To make a glib comparison, Riya is to 2010 drum & bass what Katy B is to 2010 dubstep: a versatile siren who can switch from vulnerable to tough faster than you can rewind the drop. Riya's most recent work has seen her aligned with the Autonomic sector of drum & bass, and her lightly ethereal voice works wonders with the twilight nostalgia of dBridge and friends.
Riya's tunes so far have varied from tender (Lenzman's "Open Page") to playful (Total Science's "Redlines") to wistful ("Seems Like") to the forebodingly strange (S.P.Y's "Loneliness"). Her solo debut comes on the eponymous Autonomic label, and while crediting it solely to her is deceptive, it marks a confident turn in her vocal presence from "featuring" to out-and-out artist. Given a tantalizingly exotic production from dBridge, "Seems Like" is the masterpiece that so memorably led off his and Instra:mental's triumphant Fabriclive installment earlier this year. The steadily-rolling beat is like a landcruiser trawling desert sands in permanent sunset, and is firmly in step with Riya's beautiful remorse.
Skream provides the flip with "The Cycle," and it's a sparse, derelict thing that feels inconsequential next to "Seems Like." Thankfully, Riya's vocal is layered and sultry enough to pull it off, only sometimes falling victim to the large gaps left behind. While Riya may finally have a release to her name, her bewitching voice is still at the mercy of her producers.
Buy Riya - Seems Like at
Tracklist: Riya - Seems Like A Seems Like
B The Cycle