout at those famous pool clubs over in vegas during the American summer. 3.8

James Schofield: Well fucking hell, that was boring. I throw shade at fans who don't demand more from dance music contemporarily, this is so weak and so phoned in. Spew. 2

Sean Singh: Tkay is an amazing artist in her own right, and Martin Solveig made that tennis song. But Tkay found her strength on character tracks produced by L.K. McKay and Swick, and she’s sidelined to token topline here rather than given the chance to exude her winning personality. This is great exposure but a waste of her talent. 2

Reece Hooker: I can say two nice things about Do It Right: firstly, it gives Tkay Maidza more exposure and that’s great because it’s impossible not to love her. Secondly, it also proves that Tkay has some skills outside of just rapping (which, for what it’s worth, she’s very good at). Sadly, that’s where the praise ends. Martin Solveig’s foray into tropical house will fill some sorrowful summer dancefloors in the other hemisphere, but it’s insipidly bland and makes even David Guetta seem like an experimental envelope pusher. 2

Sam Murphy: C’mon guys, we need to take this for what it is and that is a bit of fun. If this makes it onto commercial radio, which I think it should, I think it will actually sound pretty different to everything that’s on there at the moment. It’s bursting with personality and has a drop that I can’t help but smile at. It’s not going to change the world but as far as feel good tunes go, it’s bang on. 3.5

Average Score: 2.8

Timmy’s Prayer

Harrison: Lock this in a one of the biggest tracks of the month, the world and music is better with new Sampha in it. I think each and every person that listens to ‘Timmy’s Prayer’ will feel it differently and rightly so. Timmy’s Prayer encapsulates everything that is right and good about storytelling through music. Harrison’s Pick

Alistair: This would have to be the first I’ve heard of Sampha and his voice just blew me away. This isn’t exactly my type of music but I can appreciate a good artist and singer when I come across one. I really like the fast paced yet soothing backing track. Sampha has a bright future in the music industry. 3.5

 James: Okay, but shut up because I've been waiting for new solo Sampha to drop since he released Too Much/Happens a couple years back. This track doesn't disappoint, no, no it does not. It's sickly sweet, it charms my heart. I love this song, but I adore Sampha. 4.5

Sean: Sampha is one of those vocalists you can listen to for days on end without ever getting bored. The chase sequence partway through is worth listening through, this is beautiful. Imagine a track with Sampha and Frank Ocean…. 4 Sean's Pick

Reece: Sampha is one of pop’s most divine voices and Timmy’s Prayer is a timely reminder. This track starts a little slowly but builds brilliantly to pounding conclusion. It lacks the emotional punch of some of his more stripped back work, but it’s an effective demonstration of Sampha’s vast reserves of talent.  3.5

Sam: This finds the same beauty in space as most of the tracks on James Blake’s The Colour In Anything do. Sampha takes his time and slowly unfurls some of my favourite vocal work this year. The final minute and a half is a sprawling, sparkly triumph and prove to me that Sampha has so much to give. I didn’t expect to be excited about him in 2016 but I am. 4

Average Score: 4.1

Theophilus London

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Harrison: For real though, how can you not love this dude. It may not be much, but i still vibe the hell out of his collaboration with Bromance don Brodinski Gimme Back The Night. Stay has got this real Anderson .Paak feel to it, which mean it is rightly deserving of its place among this week’s First Impressions. 3.5

Alistair: For me this is Aderson. Paak meets N.E.R.D with a retro video game backing track. At first I really wasn’t sure about it but the more I listen to it the more I’m starting to like this song. 3

James: I don't feel all that comfortable with these Anderson .Paak comparisons given how long Theo has been doing his thing, but each to their own. I don't hear anybody but Theo on this track. Still doesn't make me like it any better, sadly. Not much to it, continues Theo’s trend of being a hit and miss artist. This is a miss. 2

Sean: Alistair’s comparison of Anderson .Paak meeting N.E.R.D. is pretty interesting, but I think it’s more Theophilus meets The Neptunes. I feel the groove, but it doesn’t really catch me. 2.5

Reece: Theophilus London is a talented guy who has carved out his own distinct sound and personality. HIs music smacks of a sophisticated, restrained flamboyance and ‘STAY’ captures that well. The first thirty seconds threaten us with a great track, sounding instantly groovy and then…nothing happens. The beat stagnates, the song never progresses and we peter out to a dissatisfying end. It’s a real shame, those bongos lurking under the beat are really nifty but it’s just not enough to make this exciting 2.5

Sam: I love Theophilus London. Everything he makes has such a distinct vibe to it - neon-drenched synths with a side of melancholy and a lot of cockiness. From the opening synths of STAY it’s pretty clear that it’s London’s work and yet it still feels like he’s grown since his last record Vibes. It sounds futuristic and that’s a really hard thing to pull of in 2016 when “futuristic” is purely a buzz-word thrown around incorrectly far too often. 4

Average Score: 2.9

Why You Always Hatin’ (Feat. Drake and Kamaiyah)

Harrison: Maybe it is just me, but does this sound similar to R.I.P by Young Jeezy feat. 2 Chainz? Well, at least the beat does. I'm not a huge fan of hip hop and rap, but the one thing that saves ‘Why You Always Hatin’ is it featuring Drake (even then, not a huge fan Drake). 3

Alistair: I usually don’t mind my rap music. This just bores the shit out of me to be honest. I’m getting a early 2000s vibe from it. Not a fan at all! 1

James: Unlike the previous two lads, I'm a long time rap devotee. Having said that, I typically don't think very much of YG as an artist, save for few exceptions. This track, undoubtedly, is one of those few exceptions. Yes, it's safely wrapped in a bow with one of Drake’s strongest guest verses of all time, but I actually fuck with this beat too. And I like Kamaiyah’s sound. Plus, I can use this as an anthem while I flip the bird to all the fakes. So fuck the haters, jah feel? 4.5

