His debut LP, First Born Second, was released during ‘neo soul’s rallying period, amongst his contemporaries the likes of Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Musiq Soulchild, D’Angelo and so on. Bilal’s more avant-garde approach to his sound, though, had the LP stand out with a few curveballs – a facet of his music that was echoed in last year’s follow up Airtight’s Revenge.
superb production seems to reference a melting pot of psych and prog rock, house, and jazz
Levels is one of those tracks, as Shafiq Husayn (with co-production from Bilal)’s superb production seems to reference a melting pot of psych and prog rock, house, and jazz, the unrelenting four on the floor drum beat an escaped voltage signal in a faulty machine, overdriven guitars imposing themselves as soft strings, pianos and synth tones dance around. Bilal’s vocal is the personification of delicate beauty.
Psychadelic, astral themed video direction by none other than Flying Lotus is totally mesmerising, and dare I say, made me think ‘Street Fighter’ in parts… watch and see if you agree.
Levels is available as an EP, which features the original, the instrumental, a Flying Lotus re-edit, and the SonnyMoon Remix. You can get it from iTunes