Less than a week ago, I was raving about “Live the Life,” a silky track by the Toronto-based, DJ Jazzy Jeff-backed singer, Ayah. My admiration and appreciation for the track turned to dismay by the end of that post, though. At that point, “Live the Life” was the only track posted to the artist’s Bandcamp, under a project entitled Ayahludes: 2007. Because it was such a powerful song, I expected it to be attached to a larger project. I was disappointed when it (seemingly!) was not. Still, I bumped to it on the ride home, swaying away on a now defunct G train (thanks, Sandy).
To my surprise (and elation) AyahLudes: 2007 is not a one-track project, nor is it anything “new” from Ayah. In fact, it’s a 4-track EP of gems from Ayah’s vault – all dating back to 2007 (I knew there was something nostalgic about the sound). All the tracks predate Ayah’s musical relationship with Jazzy Jeff, which began in 2008. With producer Amir Vee, Ayah was able to create music that was raw and refined at the same time. Rawness, in fact, might the best word to describe the sound of the EP, as it seems the microphone struggled to capture and contain the power in the songstress’ belted notes. If you’re not wearing headphones at certain points, lyrics and sounds get lost. And yet, there’s a sophisticated quality to her lyrics, harmonies, and vocal compositions. Hearing that raw/refined juxtaposition in AyahLudes will surely remind listeners what made a Philly sound connoisseur like Jazzy Jeff take notice in the first place.
Ayah is set to release new music in 2013. If her return to (and release of) older goodies is indication of anything, hopefully it’s that Ayah is still in tune with those soulful roots that make her essential to the music game. If that’s the case, her upcoming work needs to come sooner to disrupt the electronic poppyness that has taken over the radio. Until then, we’ll lean back and wait as we groove to AyahLudes.