Kali Uchis - Isolation

“Life is like sex. Sometimes you have to change your position.”

This evocative quote comes from femme fatale Kali Uchis in light of her debut album Isolation. The long-anticipated album named Best New Music by Pitchfork was well worth the wait.

While Kali’s debut EP Por Vida gifted us listeners a cotton-candy sweet first impression of the Colombian-American force of nature, Isolation introduces us to a whole new, incendiary side to her.

Isolation’s inviting introduction entitled “Body Language” and produced by the iconic Thundercat coaxes us to come along for the ride. I would follow Kali and this bossa nova track wherever they may go.

The following track “Miami” featuring BIA lets Kali tell it like it is:

“I ain’t here to be cute, I ain’t here to impress

You know why I’m calling, I’m here to collect

He said he’d want me in his video like Bound 1

By why would I be Kim? I could be Kanye

In the land of opportunity and palm trees”

“Miami” depicts the female struggle in lieu of chasing the American dream, but remains a message of female empowerment in being one’s own boss mentally and physically. Hell hath no fire like a socially aware and revolutionary woman.

The following track “Just A Stranger” continues to break the mold of the confines society places women in as Kali paints the portrait of a strong and careless woman. This upbeat song marks her second collaboration with The Internet’s Steve Lacy (following past single “Only Girl”), and yet again, these two create an amazing sound and energy together.

 

Kali has revealed that Isolation is “dedicated to the people who feel trapped in their position, in hopes that the music will enable [them] to change it.” Complete with complex themes of self-reliance throughout the album, she remains a strong proponent of internal emancipation in the face of external adversity. She sees her music as the score for her life, capable of controlling her environment and changing the entire mood of an experience.

Isolation seems to be the reparations of a grudge match of sorts not only between Kali and her antagonists, but also between Kali’s past self and present self. She wrestles with her independence, but each song elicits a breath of resolution. For example, “After the Storm”

featuring the legendary Bootsy Collins and longtime collaborator and friend Tyler, the Creator reveals the potential of pure autonomy:

“So if you need a hero (if you need a hero)

Just look in the mirror (just look in the mirror)

No one’s gonna save you now

So you better save yourself”

The impressive amount of collaborations on this album alone have me starry eyed, including Jorja Smith, BADBADNOTGOOD, Damon Albarn of Gorillaz and more.

We as listeners get to know exactly who Kali Uchis is. Her every essence influences each track seamlessly. I greatly appreciate an artist who pays homage to his or her roots despite being thrust into an entirely new culture for their work. The album features a song fully sung in Spanish (“Nuestra Planeta” featuring Reykon) in addition to several songs containing Spanish ad-libs.

In many ways, Isolation is the kind of album an artist makes just for himself or herself; however, it perpetuates extremely personal, yet universally relatable emotions and perspectives. The versatility of Isolation solidifies Kali’s reputation as a well-rounded, multi-talented artist. Her personal and contemporary take on a retro, vintage sound awards her a genre of her own. She has proven herself ready, willing, and deserving of the spotlight.

You can listen to Kali Uchi’ new album Isolation on Apple Music, Spotify and Soundcloud Go+.

 

Clams.Wav - DROWN

Who knew that Poseidon resided in Arkansas? Well, we at The Snake’s Nest do, and with this new EP release from Clams.Wav, you will soon know. Coming with his most recent project, DROWN, Clams.Wav delivers a hard-hitting, aquatic and demonic release that makes you feel you’ve been transported to Davy Jones’ Locker with a whole lot of bass and dark tones.

DROWN starts off with a track titled Sink Or Swim, featuring production credits from Slim Lxtus and Prxphet. It starts off melodic, and makes you feel as if you are undergoing being submerged in the ocean. Clams.Wav delivers a melancholic flow, that is eerie in delivery as well as lyricism. With bars saying things such as “Underwater, had to get away,” and “I flipped the boat, now you feeling the wave”, really transport one to being at sea and being swept under the almighty force that is the ocean.

Going into Numb//Carvings, produced by Dezi, the album slows down a bit, but Clams.Wav delivers his trademark flow, but picks up the pace on his part. This track really highlights using a slower instrumental with a faster flow, and does it exceptionally well. There’s even melodic singing to accompany the faster flow, which gives the track a unique style that sticks out within the tape.

Walk the Plank, featuring Prxphet, is simply put, a banger. The distorted bass, with the destructive flows of both Clams.Wav and Prxphet makes this track really stand out, especially with how they switch back and forth between their deliveries and makes it seem like you’re truly at the bottom of the ocean, face to face with Poseidon. This track just really damn rules, and it’s one that you need to check out regardless. I really love the speedboat references in this track.

On Sight, produced by Still, is the lead single for the DROWN project, with Clams.Wav telling you to pull up on sight. You really think you gonna pull up on Poseidon like that underwater? This track works so well within the project, I love it. Clams.Wav absolutely kills it on this track, making you fearful of him, while also conveying that he don’t give a hoot who you are. This track makes me feel fearless, and able to conquer anything and everything.

Wealth is the fifth track on DROWN, and features Reno artists, Theonly1197 (who also produced the track and Lil Traffic. To put it lightly, they all kill it. Clams.Wav even has a slowed down, chopped and screwed-ish vocal part on the song that adds to the melancholy, eerieness of the album. Transitioning into Theonly1197’s part, it’s slower that what you may expect from him, but it works as within the context of the album, it just comes off genuine and cataclysmic. Lil Traffic has his trademark delivery on the track, that gives a brighter, fresh flow on the album that may not have been featured on the album due to the dark, cataclysmic vibe that comes off this album. And those are both good, actually great things.

