Text: Dinesh Mattu
“IF YOU DON’T KNOW… NOW YOU KNOW” (The Notorious B.I.G., 1994)
LIKE: DVSN, TAME IMPALA, EMOTIONAL ORANGES
SOUND: AMBIENT, ALTERNATIVE R&B, PYSCHEDELIC SOUL
FEELING: WARM, GROOVY, SPACEY
Sitting in a pocket that isn’t quite R&B, isn’t quite Indie and isn’t quite Psychedelic it is difficult to place this genre-bending outfit in one category. Asked how they’d describe their sound, they dubbed it a mix of old and new; a feeling of nostalgia and inspiration. Chiiild’s first EP released earlier this year is aptly titled Synthetic Soul; a sound which has a signature blend of smooth retro, future psychedelia, and modern R&B.
‘Count Me Out’ is a string-laden bedroom groove with subtle production that could rival something by dvsn, it’s spacey synths and heavy percussion feel otherworldly, equally wistful and ethereal. At a time where the R&B barometer is arguably dominated by either heavy production or coldly stripped back, this duo’s balance is somewhere in between. The flanger guitar and reverbed vocals add layers to a sound which is deep rooted in R&B but with their own psychedelic sprinkling.
It’s not hard to see similarities in their sound with that of Tame Impala, ‘Pirouette’ is a wonderful bass driven bop with wispy Kevin Parker-esque vocals and crying guitar riffs. Minus the staccato synth pads, ‘Sunday Morning’ in similar vein is an upbeat groover that could sit right at home on The Slow Rush.
Bonding over their mutual African heritage and a calling to tell stories of identity through music, ‘Back To Life’ collaborator Shungudzo sings, “If there’s a God I hope she’s black and when I die she brings me back to life.” Lyrically the song is a metaphoric fantasy that explores the idea that life is just practice and somehow in the future, we might get a second shot at it. A fittingly trippy idea you might say, but if the rebirth is real let’s just hope Chiiild are here with us too.
“If there’s a God I hope she’s black and when I die she brings me back to life.”
Having scored writing and production credits over the past few years with Usher, J-Lo, Diplo and Skrillex, xSDTRK and Pierre-Luc Rioux are no strangers to the big time, however after being behind the scenes for over ten years it is now time for Chiiild (yes with three i’s) to step forward. As mysterious as their album art and spectral sound may be, it is only a matter of time before they too are being hailed as some of the best in the game.
& If you don't know, now you know...