Sean: Mustard on the beat (hoe) but I’m getting just as much of a subdued The Cataracs vibe. This is tag teaming rapping at its most boring. I feel like I’ve heard this song before, and I already skipped it. 2

Reece: YG and DJ Mustard link up again on a track that doesn’t reach the heights of their finer work, but is still serviceably gritty. The Drake feature commands the most attention but I feel it drags the song down - the rhyme scheme is as basic as it gets and Drake sounds like he’s dozing off in the booth. It’s a shame the verse didn’t go to Kamaiyah, your next favourite rapper, who shows up for the hook but I’m still glad to see her getting some shine. 3.5

Sam: I’ve been waxing lyrical about Kamaiyah all year but I did not expect for her to be jumping on a track with big guns so soon. Why You Hatin? actually sounds like it was inspired by the synth-work on Kamaiyah’s mixtape and as such, it’s a shame they didn’t give her more to do. Drake steals the show here and he shouldn’t. YG brought it on Twist My Fingaz and he shouldn’t be letting other rappers run away with the crown so close to an album release. 3

Average Score: 2.8


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Harrison: Soulful, raw and damn powerful. Seramic has stamped himself a certified tune of the month in Found. Do yourself a favour, listen to it, Found pretty much speaks for itself. 4.5

Alistair: At the start I was really wondering where this song was going to go and when it was going to pick up and then BANG at the 57 second mark it all kicks off. This has solid raw production behind great singing, what more do you want from a song. 4

James: Got an M83 vibe early, with it giving soundtrack feelings. Then it transformed in to something I can really get behind, that sort of song that makes you grab the shower head and thrust your hand up to the sky whilst smiling. You don't even know the words, and you're nude, but it doesn't matter. It conveys a grandiose feeling with its vocals, and the bold beat matches it extraordinarily well. Altogether just a tremendously well put together song. 4.5

Reece: There’s something so satisfying about a chorus that rockets skyward and then slams back down like a thunderbolt. Seramic strikes gold with a big hook and some pulled back verses, gifting us with a true genre-bender: It rocks, it pops, it even ropes in a bit of gospel. A stunning entry from the Englishman that’s sure to put him on everyone’s radar. 4.5 Reece’s pick

Sean: One of the comments on this track says, “It’s like hipster gospel” and I’m going to go with that. I love the gospel choir, I love the production, it’s well-crafted enough that each element is given the amount of space it needs to really shine off. 4

Sam: Waiting was enough for me to really hedge my bets on Seramic but this makes me even more excited. The ambition of delivering a chorus that hits as hard as this one is so impressive for a young act and then he impresses even more with a vocal that soars over one hearty choir. It’s odd, unpredictable and grows bigger than I ever could’ve expected at the beginning. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Average Score: 4.3

Lose It (Feat. Vic Mensa)

Lose It will be released on Skin this Friday via Future Classic.

Harrison: Ok, I may be in alone sharing this view of Skin, but thus far Flume hasn't done a lot to warrant my excitement. But hey, music is subjective and i am more then open to changing my opinion when the album drops later this week. But, Lose It takes us back to the good ol’ days (circa 2013) of glorious Flume synths, and i mean - it features Vic (freaking) Mensa. 4

Alistair: Flume’s highly anticipated sophomore album Skin gets officially released later this week and right before it does we have been granted with yet another single. Lose It came about when Flume teamed up with Vic Mensa back in 2015 while he was out here for that years St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival. What a great collab. This is quite different from Flume and you can really get a sense of what he is trying to do with this album, he is showcasing his many production talents by having a wide range of songs on the album. Mensa really makes this song and I can’t help but lose it! 4.8 Alistair’s Pick

James: Vic Mensa has been my spirit animal since he was buried in the SAVEMONEY crew and churning out stuff like Innanetape. Then he took a new, even better direction and we became akin to soul mates. Honestly, I'm a huge Flume fan but when I saw Vic on that tracklist I was immediately hyped. I certainly didn't expect this though. Anyone who hasn't heard something to get excited about from Flume’s album thus far isn't paying enough attention, I've seen something for everyone, and everything for someone. This particular cut is my favourite though, thus far, to the point where I have decline the opportunity to describe it further musically. Just listen to this track. It has anthem potential. Educate thyself according to the gospel of Vic, and learn that thy name is chaos. Go a bit mental, fucking lose it. Whatever, man. Fight me. 5 James' Pick

Reece: Oh boy, Lose It is bonkers. I mean, there’s a pacey build, we have an off-kilter drop, Vic Mensa’s howls just wash all through the track and the entire song feels like it’s warping in real time. Every listen unravels a new subtlety - Vic’s melodic twinge on the bridge, the barrel click, the wonderfully simple piano keys. Lose It is a chaotic, overwhelming listen to begin with, but with persistence it becomes one of Flume’s most well-balanced and thrilling tracks. 4

Sean: Vic Mensa is great, let’s never doubt that. But Flume is one of the most vanilla artists around and this pairing straight up doesn’t work. It’s as though he listened to a HudMo track and thought, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll try that’, but just couldn’t nail it. And he just doesn’t have the personality to hold his own with Vic. Skip. 2

Sam: I have to agree with Sean. Vic Mensa is the saving grace on this song but everything Flume is doing is failing to grab my attention at the moment. No doubt, he was an innovator with his debut album and informed a lot of the sounds that circled international electronic scenes but every track off Skin so far feels as if he’s delivering the same over and over. Mensa is really impressive but I just can’t get past the cut and paste instrumental. 2.5

Average Score: 3.7

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