If you can’t tell, we’re quite fond of our neighbors across the pond. It appears that as much as our musical landscape has blurred, there’s has somehow broken down into a primordial goo of hip-hop, gospel and R&B, from which this week’s First Look Friday feature emerged. Kwabs is a London based artist hailing from Ghana, joining young class of singers and producers who have been single handedly redefining that landscape between the high walls of church music, the bedrock where blues reside and the ill brownstone that hip-hop’s turning out. Our fam over at Okayafrica put us on to this genre-defying man amongst children, and they were the one’s to call it nearly a year ago when they caught wind of his take of James Blake‘s “The Wilhelm Scream”. They said we should be sniffing around for some new funk from Kwabs, and once again they’ve led us to the promise land with his gospel infused pop and R&B structures.
Oh and that voice, its amongst the most brilliantly lush low registers I’ve ever heard. A student of jazz at London’s Royal Academy of Music, its plain to hear how well versed he is in vocal balance and control, seemingly gliding through those aforementioned soundscapes. The result is a wholly ethereal experience that lends itself to the ever-so coveted grey area of the musical spectrum. Once again, we can’t thank our sister-channel OKA enough for bringing this one into the Okay-realm just last week with the soul-churning SOHN produced blues-pop ballad “Last Stand”, which features minimal in the yonder synth work and a chilling hook. And then just when we though it’d be nearly another year until we’ve heard something from this low-end vocal marauder, they go ahead bring us an acoustic rework of an earlier composition “Perfect Ruin”, which boasts those deep gospel vocal chops we’re coming to know Kwabs by, entrenched in a bluesy piano riff. We just hope that Kwabs keeps extending these weekly gems to us and that 2014 somehow comes tomorrow, as his Atlantic Records debut is slated for an early release next year. Until then, peep the soaring low-end of Kwabs’ vocal treatments on both “Perfect Ruin” and “Last Stand” below and keep you ears posted for more from the Ghanian wonder soon.