FKA Twigs

fka-twigs

I have been very remiss as I have been listening to FKA Twigs for 4 years now (I was just looking at LP1 and was shocked to realise it was so long since it was released) and haven’t talked about it at all really. She pops up in a couple of posts but that’s all. I need to correct this omission as I think she is absolutely marvellous and I’ve played that album to death.

I have just checked and I have all her releases to vinyl except one that was limited to 500 copies and self released, which I might see if I can pick up at some point.  Let’s begin at the beginning with her first release, EP1.

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Originally self released in 2012 (I have the re-release from 2017) with a white label in a white sleeve on black vinyl and containing 4 tracks:

Tracklist

Weak Spot
Ache
Breathe
Hide

I actually heard the tracks off this after I heard the next three releases and I rather liked the whispered vocals of opener Weak Spot and the instrumentation behind it. She has a 1188422rather odd way of putting tracks together that is both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. The pipe effect on the vocal is really interesting as is the distorted melody on the verses. All the tracks have an interesting quirkiness about them, though not in a cute way, there’s a power about them from somebody who seems to be in control and  knows exactly what they are doing. I wish I had heard this first, it would have been a hell of an introduction to an brand new artist.

Below are 3 of the 4 tracks from this first EP, the last track is missing for some reason.

The next release was EP2, which had a picture on the cover this time and was released by the Young Turks record label. Well, no beating about the bush, it’s just amazing. There is something strangely unsettling about her music and that is what makes it so interesting.

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The visuals are generally rather odd which aligns with the music which is very listenable despite a definite strangeness underlying most tracks.

Tracklist

How’s That
Papi Pacify
Water Me
Ultraviolet

Then came the LP, which stuck with the theme by being titled LP1. This and what proceeded it is the work of  26-year-old (at the time, she’s about to turn 30) Tahliah Barnett, a dancer from Cheltenham whose previous brush with fame involved appearing in the videos for Do It Like a Dude and Price Tag by Jessie J.  There’s a very touching MOBO acceptance speech where she talks about being a backing dancer for WRETCH 32 on a previous year at the event, and creating a dance routine for a Lethal Bizzle video which was cut from the final version.

You may know a couple of Tricky albums, Pre-Millennium Tension and Angels with Dirty Faces, they are dark and brilliant, and LP1 seems to draw from and update the mood of those albums opening with choral singing that normally precedes a revelation in a horror movie where a poltergeist makes itself know by moving a cup or something, rather than an album full of electronic R&B slowjams, which is not necessarily the best description but it’s all I have.  She seems to have the ability to go a bit over the top with vocal acrobatics in a Whitney on speed sort of way, but doesn’t go there, instead choosing to reach where she wants to reach without singing every note in-between. Both Lights On and Two Weeks (after the delightfully creepy Preface) are stunning openers to and album that should find it difficult to continue after them but does, however, and this sounds bloody obvious, you have to listen. There are a lot of interesting things going on beneath the vocals and concentrating on the tracks rather than letting them wash over you really does reap rewards. I first heard the album when I put it on the turntable, sat down for about 40 minutes, stopping only to turn it over. I did nothing else, just sat and listened which is something many don’t do anymore.
 

Tracklist

A1 Preface
A2 Lights On
A3 Two Weeks
A4 Hours
A5 Pendulum
B1 Video Girl
B2 Numbers
B3 Closer
B4 Give Up
B5 Kicks
After the album was released to much critical acclaim, there was one more record (some MP3’s have been released since) and it has veered wildly from the previous naming convention by calling itself M3LL155X. This is the video that accompanied it, and just to be clear from the start, so there is absolutely no ambiguity, it is fecking brilliant. It’s long, but do try and watch it all, I realy think you’ll be glad you did:

Tracklist

A1 Figure 8
A2 I’m Your Doll
A3 In Time
B1 Glass & Patron
B2 Mothercreep

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FKA Twigs is a rare British talent who has a wonderful uniqueness, so much so that her music seems to be in a genre of its own at times. She writes all of her own material, produces her music and also creates all her visuals for her videos as well as directing some of them, and she is an amazing choreographer and dancer. The hard work she has put it shines through. Here she is at the 2014 MOBO awards with a stunning performance. I fail to see how anybody could fail to appreciate how incredibly talented this woman is, even if the music isn’t their thing, the talent is surely undeniable:

At Glastonbury:

And finally, For New Year’s Eve 2013, Young Turks threw a special party in Tulum, Mexico. Here, FKA twigs performs Hide amidst Mayan ruins.

 

One Comment

  1. Dave

    WOW….Very visual…Very haunting…Very interesting.
    I am am thinking ..Bjork, Tricky, Radiohead, PJ Harvey and loads more…but she has it in her own right.
    Cheers
    Dave

    Like

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