I don’t think I’ve spent more time waiting for an album than I have for Konbini2004’s One. She’s proved to me time and time again that she’s one of the most interesting artists in the UK underground, so much that it would have been nigh impossible for this project to disappoint me. Konbini has long been screaming into an impossible void, and on One it seems like that void has finally started to talk back.
It’s impossible to talk about Konbini without Sixtythree. That’s not to diminish her artistry in the slightest, but the two really are inseparable from an artistic point of view. Both literal and musical partners, the duo work on all but four of these songs together. Konbini is more than just a muse for Sixty’s beat-crafting, and he is much more than a mere session producer for her. These two make genuine magic together, and as such their collaborations are generally the highlight of her first full-length offering. There’s an astonishing breadth of material, ranging from murky, lo-fi cloud rap (‘Saturn // Neptune’), to blown out, melodic trap (‘Succulent’), to actual tropical pop (‘Lil Mermaid’). The impressive variety is one thing, but without a competent vocalist to carry it all everything could have fallen flat. Fortunately, Konbini is exactly that and much more.
Look no further than ‘Yr X Sux’, which might just be the album’s best song. Lyrically it’s as hard to decipher as all of her work, but there’s a magnetic allure to this track conveyed through the song’s title and the absolutely beautiful vocals that Konbini lays down here. The song has immense emotional impact despite its clearly vehement tone, utilising one of the best Sixtythree beats ever for what is clearly One’s most well-defined song. I might be getting ahead of myself here though, as the rest is no less thrilling.
‘Obsidian’ was originally released some time ago, but it sounds even better here. There’s significant influence here from the era of cloud rap, but there’s also some really interesting sonic stuff going in the background. Konbini’s vocals are at their best here, composed yet dripping with gravitas. And then there’s ‘M0rphing’, an absolutely mental song that is initially rapped over what sounds like a Clams Casino beat from hell, then abruptly switches to what I can only describe as a song that’s been nightcored and chopped and screwed at the same time. The way these two halves bleed into each other is startling, presenting the listener with a track so bizarre that it takes a couple of listens to get used to.
Finally, I wanted to complement Konbini’s own production, which appears twice here. ‘Pretty BBY’ is a great opener that shows the artist adopting a cloudy, fast-paced style similar to Sixty’; albeit significantly more barebones. The third and final producer to appear here is MFX96.3, whose work on ‘Swift’ alone is worthy of note. It’s one of the densest beats here, and encourages one of Konbini’s most scintillating vocal performances.
I’ve gushed enough about this album for you guys to get it: this is a really, really good debut project from someone whose future work I am very excited about. And apparently, it’s right around the corner.
Listen to the project below.
Follow Konbini on Twitter.
– Chris (@malenchanted)