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November: 18 albums you need to hear this month

Month's listening sorted

  • Mixmag Crew
  • 7 November 2017
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Kelela 'Take Me Apart' (Warp Records)

Eighty seconds into Kelela’s debut LP ‘Take Me Apart’, the shimmering pads that opened proceedings drop out and lead track ‘Frontline’ explodes into life. Two strands of her voice wrap around each other with breathtaking power, as the track flips into an infectious club rhythm full of percussive whirrs and sharp snares. It sets the tone for the record, which bursts with textured atmospheres and danceable beats, all led by the unwavering might of Kelela’s lungs. The styles explored across the LP are diverse: ‘Blue Light’ is moody club scuzz, ‘Jupiter’ oozes through tender ambient, and ‘Truth Or Dare’ marries a stripped-back beat with some glossy synths. Above the production, each track is emotionally anchored by Kelela’s affecting, human lyricism. “I’m gonna prove you wrong,” she sings on ‘Bluff’, a 72- second interlude that packs immense feeling into its brief running time. At once both vulnerable and subversive, throughout the album she touches upon love, identity and the human condition. “It ain’t that deep,” she jibes about a one-night stand on ‘LMK’, taking a swipe at gendered relationship constructs, while ‘Turn To Dust’ drips with Björk-esque melancholy, and a silky pop hook dominates ‘Waitin’. Talk in the early stages of Kelela’s career often centred around what she brought to the futuristic productions of the likes of Arca, Jam City and Kingdom, whose names would be included in the track titles. On ‘Take Me Apart’, though, the titles stand alone: here, Kelela rightfully takes centre stage. Patrick Hinton

9/10

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