SZA – Julia

SZA-Z-575x575

There is a lot to say about SZA; she is sort of R&B in a way that The Weeknd is R&B. I have previously referred to her as female version of Tom Krell, that still holds when considering her earlier releases, like the beautiful “Country” which builds on a clear yet subtle Empire Of The Sun sample. “Ice.Moon” was a track that certainly got my attention and after that there was no doubt of what a wonderful gifted musician she is. Her second EP S, released earlier this year, further substantiated this impression. The EP included the brilliant “Aftermath”, which sound and production wise could’ve easily fitted on Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dreams, and the first version of “Castles” that contained a sample from Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”. The track was later unfortunately taken down, almost certainly due to legal concerns. No matter, a new version is up now and it’s almost equally good. Up to that point, everything she’s done seemed effortless, filled with quirky creativity yet very much rooted in pop.

Yesterday it was announced that SZA signed to TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment), home of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock to name a few. So we don’t have to worry, she’s in good company. In addition to the announcement, a new Felix Snow and Dave Free produced track was premiered titled “Julia”. It is by far her most pop oriented to date, working almost like an 80’s R&B-pop (think Janet Jackson and you’re not far off), and even though it’s a bit less effortless and experimental, it’s just as good as anything she’s released beforehand (and as usual, the album cover is strikingly beautiful).

“Julia” is expected to be a part of her next EP titled Z.

Dornik – Something About You

tumblr_modgfyMHGi1qdmr6mo1_1280

“Something About You” is Jessie Ware’s drummer Dornik Leigh’s tasteful debut single. It’s a tender, beautiful song, very much in sync with the inventive revitalization of R&B started by the likes of Frank Ocean and Miguel. But while Ocean and Miguel likes to revisit the heydays of the 70’s, Dornik’s yardstick is early 80’s Michael Jackson. The intimate, airy presence of Dorniks vocals are accompanied by glossy synthesizers and a bass hook similar to techno pioneer Larry Heard’s formative classic “Can You Feel It”. Dornik flows over the lush instrumentals with an effortless ease, sounding like he’s been doing this sort of thing all his life.

It’s easy to be blown away by “Something About You” and the fact that PMR Records, the home of Jessie Ware and Disclosure signed Dornik isn’t very surprising considering the abundance of talent lurking beneath his confined aesthetics. “Something About You” is without question this year’s greatest R&B debut.