It has been a pretty phenomenal twelve months for Tahliah Barnett following on from the release of LP1. After scoring a top 20 in the UK and a top 30 in the States followed by a Mercury Prize nomination that should have rightly culminated in the award, she took to the road to captivate and inspire with a live show incomparable to contemporaries. Making all the correct steps towards paralleled Atlantic domination, a self-directed video to a new track ‘Glass & Patron’ appeared at the end of March and appeared to reinvent Twigs once again. Without a doubt a video of the year, this cinematic monument became the first allusion to new music on the horizon.
Alleged to have been originally titled LP3, today Barnett releases ‘M3LL155X’ almost exactly a year after the first studio album. With five tracks centred around a personification of Tahliah’s personal energy and femininity, you journey once more to the psyche of Twigs for an expectedly disjointed affair. Opener ‘Figure 8’ has been available for a week and longer for those who have followed FKA’s live tours. Brooding bass, twisted synth and ethereal vocal all intertwining in recognisable manner before this track attempts to escape its own sonar structure as Tahliah hushes it back inside like some demonic being as it whispers and growls laced by distant moans as Twigs begs it to allow her to live.
It is clear FKA approaches all recordings as though they are living, self fulfilling art forms and it is evident in the way these five songs are linked together through the central bass lines and lyrical frequencies similar to that of poetry. ‘Mothercreep’ reintroduces the bridge of ‘double knot my throat Mother’ from the opening scene of ‘Glass & Patron’ yet now acts as an outro to this dominant and demonic single. ‘Glass & Patron’ rivals the subtle momentum of ‘Two Weeks’ as it grapples with shattering synth rumblings fixed into place by a vocal reminiscent of a surrealistic Aaliyah. Snatching focus from this first cut is its predecessor ‘In Time’ which has again been showcased via the live format yet the recordings offer an agitated dance floor filler that feels as though Twigs has sewn together two separate recordings as her sophisticated and composed vocal gently drifts along the verse before the inner displeasure and exasperation erupts and mutilates the concise stitch work. This could be Twigs most concise assemblage of work thus far and it offers a startling reality for what is still to come as this performer identifies herself as a master of craft in music, live art performance and film.