Written by Dustin Sclafani
“In West Philadelphia born and…..”
No, I am not talking about the plucky youth that left West Philly for California to chill with Uncle Phil. I am talking about the musical genre bending union of vocalist, Bailey Walker, and her collaborative counterpart, Adam Laub. This seasoned vocalist and electronic trip-hop producer have formed the West Philly-based duo, DECOUPLR, and the duo have released their debut record, Digital Bonfire, a love letter to the technology first life.
Blending the organic jazz influenced vocals of Walker and the electronic driven arrangements of Laub, DECOUPLR, dances in the realm of such acts like Portishead and LCD Soundsystem, but with their own intense spin on it.
Drenched in the theme of technology-driven society, it truly echoes its name, Digital Bonfire. For those bonfire enthusiasts like myself, you understand that a bonfire’s beauty is in its controlled chaos and its ability to change the very fabric it uses to fuel itself. The electronic landscape that Laub paints throughout this record is that perfectly controlled chaos, which allows Walker’s vocals to weave in and out of the powerful chaos like a dancing fire nymph.
Walker makes a strong artistic statement as she allows the vocal melodies to become a hypnotic repetitive heartbeat comforting Laub’s dystopian soundscape as they fully engulf the record and each individual track. Walker’s autobiographical transparency brings the listener in and gives a pure soul to electronic bonfire of Laub’s arrangements. Walker’s delivery pulls from balladic vocals similar to Billie Holiday or even Etta James with a bit of Winehouse flair throughout the record.
While Laub draws from LCD Soundsystem, Kraftwerk and even a bit of Herbie Hancock. Track by track they pay tribute to their respective musical forefathers and mothers. But it is where these two artistic souls intertwine that is the true ignition point that sets this Digital Bonfire ablaze.
From the sound of the radio dial adjustment that opens the lead track, “Keepsake,” to the closing line “would it be the same if I never met you” that Walker hauntingly delivers on the curtain-pulling track “Osage.”
Digital Bonfire fully encompasses the blend of the organic and the electronic. Fans of projects like LCD Soundsystem, Flying Lotus, and Portishead, please know that this record is made for you.
I definitely suggest putting your headphones on, pulling up a chair, and warming your soul with this Digital Bonfire. Out now on all digital platforms.
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