Written By: Ethan Griggs
My Music: ethangriggsmusic.virb.com
Originality: (3 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (3 / 5) Lyrics: (4 / 5) Production: (2 / 5) Average: (3 / 5)
Minimalism, for many, seems to be all the rage in this new day and age. Artists from all over the world are finding ways to strip down production while not losing any emotional or sonic qualities in the process; in short, less is more. Adele’s 21 comes to mind as a record that accomplished this feat extremely well. Another British songstress, Elisa Astrid, utilizes this technique on her debut EP, Blind Silence, released last year. While she doesn’t necessarily sound like Adele on the record, the minimalist traits share similarities; however, Astrid has made an EP that may fit better in the classification of American soundscapes, as the songs relax in an alternative-R&B sound.
The EP, consisting of four ballads, is very much centered around the thematics of heartbreak, and this is made evident through the opening monologue Astrid provides in the first track, “ETERNAL FIRE”: “The more you tried to catch me, the less our love became reachable/It moved away even more/Your feelings were blind and they scared me/The silence between us has become endless, countless, and eternal”. The track is an introduction to the singer’s emotional outlook, pondering a recent toxic relationship. Here, the minimalist elements compliment Astrid’s tone very well. Next, the icy synthesizers and 808’s of “I AM NOT READY” set the scene of a singer belting out from the top of a glacier. This one is the track you may hear if you take a night out to your favorite London club.
Track 3, the extremely sparse “SKYFALL”, provides room for Astrid to really show off the qualities of her voice. Aside from the very processed sound of the accompanied piano (like a cheap, unweighted Casio), and some minor editing flaws, this stands out possibly the most memorable track on the record. Astrid’s range, which was already big to begin with, completely opens up into a universe of its own. The closing track of Blind Silence, “GUN” is its most grand a massive sounding. Somewhat of a multi-movement piece, there is plenty of variations in the tempos of this song as well as one of the EP’s best sounds, a buzzing, ping-pong-like synthesizer tone.
While the minimalism of the tracks may leave some listeners wanting more in terms of production, it’s hard to argue with the tone and depth of the voice of Elisa Astrid. Overall, her first EP isn’t so much an interpretation of modern R&B as it is an interpolation. The airy, effortless breath of Astrid’s pipes paired with subtle but strong electronic-R&B landscapes creates something that sounds multi-cultural and multi-national, without deviating too far from the famous pop formula.