It is astonishing how differently music comes across depending on whether it is accompanied by images when you listen to it or not.
The first three times that I listened to “KOI”, which is the first track taken from Khalif Diouf’s eagerly anticipated debut album “Riot Boi” which is finally set to be released in autumn, I listened to the song without watching the corresponding video. A glaring flash of a song: the wobbling intro, the rap parts that hit you instantly, backed by electro-fanfares … and then you find yourself right in the middle of the chorus: “You wanna get to know me, wanna be my homie”, including high-pitched vocals and a merry-go-round-surround-sound. 3 minutes and 48 seconds worth of pop music with the license to make you feel dizzy.
“KOI” was produced by London-based producer Samuel Long aka SOPHIE, who will also be responsible for “Riot Boi” along with Evian Christ and Dubbel Dutch. Long is representative of a new sculptural guard of pop music. Just like he does with his productions for PC Music, he combines a crazy amount of different sounds and melodies for LE1F in order to grind them together and polish them until there is only one giant sticky mass left. Pop music at the edge of completely overloading the listener with stimuli. The crazy thing, however, is that as soon as you have managed to deal with the excessive amount of sensory stimulation, it all seems very natural and normal to you – it seems that intentional madness is also just one state among many others. Maybe that is just what Khalif Diouf is referring to with his line “I think we have a chemistry”.
The corresponding amazingly highly artificial video clip, which is designed as collage of hyper-fashion-statements by Simon Ward, accelerates the absorption of said chemicals into the blood stream to the fullest. Instead of having to compare your own comfort zone to the futuristic rap music of LE1F, you all of a sudden find yourself next to Diouf at the seaside, surrounded by cartoonish eyes and puckered lips, by swaying seaweed and a whole bunch of cuties who are dancing around – and at some point, naturally, a koi carp floats through the air.
Even though none of the above are as adorable as Diouf himself who wears his hair short and yellow, and the shirt of his funky beach outfit unbuttoned, matching the over-all cocky attitude of “KOI”.
The flirtatious boy who had first made the eyes at us four years ago with gum in his mouth in the clip to his outstanding track “Wut” has turned into a true player: extremely professional and seemingly having a lot less fun. It will be interesting to see how this role pans out for him over the course of a whole album – the single seems to promise a colourful grab bag of different things and surprises, even though this abundance of effects comes about at the expense of the sharpness and the way for instance a more straight-forward track like “Wut” was trenchant – being both a fantastic track and emblematic of the ease and liberating momentum that stems from a coming out.