Tuesday, 24 December 2019

FKA Twiggs "Magdalene" (2019)

After a period of relative inactivity, FKA Twiggs returns with a monumental sophomore album. If I had more time with Magdalene, it could of well been my album of the year. Its a deep and dense record, the instrumentals revel in the Avant-Garde. Ambiguous synthetic noises and percussive abstractions forge beautiful songs through unconvention. Every spin yields magic yet each listen feels like I'm scratching at the surface. Some records are just like this, they let you know you'll be coming back for times to come and maybe one day all there secrets will be unearthed.

Of what I remember, Twiggs had a stunning voice and bags of talent but this time around her vocal articulation feels utterly exceptional. Commanding her chords like a truely classic singer, she is pitch perfect with this undeniable resonance of emotional meaning and outpour. Every note, word, inflection and gasping of her breath feels like an artistic vision manifested. The reverberations and sound design simply further expand her sweet but yet very vulnerable presence at the forefront.

That open wound is felt in her voice but more so in the words of this record which have a strong undercurrent of tragedy, heartbreak and loss bleeding into the moody, reflective atmospheres. The ranges she reaches with the emotive direction is sublime, particularly on the song Fallen Alien, the albums true crescendo. Across these nine songs, everything from these soaring peaks to breathy and ASMR alike voicings has Twiggs giving a remarkable performance that you wont be capable of forgetting.

The albums pacing and tempo is suspended in a limbo. Many of the songs feel like they are leading to something that never comes to fruition but that is simply its point. As a listener you are dangling in this ambiguous space, painted with an ambience that resists obvious melody. Even percussion is drawn to its minimal essential, dressed in echos and shadows. It does finds strides and musters growth on many occasions though, the pairing of Mary Magdalene and Fallen Alien is so satisfying as its brooding of one track bleeds into the next, erupting with claustrophobic climax.

The record does have a hitch with one track. Future turns up for a feature and his Mumble Rap autotune inflections and Trap beat dominates the vibe. It breaks up the flow and feels out of place. Other than that one hiccup, Magdalene feels like a complete experience, an artistic expression that's been meticulously orchestrated. Twiggs will mesmerize with her swaying voice and suck you in to this tender space that you can't look away from. I'm excited to know that this album is far from over, I feel like I'll still be discovering it again and again for years to come. Its magic!

Favorite Tracks: Home With You, Sad Day, Mary Magdalene, Fallen Alien, Daybed
Rating: 9/10