Serpent With Feet Debuts With Hauntingly Good "Flickering"
Photo by Elliott Brown Jr.
When we first spoke to Josiah Wise two years ago we knew that the experimental singer was on to something. The self-described lovechild of Bjork and Kirk Franklin, Wise first gained a following through his paraboLA EP in the fall of 2012, when he was still JosiahWise/GodBodi.
“When the project dropped, I wept and hid because I felt like I hadn’t done enough. A friend of mine – a mother of three children – compared the feeling to giving birth, which comes with all of these emotions that you have to release,” Wise told us when revisiting paraboLA two years after its release. “I knew that was going to happen, but I still shut down. It marks a period in my life and speaks to the way I was thinking then, so for that reason I wouldn’t change it. I’m glad I got that out. Now that I know exactly what I want I’m taking way more time with my work. I’m not really into simplifying anything, but I think I can make things sharper.”
Fast forward to 2016 and Wise is Serpent With Feet, his most fitting musical outfit that balances his classically-trained background with his love for gospel, R&B and avant-garde sounds. The artist recently dropped his debut single “flickering” from Tri Angle Records: a beautifully haunting track that finds Wise desiring connection with someone. But his plea should not be interpreted for weakness: “My heart is strong / My will is strong / I offer myself to you,” he sings strongly. Also, those “Oohs” that float throughout the entire track — subtle but just present enough that without them, the song would have less of an impact.
Considering that Bjork is one of Wise’s biggest influences, it’s not surprising that The Haxan Cloak (who contributed to the eclectic singer-songwriter’s 2015 album Vulnicura) produced “flickering,” his electronics and strings accompanying Wise’s piano parts.