Los Angeles has been home to some of electronic music’s more groundbreaking artists in recent years like Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder label. Deeper underground, you have Fade To Mind, a record label with a roster whose sole purpose could be described as music to make your head spin.
Trading in sharp irregular dancefloor rhythms, Fade To Mind’s artists Nguzunguzu, Kingdom and Fatima Al Qadiri create discombobulating grimey sounds for the next generation.
Kelela is the label’s go-to vocalist and her soulful Aaliyah-esque voice has been perfectly suited to Fade To Mind’s productions whether they be ice-cold, dark or bursting with light.
These days singers are drafted in to suit the song’s production tapestry. On her new mixtape Cut 4 Me, Kelela teams up with producers like Girl Unit, Bok Bok and Jam City and the collaboration is mutually beneficial rather than a one-sided one. The 10 producers listed primarily serve the singer and the song. Kelela is the star, as the title hints. As a result, the tendency to go full force into head-tilting production is reigned in by Kelela’s significant R&B melodic sensibilities.
The Nguzunguzu-produced ‘Enemy’ with its dangerous synth stonk, the silky Girl Unit-produced electro of ‘Floor Show’, the future R&B Kingdom-produced ‘Cut 4 Me’ or the aquatic thonk of ‘Keep It Cool’ with production from Jam City are all standouts but there aren’t really any fails here.
Cut 4 Me is engrossing for its 50 minute duration and feels more like a debut album than a mixtape per se. It’s a collection of tracks that sounds like a future, if not the future, of bass/electronic/R&B/pop music.
01. Guns & Synths [Prod. Bok Bok, Napolian, Tariq & Garfield] 02. Enemy [Prod. Nguzunguzu] 03. Floor Show [Prod. Girl Unit] 04. Do It Again [Prod. NA] 05. Go All Night (Let Me Roll) [Prod. Morri$] 06. Bank Head (Extended) [Prod. Kingdom] 07. Cut 4 Me [Prod. Kingdom] 08. Keep It Cool [Prod. Jam City] 09. Send Me Out [Prod. Kingdom] 10. Go All Night (Let it Burn) [Prod. Morri$] 11. Something Else [Prod. Nguzunguzu] 12. A Lie [Prod. Bok Bok] 13. Cherry Coffee [Prod. Jam City]