Listen to Yellow Memories from start to finish and you're immersed in a distinct mood. Introspective R&B and soul is the theme. Much of the music is ambitious. Take the Flako-produced "La Neta," which switches times signatures halfway through, or the Theo Parrish-penned opener "Do Better," which has a sense of virtuosity and drama that's uncommon in modern music. Eglo boss Floating Points is a lynchpin to the operation, having produced five of the record's 12 tracks. His partnership with Fatima has created two of the best cuts here: the climactic "Do Better" and the comparatively pared down "Biggest Joke Of All." The latter is simply a boom bap beat, an amazing vocal performance and a keyboard jam, but its simplicity is exactly what makes it work.
Other guest producers here include Scoop De Ville, Oh No and Knxwledge. None of these are huge names, but all have cult followings in the world of leftfield beatmaking, and every one of these collaborations is a winner. Particularly worth singling out is "Circle," produced by Computer Jay and the ever-impressive Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra. Here there's a scuffed up, almost psychedelic feel that, like so much of the album, is starkly contrasted by Fatima's expressive tones. That mix of traditional soul melodies with interesting and occasionally strange music is what makes Yellow Memories work so well. Fatima's voice is instantly rewarding, but keep coming back and you'll find elusive elements in the music you missed first time around.
Yellow Memories really is all killer and no filler. To the uninitiated, Fatima is likely to draw comparisons to Erykah Badu, particularly her New Amerykah albums, but that might not do justice to her originality. She really is a unique artist, and with a label like Eglo in support, she's likely to say that way.
Tue / 13 May 2014
01. Do Better (Produced by Floating Points)
02. Technology (Produced by Oh No)
03. Circle (Produced by Computer Jay)
04. Sun Star Solar
05. Ridin Round (Sky High) (Produced by Scoop Deville)
06. Family (Produced by Flako)
07. La Neta (Produced by Flako)
08. Biggest Joke Of All (Produced by Floating Points)
09. Underwater (Produced by KNX)
10. Rest In Peace
11. Talk (Produced by Floating Points)
12. Gave Me My Name (Produced by Floating Points)