Review : Kwes - Meantime EP
PitchforkThe London-based singer/producer Kwes has the kind of personality you used to find all the time in old-school R&B but that you rarely find now: courtly, tender, sensitive, self-effacing, romantic. "I'm so bashful," he sings over a song named for the shy emotion, right before he actually offers the girl in question a cream soda. He's not a twee, toe-digging type, however: His presence and his voice are clear, calm, disarming. "I mean when I say/ You're beautiful," he sings tenderly on "lgoyh", and there is a glowing sincerity in his voice. For a soft-spoken 24-year-old, he carries himself with remarkable confidence, which radiates through his music with a kind of healing quality.
His new EP, Meantime, is an unabashedly beautiful, even sensuous 17 minutes of music: Sound layers are introduced like deal clinchers in a slow seduction. Kwes began as a producer of other people's music (Speech Debelle, Micachu) before he decided to become the focus of his own productions, and Meantime breathes quietly with his attention to detail. Beneath a serene surface, all four songs bubble intricately. Listening to it in headphones lets you appreciate Kwes' understanding of spacing in the mix, the comforting swirl of these songs.
To comfort seems to be one of Kwes's main goals as a songwriter. On "Bashful", he's meeting the gaze of an older woman head-on and telling her, "I know I may be young to you, but I want to prove/ You may think what I say isn't true." On "lgoyh", he croons, this time to a seemingly younger woman, "Don't waste too many tears/ On those energies/ You have too many years ahead of you/ And not too many before you." He's capable of more than just sweet nothings too: the surreal "Honey", the only other full song, appears to be sung from the perspective of a head of cabbage longing for the jar of honey a shelf above it (as Ryan Dombal noted in his interview with Kwes)....full text
FreedomsparkMonday sees the release of London based producer, Kwes. ‘s first EP in two years. Why the two year gap between them? – he’s been busy working with Damon Albarn, Speech Debelle, DELS and Ghostpoet to name but a few.
The EP, which is entitled Meantime, opens with the very ambient ‘Klee’ which sounds a bit like something that would slip right into his first EP, No Need To Run, perfectly. However, the listener then is launched into the the pop musings of ‘Bashful’ – a song that’s been circulating the internet for the past could of months before the official video for it was released this week. It’s incredibly catchy. I’m a little bit obsessed with it. I listen to it at least twice a day – is this too much? Can you tell I’m a bit of an obsessive person?...full text
EmusicJust four tracks and 17 minutes long, Kwes’s second EP has enough ideas for a whole album. Every moment is so packed with unpredictable detail that trying to define his sound is like trying to wrangle a cloud. So far the 24-year-old former philosophy student is best known as a producer — working with the xx and British MCs DELS and Speech Debelle, joining Damon Albarn’s crew on last summer’s visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo — but here he mutates into the most unusual singer-songwriter since James Blake.
Without the soft, unpretentious warmth of Kwes’s voice (summed up nicely by the title of “bashful”), it might be hard to keep track of his shape-shifting blends of the organic and electronic, like the distorted basslines, inquisitive rhythms, found-sound shrapnel and dizzying waves of synth that come and go during the seven-minute “Igoyh.” The endearing melodies form the threads that keep these pearls from clattering to the floor, and his heart is as open as his arrangements are abstract....full text
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