Record of the Week

FKA twigs “M3LL155X”-EP

Cover_FKA-twigs--M3LL155X-EP-FKA twigs
(Young Turks) 

It seems everyone has by now gotten quite accustomed to regular appearances of Katy Perry, Beyoncé and Lilly Allen in the yellow press – after all their music is to a sufficient degree mainstream, so that it seems sensible to assume that there is a certain overlap in those who consume chart-topping pop music and those who enjoy typical yellow press magazines like Bunte and Gala (if there is such thing as a typical audience who does that). It is even reasonable to assume that this overlap is rather large and it is also safe to say that you would be able to find Helene Fischer right there alongside Katy Perry in countless playlists.

It will take some getting used to seeing FKW twigs in said magazines – ever since Tahliah Barnett aka. FKA twigs has started dating “Twilight”-star Robert Pattinson the yellow press have shown an increasing interest in her persona, questioning the sincerity of FKA twigs’ intentions concerning her relationship with Robert Pattinson, who has only been let down by women (=Kristen Stewart) lately, accusing the avantgarde-R’nB-artist of using their being involved in order to promote her career.

Well it seems that the yellow press generally does not believe in true love, and I certainly do not believe that there is such thing as people who read those kinds of magazines and yet listen to FKW twigs. Her new EP “M3LL155X“ (Mellissa – which is twigs’ name for her creative feminine energy) is indeed still not designed to reach out to the mainstream. Sure, if you see her performances at for instance the Swedish Way Out West festival, and see her all dressed up in very sexy costumes, with dancers and Vogue-like moves and all, then you cannot help but think “wow, that’s very professional indeed!” – FKA twigs is a hard-working dancer/performer, you can tell from her body and her slightest movements. She’s certainly well prepared for the big stages and seems ready to pull out the big guns when it comes to her performances.

Her music, however, has little in common with the brand of fabricated and polished R’n’B for the masses as we know it by Beyoncé for example. FKA twigs is not interested in creating hymnal choruses and coloratura-vocals. Her version of R’n’B is fractured, broken and bend, twisted, starts out tenderly and ends up just the opposite. The bass is booming, yet no beat by Timbaland leads to the dance floor like clockwork. The five tracks that can be found on “ M3LL155X” are accompanied by sophisticated videos that illustrate the process of transformation of ideas in an intense and painful way. FKA twigs wants to create a synthesis of the arts and be a work of art herself. Tracks like “I’m Your Doll” and “In Time” might be more accessible than the material that can be found on “LP1” and “EP 1&2”, but only if you are familiar with these releases and so to speak acquainted with FKA twigs’ methods. To others the fragile mixture of hip hop, soul music, drum’n’bass may seem surreal, arcane, complicated. Twigs’ vocals are manifold – soft at times, whispering, ethereal, then suddenly very tough and precise – and the more I think about it, the more FKA twigs comes across as a revenant of Kate Bush with different means. Lets hope that twigs, as much as Kate Bush has, manages to keep her uncompromised artistic vision intact – and that the producer of the “Twilight”-series is called Melissa (sic!) Rosenberg is certainly pure coincidence, isn’t it?


(Translation: Tanita Sauf)

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