sun 26/05/2019

CD: Ex Mykah - 16, 17 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ex Mykah - 16, 17

CD: Ex Mykah - 16, 17

Intriguingly offbeat debut from Los Angeles scenester

One for the heads

Ex Mykah is a multi-instrumentalist and producer on the LA music scene who’s worked with the names such as Mark Ronson and Miike Snow. His own debut album sounds very far from either of those. Instead it comes from the warped, alt-hip hop end of the pop spectrum, while also recalling that brief Noughties blog flourish “chillwave” (the likes of Neon Indian and Washed Out). This is music dipped deep in a woozy, druggy feel, but which also never wanders far from an actual tune.

Ex Mykah is Colombian-Cuban-American Bryan Senti who deeply resents the direction his country has taken and the PR material for this album pushes this angle, noting that various songs directly concern social issues. However, listen to “Faceless” or “Suspicions” and we do not hear “an unflinching perspective that spotlights society's grim realities” or a critique of police brutality, respectively, so much as brilliantly odd post-Prince, post-Frank Ocean pop grooves. Sure, the latter song has a chorus that runs “Should have looked out for each other before the time is too late”, but the lyrical content is generally splurged down in the mix, gloopy and strange, part of the feel rather than a bolt of critique awakening the listener.

More importantly, both are riveting offbeat songs, packed with interest. Perhaps the words creep up eventually as the listener lies bong-hazed one revelatory evening. For 16, 17 is thoroughly involving debut wherein Senti weaves a mass of organic instrumentation into a psychedelic-electronic stew. “Thinking of New York”, for instance, appears to feature strings, sax and… ukulele. There are many highlights to relish: the twinkling Empire of the Sun-ish “Machines of Loving Grace”, the Air-ish closer “Dead Celebrity”, “Interventions” which sounds like a sludged out Barry White remix, and more.

Many have attempted to take LA’s Flying Lotus/Low End Theory/Brainfeeder post-hip hop style somewhere new but few ever manage to attach it to something that’s recognisably catchy. Ex Mykah has and it’s to be hoped his debut gathers a wide appreciation for that.

Watch the video for "Faceless" by Ex Mykah
 
Music dipped deep in a woozy, druggy feel, but which also never wanders far from an actual tune.

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters