Eki Shola: Possible (self-released, 2019)

February 23, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Eki Shola: Possible

Eki Shola’s second album, the first of a trilogy titled Pieces, is a vast step beyond her 2016 debut. While Final Beginning was a bit more easily identifiable as jazz, Possible is at least as much of an abstract electronic and future soul album. Ultimately, all of these categories are irrelevant; this music is all about fearless creative expression. And she has a lot to express here — her house was destroyed in the 2017 California wildfires. Despite such tragedy, her music is about healing and moving forward rather than grief or anger. As for the music itself, it’s a refreshing blend of detailed beats, soothing synths, and unconventional vocals (she’s not afraid to contort her voice with alien effects, or even run it backwards). The closest immediate comparisons I can think of might be Pursuit Grooves or Georgia Anne Muldrow, and even then mostly just because of how different and creative this music is rather than how it actually sounds. “Butterfly” is the immediate standout, with daydreaming vocals and lightly swirling bass. “December Glow” is more of a daydreamy trip-hop number, and “Four Letter Word” is a more lyrical neo-soul song with a bumping beat. “Can’t Breathe” hints at a bit of panic but it smooths itself out soon enough. “Looped” is one of the most out-there tracks, with a weird froglike noise throughout and trippy vocals which drift away. A post-dubstep/wonky influence threads throughout some of the beats, with “Beat of Life” mixing glitches and wobbly bass with jazzy keyboards, and “Suspension of Life” blipping partially backwards over relaxed keyboards. The song also houses motivational words from Eki, continuing with a thread started on “One”.

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