DROWN finishes up with Wavy, produced by Still and features Mana. I absolutely love the seagull sample on this track. Makes the listener feel as if they’ve been washed ashore, as well with the beat making it seem hopeful that one was able to escape the fate they reached at the start of the project by being swept underneath the waves. Mana kills it on the track as well to follow up the first verse from Clams.Wav, and to anyone who thinks Mana sounds like Ghostemane or the $uicideboy$, take a listen to this track. You shouldn’t still think that. Mana sounds like Mana. And it’s a great touch to finish off DROWN.

In short, DROWN is a very cohesive project that truly shines light on Clams.Wav’s style and personality, all while delivering music that seems as if you’re at the bottom of the ocean. With strong features from his fellow Plush Life members Lil Traffic and Theonly1197, as well as from Mana and Mavo, this is a project you surely don’t want to miss. If you’re interested in knowing more about Clams.Wav, you can catch his interview with The Snake’s Nest happening live this month here on WolfPackRadio.org.

You can check out ‘DROWN’ by Clams.Wav here:

Rival Consoles - Persona

A volley of treated drum snippets and analog keyboard bleeps roll out the inception of Leicester-based producer Ryan Lee West’s, better known under the moniker Rival Consoles, fourth album Persona. With the Rival Consoles alias serving up some of electronic music’s most disciplined albeit footloose mixes for a decade now, West’s operandi remains vigilant to its overcast four-on-the-floor foundations and foggy synthesizer varnish. Speaking to PopMatters days before the release of Persona, West issued his clarification: “I basically allow an amount of naivety of the playing aspect of electronic music. I think it’s all to do with being surprised and listening rather than owning a talent to such an extent that you can’t be surprised.” To some degree, West is bestowing color onto a doleful world, flushing an otherwise bleak palette with hints of vivacity.
For final products as densely workable, even moving, as Rival Consoles’ subterranean dancefloor edits would beg you to explore and disassociate with, naïvety exceeds the stern beauty of Persona’s visceral anatomy. Electronic music, with its totality of opportunities in sonic conceptions and experimentation, has assumed a headroom of scholarly instinct and the value of order in recent years. In hindsight, poignant modern classics like Tim Hecker’s haunting Virgins and Floating Points’ Eleania removed the glossy sheen of FM electronica and replaced tonality with blurry, almost otherworldly textures and stringent beatwork. West is no stranger to making even the most divergent of ends meet, with 2015’s Howl positing itself in the midst of this burgeoning trend, but his formula’s lingering effect finally resonates as a universal energy, one that anyone can dissect and embrace.
From the ghostlike sine wave melodies of “Dreamer’s Wake” to the bleary immediacy of “Phantom Grip,” it’s evident West is shunning the pursuit for hitmaking. At their base, most compositions attempt to nail down a specific atmosphere, but West’s dominating method of manipulating his beat’s voices and rhythms prove a compelling challenge—it shapes a resistance that inevitably renders a track’s direction defenseless against the gambit of tricks and treatments in his arsenal. Under these inconstant parameters, West ensures chaos is distant from the integrity of his mixes. The progression of “Sun’s Abandon” plunges from an isolated, hearty synth loop into a primal drum machine exercise in not even two minutes’ time, until the residue of both fundamentals intertwines and compliment one another. Likewise, the jumbled synths of “I Think So” anchor the forthcoming haze of glazed keyboards and climactic percussive rhythms. These productions never meander far from their original point, but tracing these masterpieces from start to finish remains a sort of fascinating drill for the listener to partake.
Persona isn’t an album of ostentatious performances and self-serving procedures on display—even if the kick drum takes pride in its punchiness or the stray keyboard soloist crosses the threshold into standalone glory. These are the inverse traits of the persona West conveys throughout the album; on opposite sides are the withdrawn and amorphous edge of one’s introverted character versus the anthemic outbursts of extroversion. “Rest” adheres to this concept entirely. The prominent synthesizer melody barely rises above a murmur, only to be overtaken by a salvo of claps and keyboard gleams. On the contrary, consistently suppressed numbers like “Be Kind” and the promising “Untravel” showcase West’s visualization for one particular edge of the persona. These shakeups in the formula don’t equate to anything medial or paint West as a producer who’s just scraping by. There is an unmistakable feeling West champions throughout, and his vocalizations are best transmitted through these meandering products.

In his PopMatters feature, West admits of fearing misinterpretation with Persona’s dual nature: “My worry about the title was that it was too pretentious but actually I think that’s because a lot of the time that’s because words like this get ruined.” Luckily, with the seamless methods at play within these twelve tracks, as well as West’s notional dedication, Persona not only augments the sprawling discography of his Rival Consoles project, but tacks on the ability for the moniker to enfold a concept and sustain its purpose for a full-length setting. Persona is a success not measured by the seismic shock of its sound or its potential for mainstream appreciation, but its beatific and beautifying compound. Only in his next endeavor will West potentially deliver another gratifying work like his latest effort—otherwise, Persona will sit in well for this newly-sprung generation of electronic fans.
You can check our Rival Consoles’ new album, ‘Persona’ on Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube. And be sure to check our Rival Consoles on Bandcamp and Rival Consoles’ website.