In a busy time for releases, but just make sure you don’t sleep on Kelela, there’s been a buzz around her new material for a hot minute and while it’s been through a few delays, it’s here and it was worth the wait – the EP ‘Hallucinogen’, is all that and more.
Making a crisp and sensual start, the music veers into more experimental territory, and does it without giving any music critics an easy off-the-hook, fall-back on cliche’s about some kind of ‘Neo R&B’. There are moments where Kelela is channeling the modern-day spirit of Aaliyah in ‘A Message’, and then she progressively moves into a hallucinogenic soundscape. The throwback Miami Bass snare kick in ‘Rewind’, has all the bounce-feulled optimism for pure dance floor effect and serves it up at mid-point before heading back into a smoother space.
Kelela, a L.A native residing in the centre of what is now the burgeoning beat scene, is confidently stepping out with her sound. We did want to gripe at her for not releasing the EP this summer, it would have made a perfect soundtrack for long hot nights, but don’t blame Kelela for not rushing the release. Studio sessions have been part of the art of perfection and with a respectable stable of producers like Arca, Ariel Rechtshaid, Girl Unit, Kingdom and DJ Dahi on hand, the EP achieves it’s ambition. We are now primed for Kelela to bring forth her album.