Having worked with producer Boots (notable for his work on Beyoncé’s self-titled album), FKA Twigs pulled a similar move and surprise released “M3LL155X” on Friday, August 13th. While the record was finished back in 2014, the singer decided to wait until her tour for LP1 was finished.
Where LP1 saw a myriad of collaborators on the production end of the record taking her ethereal voice to different directions in an attempt to refine the sound she explored on her initial EPs,”M3LL155X” shows her voice taken to an alternate universe where her songwriting formula is still in place, but is altered by nuances on the compositional end.
Backed by digital samples and pulsating electronica beats, the tracks range from sparse dance house-inspired minimalism on “figure 8” and “i’m your doll” to the more chaotic, sultry rhythms of “glass & patron” and “in time.” While her whisper-soft vocals are altered at points by studio effects, she manages to straddle the line between cacophony and harmony, making her voice project a gamut of emotions, mostly relating to her highly sexual themes.
The lyricism sees Twigs using the references to human sexuality in a more abstract manner, on tracks like “figure 8” laden with lines like “Something happened, just above me/I’ve a baby inside/But I won’t give birth till you insert yourself inside of me.” In her 16-minute music video for the record, the singer takes the visual narrative as a way to complement the themes of the album. The segment for “i’m your doll” portrays a vivid dialogue between her and a fully clothed man, showing the dynamics of sex within the dominant and the submissive from the perspective of a gender binary.
While her foray into the music world saw her trained as a backup dancer for artists like Jessie J and Ed Sheeran before becoming a singer, the visuals in her music video shows her combine dance with performance art in unison with her musical soundscapes. From the juxtaposition of grotesque figures with intense, vivid colors and textures, the reflection of her own sonic sensibilities show the constant interaction of both the hideous and beautiful.
In the sequence of FKA Twigs’ musical evolution, the record shows a significant leap from LP1, with Twigs’ own involvement on the production end of the album take more of a backseat to her newfound collaborator. While it may see the singer further removed from the back end of her sonic elements, it has helped project the singer in a new light, and take her sound to greater heights.
Watch M3LL155X Below