Woozy and excitable ballroom-R&B fusions from a Montréal artist to watch.
The opener, "Freeze (The Whistle Song)," starts off like a brutal ballroom slammer before introducing a jaunty whistle, then what sounds like bagpipes. It feels like a bizarre send-up of the Juelz Santana classic. The textures and sounds should be jarring together, but Silk has a way of sneaking melody and even humour into heavy, claustrophobic music. On "The Rooster Song," a Baltimore-ballroom hybrid, the beat is punctuated by loud animal samples. It's silly, yes, but you can't deny the song's low-end thrust or the wafting wordless vocal that acts as the central hook.
"Mona Lisa" is a torch song that touches on weightless grime and moombahton, while "Pictures Of Us" owes more to the psychedelic and woozy shades of grey that define contemporary R&B, with sumptuous production. Or there's "Song For Your Ex," the EP's weirdest moment, which features a falsetto "fuck you" repeating over a laugh track and blustery jungle breaks. Once again, on paper it seems ridiculous, but when you hear the Amen coming up in the mix, it sounds exhilarating.
More than any of his other releases, Club Mermaid underlines Jaymie Silk's uniquely syncretic approach. He started out in France as a rap producer, before moving to Montréal, becoming interested in ballroom music and helping kick-start a whole new scene there. His music benefits from this relocation and reorientation, folding in the sounds of contemporary rap and pop music with edgy, powerful club music from scenes in Europe and North America. The LP is called Club Mermaid because the mermaid is a symbol that exists in the mythology and folklore of many different continents and cultures, which is a good way to think about Silk's music: global, fantastical and familiar.