Aïsha Devi - DNA Feelings
There are those albums that get deep into your soul through finding a groove or bringing you back to a wonderful memory. Those are the records that are the most successful, but every so often something else come along that changes your perspective fully. DNA Feelings is that kind of record. There is no "beat" perse which makes finding your footing tough. Instead this album is filled with strange sounds and distant noises, a constant search for something that we may never find. From the first moment Devi feels like she is constantly reaching and grasping for something to hold on to, drifting in space while desperately looking for grounding. The anxiety comes across on tracks like "Dislocation of the Alpha" as skittery screams and pulsing heartbeats create this environment that is totally foreign. There is almost this hidden hip hop beat lying under the surface of this track and her spoken vocals add to the authoritarian vibe going through all of this album. The main thrust of the record is spiritual in nature, but it feels like a totally new way of approaching that topic, devoid of all the words and miscommunications that have driven us in the past. This is about newness, in every sense, regardless if you are prepared for it. "Intentional Dreams" has this truly incredible sound, bright but filled with so much weight you almost get swept away and disappear for a few moments while the track wiggles into position. It is almost like Arca, but less sinister in nature as a lot of experimental electronic music can be giving the album so much more character than other things in this space.
The album doesn't feel like it has a different song structure while you are listening to it, but if you look at the track list it is all over the place. Some songs are only seconds while others hit the five minute mark. The pan-flute of "Hyperlands" is cut by this aggressive electronic pop ins creating this environment that is flowing at some points while it's pointed and cutting at others. "Inner State of Alchemy" is pure industrial softened only by the other worldly singing. This is the kind of record where you almost need to take some breaks while listening because it can become so overwhelming. The tones she finds on "Light Luxury" are just mind blowingly good and her pained autotuned vocal pulls the whole thing together. Each moment offers a new surprise, or something you've never heard before. She lays out her thoughts on life on "Time (Tool)" letting a robotic voice say “You’ll unravel your ghostly matter, have visions of alchemy. You will smile when you die. You will not name me. I am the prophet and you are me.”. She's laying out life, and this album as a mirror, for you to look in and understand yourself more fully. Aïsha Devi has done something truly magnificent with this record and while it may not end up on any charts it is a piece of music worthy of much praise.
9.1 out of 10