Which country pushes music forward more than any other? We just want to let that question hang there for a moment, without any of our input…then we want to introduce you to Aluna George, because this feels as fresh and inventive as anything you’ve heard in recent years.
OK, so the minimalism of James Blake is astonishingly lovely on occasion, or the dark broody shadows of Jamie Woon can make you feel equal parts fearful and addictive. You might recall that My Toys Like Me gave us the kind of tension in pop music that trip hop was never sweet enough for, unable to sit on your tongue long enough for easy digestion, whilst the more recent SXSW-stealing performances by Grimes are able to blend beauty with eerie hypnotism. However, with Aluna George we may just have found the best parts of all of these artists, syncing up to create something altogether more palatable and attractive.
This intriguing duo from St Albans, (real names, Aluna Francis and George Reid), combine to bring us a deadly combination that charms with upwardly-mobile four-beats over hooks and melodies that are as instantly accessible as any chart-ready RnB, or endearing, intelligent pop. Their whole sound is understated and experimental, smoothly locking onto your cerebral cortex and dancing it into submission.
Take a track like Double Sixes and you barely get a completed beat, yet it flows like hip hop and winds up into something as slick and as tightly produced as anything you’ve heard, although it magically has you questioning whether you’re listening to it backwards. This is some clever, next-level shit!
In fact their whole catalogue to date feels as fresh as defeating that difficult end-of-level boss and beginning the next stage in an unrecognisable world, asking more questions than it provides answers. The tune, Make No Mistake, ups the pace, but keeps the signature half-stomps and introduces a womping bassline like some kind of inner-ear tickle.
Double A-side single, We Are Chosen/Analyser, due out on May 2nd, shows off their slower, snake-charming 2-step, alongside a throbbing, feet-mover, yet both tracks warp and play with Aluna’s synthetic vocals in a way that balances the skillful trick of fucking about, whilst keeping one eye focused on making something of genuine quality.
None of the aforementioned tunes prepare you for their most accessible and stunning track to date, Disobey. You are immediately greeted with Aluna’s vocals, delivered as straight as anything Paper Crows could accomplish, hitting the same parts of the brain that Bjork massaged so successfully in years gone by. This is backed by George’s tinkering bleeps and popcorn synths, that shift the key changes up and down alongside her vocals, creating something as layered and satisfying as rain hitting your face on a warm summers day. It’s equal parts refreshment and escapism.
We’re often getting introduced to challenging music, (we often do our best to bring it to you here on The Recommender), but like any challenge we sometimes find that there are elements of songs that we have to overcome alongside those bits we love. With Aluna George you get accessibility and melody that allow the listener to not only instantly love it, but satisfyingly return to it time and again. It’s this sort of evolved music that will have a broader appeal and ultimately serve itself up to the wider public, making the industry re-focus and hopefully continue to push music forwards. Theirs is the kind of future-music that the UK should be proud of producing. (MB)
ALUNA GEORGE – DISOBEY
ALUNA GEORGE – BODY MUSIC
ALUNA GEORGE – ANALYSER