From the dance floor to the ocean
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This month, check out some new music from LGBTQ artists including Lotic, Oscar and the Wolf, Cakes da Killa and Proper Villains.
A booming soprano, piano and harps. Loops of electronic noise and metallic clicks. Lotic’s second album, “Water”, straddles the thin line between the beautiful and the ugly. She creates polyrhythms and new timbres with juxtapositions which, if done without much care and skill, could lead to sheer chaos. Pretty melodies jostle with percussive strummings. “Wet” starts off nicely, with opera vocals, but halfway through the whole song it gets more and more distorted. A rumble like a distant construction site is getting louder and louder.
Lotic dates back to both classical music and the industrialist of the early 1980s, when metal drums were a staple of the genre. “Emergency” brings together breathy voices, a sudden surge of electronics and fractured percussions. “Come Unto Us” opens with a cry of horns. The production is clear, leaving each element its own place in the mix. All layers are carefully defined. While Lotic’s voice sounds open and vulnerable, his production relies on a solid backbone of noise.
Classical music and opera have become inspirations for adventurous independent artists like Circuit des Yeux and Lignua Ignota, and “Water” has certain elements in common with their music. (For all, the late Scott Walker lurks in the background.) But the melodramatic rush associated with opera singers is traded for much more elusive emotions. The mix of noise and prettiness in Lotic’s music suggests the difficulty of maintaining peace of mind in a brutal world, as his melodic elements threaten to be crushed over and over again. But they also persist – the album never gives in to raw aggression. The human element always persists next to the machine. (The album’s opening sound is a heartbeat, generated by a bass drum.) Lotic has improved since his debut album “Power”, in 2018, making it one of the best and fastest albums ever. most inventive this year. Something big is about to come out of the water.
“The Shimmer” of Oscar and the Wolf
If you’re an American pop fan, you’ve probably never heard of Oscar and the Wolf, but the Belgian singer, real name Max Colombia, is a star in Europe and the Middle East. His third album, “The Shimmer” offers bright and comfortable music. Although it was released in October, it’s no wonder that the videos for “Livestream” and “Oliver”, shot last summer, show Oscar and the Wolf lounging with women around a pool and dancing. in a field. The vibe is similar to “Lights Up” or “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles.
But the production of Oscar and the Wolf is both overtly clever and inexpensive. The sequencing of his album buries his best, most energetic songs in the middle. “The Shimmer” is filled with digital clones of the closed snare drum that Phil Collins popularized in the early ’80s, but they don’t have a crunch. Her music becomes more and more compelling as she moves away from cookie-cutter niches, but the album is too laid back for its own good. “Livestream”, which opens and closes with a simulation of a warped tape and straddles a monstrous synth hook, is the only real stand-out. The soft instrumental “The PIC” suggests the early Talk Talks playing smooth jazz. Continuing in the same vein, the title song is a ballad that ends the album by taking five minutes to gradually disappear. If “The Shimmer” refers to the alien presence in Jeff VanDerMark’s novel “Annihiliation” (and Alex Garland’s film adaptation), the song’s warm approach keeps the emotion at bay.
“Muvaworld Vol. 2” by Cakes da Killa and Proper Villains
In the world of Cakes da Killa, the dance floor is not a safe space. The gay rapper’s music suggests ultimate triumph without ignoring the outside world. The first line and chorus of his opening track is “It’s For Fags,” acknowledging both bigotry and claiming insult as a mark of community. (Look at the song’s title, “Stoggaf,” backwards.) His series of eps, now in its third installment, with producer Proper Villains brings the fleeting subgenre of hip-house to life. While its heyday of the late ’80s produced a few highlights (Come Into My House by lesbian rapper Queen Latifah, “I’ll House You” by the Jungle Brothers), rapping to house music has become a gadget that has become popular. is quickly faded. Unfortunately, much of its evanescence had nothing to do with music. As hip-hop grew more macho and drifted away from its roots as dance music, rappers didn’t want to engage in a genre created by gay men. At the time, Chuck D. of Public Enemy was criticizing house music in explicitly homophobic terms.
Cakes da Killa brings the harshness of hip-hop to the rhythms of house music. “What’s the World” begins with his voice on bass drums. The fact that it is much faster than contemporary rap contributes to an aggressive sound. He’s as outspoken about sex as his straight counterparts. “Taste Test” borrows a metaphor from Lil Kim’s “How Many Licks” – it’s not his culinary hobby. Like a DJ set, the final track “Spinning” slows down the rhythm and allows us to come out on a benevolent note. Cakes reduces his voice to an ASMR whisper, while singer Sam Sparro sings about being “lost in a dance”.
Cakes da Killa is one of the most talented LGBTQ rappers to ever bless the mic. But it only has one song with over a million Spotify streams. Alas, he worked hard for years with little recognition. Even an appearance on the 2019 Netflix competitive show “Rhythm & Flow” didn’t help him much; despite his background, the judges treated him as a novelty act who just started rapping. Getting a major cast ten years after her first mixtape should have been an event. Instead, Warner Music gave away “Muvaworld Vol. 2 “zero promotion.