Track Report #2: Children of the Sun, Kijani Eshe, BLVCK SPVDE

Welcome to the Track Report, where I showcase three fresh St Louis cuts for your information and enjoyment. I have some really exciting songs to share and you can listen to all of them by clicking the box underneath each write-up, so let’s jump right in!

“Children of the Sun” by Children of the Sun

Children of the Sun is the new project from the highly prolific St Louis based Farfetched label. It is the result of a collaboration with Center for Third World Organizing and Smoke Signal Studios to form the cultural initiative Subvert Lab, enlisting the forces of Katarra Parson, Prophet, Poet X, Nephii Love, and Farfetched founder and producer Damon Davis to assemble the project’s lineup. Their first single is presented in the old school format of having the same name for the artist, track and album, implying an intention to present a mission statement. “Children of the Sun” is short in length but jam packed with content. The production is astounding, with a short sample opening way to a heavily stacked line of percussion, understated keyboard pads and a solo guitar. All of these elements blend together confidently to bed Katarra Parson’s beautifully harmonized vocal hook clad in themes of empowerment, heritage and pride for people of color. The single takes a drastic turn into a filtered beat to accompany a spoken word poem by Nephii Love that is both fierce and spiritual in its message of self-love, community and retaliation to the systems of the world. A return to vocal melodies brings the song out into an instrumental outro that is as rhythmically infectious as it is dramatic and poignant– a time to internalize what has been witnessed. The relentless nature, stimulating production and stellar performance of this single has me beyond excited to see what this upcoming Children of the Sun release will sound like, and if you haven’t listened to it I hope you do so as soon as you can.

“Chaos Theory” by Kijani Eshe

Kijani Eshe is back with a new track to follow their newest release, which I had the chance to report on earlier in the month. “Chaos Theory” comes through as less dramatic and more playful than some of the material on “St Louis Is For Lovers” while maintaining similar themes and textures. The production hits the spot and preserves Kijani’s intention for stark contrast between rhythmic elements and the chords and melodies atop– the playful synths that start the song up are bombarded by huge percussion as soon as the vocal melody gets in gear for a liberating sonic effect. As always Kijani’s melodies are strong and appealing, borrowing from R&B tropes while keeping the distinct subdued personality that made their earlier release so contagious and automatically enticing. Later on in the track percussive noises take the syncopation to a new level leaving me with the urge to bop my head along and feel out every single subdivision. The arrangement helps the track breath a lot; drums drop in and out with class to neatly denote sections and keep us interested. If anything, this new song is further proof that we should all be paying close attention to what this new artist is up to. I’ve had this one stuck in my head for a while, and I believe you will as well– hopefully we’ll hear more material from this exciting new project soon.

“Something In The End” (feat. Iman Omari) by BLVCK SPVDE

BLVCK SPVDE is a powerhouse of St Louis hip hop and R&B. Their work is subversive and forward thinking, and this breakout single featuring Iman Omari on both composition and performance for their upcoming release “Blvck Spvde And The Svmthngz n Nvthngz Sessions” is no exception. It relies on understated production based on short looping samples, spotlighted hand claps (see single cover), a minimal kick and snare pattern, and various other subdued elements that wander in and out to keep interest. The strength of the production is key to the track considering its massive length of 7 minutes, but momentum is also kept through interweaving stream of consciousness vocal performances from both artists that slightly reference the disjointed and abstract nature of R&B singers such as D’Angelo. These vocal passages are highly emotional and tactfully conscious; the tagline “what does it really mean?” subtly builds in intensity throughout the length of the tune to preserve a loose thread that keeps it together. Iman Omari takes over a section towards the end, where their vocals are brought to life by gorgeous synthetic harmonies for a refreshing and subtle change of pace. It’s a hypnotizing song that inspires multiple listens despite its length thanks to its experimental yet relatable sound filled with elements to discover. The Bandcamp page also shows an Iman Omari produced videoclip that gives a glimpse into the production process through tactfully presented shots of the artist at work. Hearing a 7 minute first single that keeps its footing with such elegance has effectively furthered my curiosity, and I can’t wait to see what BLVCK SPVDE has in store for their sophomore album.

Thank you for reading! Make sure to give these songs a listen and visit the artists’ sites for more music and information. I will see you on the next Track Report.

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