Mhysa: Fantasii LP



Mhysa is in possession of a totally compelling voice and production style, both feeding into a sound that's prone to intuitively explore and reassert the limits of R&B, electronica, or modern soul in 2017. She makes a big impression with fantasii, her first album proper following dispatches with NON and a lauded mixtape alongside chukwumaa as SCRAAATCH. Think Klein's freeform R&B structures riddled with Rabit-like production tics, and you're in grasping distance of the fractious but idiosyncratically coherent styles inhabited by this highly intriguing addition to the vanguard of new music from the fertile margins of American music. Against a refreshing general lack of broken glass or gunshot samples, the self-described "Black queer femme cultural producer, sound designer, womanist + Diva" animates swirling, impossibly balanced structures with a tearaway imagination, keening from vaulted, pitch-shifting gospel in "Special Need Intro" to a multi-dimensional, abstract grime cover of Prince in the course of 11 songs. The Klein comparisons are apt, the pair share a unique perception of R&B and church music as a gateway to other, dreamlike dimensions. From the way Mhysa appropriates the ecclesiastic psychedelia of physical church spaces in the reverb-storm of "Glory Be Black" to the rugged ambient inversion of R&B's usual warmth in the six-minute highlight "Bb", or undermining the conventions of club music in the A-grade anti-bangers "Strobe" and "You Not About That Lyfe", she offers a particular example of the contemporary, young, Black, and queer experience. No doubt, fantasii is a vital addition to the canon of boundary pushing and resetting music and politics also espoused by Elysia Crampton, Rabit, ANGEL-HO, or Chino Amobi -- one of 2017's most rewarding albums. In Pitchfork's Top 10 Experimental Albums of 2017.


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