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Delasi’s new EP is agenre-bending vision for the future

by Isabel Williams

Delasi's newly released EP is a kaleidoscope of musical influences, drawing on funk, avant-garde jazz and alternative R&B, with a healthy dose of new-wave affectation.

Self-described as a “prophetic insight into the future”, Delasi’s newly released EP ‘The Audacity of Free Thought’ is a genre-bending melting pot of musical influences, drawing on funk, avant-garde jazz and alternative R&B.

The EP pays homage to its club music and new wave affectations with its prominent use of synth chords. Their presence across all tracks ensures a smooth transition of sonic quality, off-playing the scratchier beats and lending a richness that is both futuristic and yet reminiscent of a much older genre of music.

The EP opens with the track ‘Agbe Dzidzi’, underscored by a deep, bass-like synth with a quality that is almost ominous. Delasi intricately layers other elements on top: high-pitched, sparkling electric riffs, combined with a strong beat and his own warbling voice. It’s a track that ripples richly with defiance and a single-minded certainty.

Other tracks play into different emotional directions. ‘Amplifier’, which was previously released as a single ahead of the EP, has already been well-received by other music publications for its bustling drum breaks, electronic synth lines and jazz sensibilities. Its kaleidoscope of musical elements encompasses the spirit of the whole EP: teeming with a variety of beats as tripping metallic sounds mix seamlessly with pulsing electrics to produce a vibrant, upbeat track that twitches with all the energy of a living thing.

‘Perception’ is another stand-out on the EP, remixing a deep, flat, reverberation with dimmed acoustics, before expanding into sparky and soaringly high pitched synth riffs that hum like some far-off spaceship. A playfully rhythmic electric beat undulates throughout. Delasi’s vocals really shine on this track; his chorus cry, “Your perception of me don’t equate to who I am”, is measured and assertive in its pronunciation, stretching seamlessly over the song with its soulful, resonant quality.

Speaking on the EP’s concept in a press release, Delasi said: “I want to instigate conversations on being one’s self; on obeying our true influences while creating and not folding to the pressure of what our immediate environment seeks to dictate. Telling stories from the heart that are vulnerable and truthful. I hope to continue painting such pictures”.

Delasi is an artist that has been quietly prolific for over a decade. Entrenching himself in the Ghanaian rap scene via collaborations with Hammer of The Last Two, Reggie Rockstone and Yaw P with whom he would release a joint project ‘Imperfections: The Break Up Vol 1’ in 2013.

After many years of operating as a proudly independent and self-contained artist, Delasi has now partnered with Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings. Famed for their instrumental role in breaking the likes of KOKOROKO, Yussef Dayes, Swindle and Joe-Armon Jones, Delasi now joins that ilk of illustrious artists. After many years operating in Ghana’s musical underground, he is now en route to an international breakthrough that was previously long out of reach.

‘The Audacity of Free Thought’ is a keen display of technical dexterity that truly embodies that which Delasi intends it to: it is defiant, indefinable and transcends temporality. At the same time, it is deeply rooted in a sense of purpose and integrity that is core to his intentions as an artist.

Photographer
Charles Lawson
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