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FKA Twigs wins the British Style Fashion Innovator Award at the British Fashion Awards at the London Coliseum. Credit: Courtesy of TNS
FKA Twigs wins the British Style Fashion Innovator Award at the British Fashion Awards at the London Coliseum. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Listen Up: Slow jams, otherworldly tunes in the queue this week

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I spent most of this week listening to a new album by a certain well-known Chicago rapper, who, because of the abundance of coverage, will remain nameless. Nevertheless, other music was released this week and it deserves attention as well.

Too much of anything can be a bad thing.

“Good To Love” by FKA Twigs

There is nothing more exciting to me in music than sounds that seem to be from another planet. Something that bursts from traditional restraints, something that makes it difficult for one with a new music column to describe. Pop, rock, dance, all of that is great, but what I really want to hear is something that challenges my concept of particular genres.

Whether you call FKA Twigs pop or R&B, you are right. And wrong. Her three extended plays and one full-length feature the trance-inducing sound of her haunting, hushed voice with sparse accompaniment. Lately she has taken to working with nonconforming, avant-garde trap producers, amplifying and warping her sound.

Her music is largely about love and sex, but she frames it in a way that makes the whole concept seem unappealing. It is passionate, but a dark, tortured passion.

“Good To Love” is along these lines but another step forward. It’s an ethereal ballad that once again makes Twigs’ voice the main focus, with moody, atmospheric production keeping the emphasis on melody and vocals.

This song was a surprise release, as most of her recent music has been, so who knows what we might be getting next from Twigs. The only sure thing is that it will be a little more mind-bending than what came before it.

“March Madness (Remix)” by Future ft. Nas

The old guard/young gun contrast should be far more apparent than it is on this song. It is not surprising, though, given that Nas is one of the best at remixing, ever, hopping on one of the best tracks to come out of Future’s insanely productive year.

Nas is at the point in his career where a stellar guest verse now and then does enough to keep listeners from forgetting his greatness. He is in Andre 3000, Jay Z territory. All he has to think about is which spots to pick — he chose a good one here, a track equally anthemic and culturally important.

“Valentine’s Slow Jams Chapter 9” by Hudson Mohawke

Whether Valentine’s Day went your way or not this year — congratulations and sympathies, respectively — there is one V-day tradition that can be counted on: Hudson Mohawke’s Valentine’s slow jam set. The hip-hop and electronic producer’s 44-minute mix of sultry and romantic songs might not be for the lonely hearts, but for those with a little more luck, it sets a certain mood. I would suggest listening only when with a significant other … things might get a little uncomfortable with this playing on the way to family dinner.

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