What does Gita Buhari sound like?
A bass-driven merger of trip-hop, shoegaze and soul.
The review of Gita Buhari – Blood Lily
Sometimes less can be more and that is the premise that Gita Buhari works with on their new EP “Bloody Lily”. Gita’s soulful voice is placed front and centre so that she can use her powerful lungs to really command her stage presence. Working with Arjuna Vlasbom, the duo keep things simple with chunky but clean drum loops and deeply meditative synth pads as the basis for each track on their new album. It is incredibly smooth and thick like molasses. It allows the duo to really pull out other tiny sounds into something bigger.
“I Used To Blame Others” does this superbly. A driving beat and thick pads create a warm blanket that only shimmering higher octave synths and the occasional guitar note ever break. It allows Gita to embrace her soulful voice and bring M People to Lamb. It’s the immediate single on the album as it’s the easiest mix between soul and trip-hop. The EP slowly introduces more guitar and shoegazing elements across its run though. “Sweet and Slow” is a brooding mix that adds in plenty of guitars and odd percussive sounds, whilst “Black Water” has a wub-wub synth that is intoxicating and pulses the bass through your bones. Bass is a huge part of Gita Buhari and if it’s not wub-wub’ing, it’s a pure synth pad and guitar grizzles joining forces to create a warm and dense drone.
The title track, like the intro, is built on synths of soul. It is an organ-driven piece that allows Gita’s deep and full-bodied voice to shine. It’s a beautiful and sensitive ballad that shows without rhythms, Gita can still be a powerhouse. The closing track “Painting in Blue” is possibly the most complex sounding track on the EP. Chunky trip-hop beats, oscillating synths, chilled guitars and bundles of vocal layers. It sounds cathartic and anthemic.
Often in music, we find artists being celebrated for cramming so much sound and production into their music. What Gita Buhari reminded me is that the kitchen sink approach isn’t better than carefully crafted songs from a small selection of instruments. “Blood Lily” has some of the best trip-hop music I’ve enjoyed in ages and it’s one of the most focused and streamlined sounds I’ve heard for a while too. The key is in knowing not to drown out the star vocal or melodic element you want to promote. Gita Buhari understands this better than most and that’s why this EP is absolutely superb.
Recommended track: I Used To Blame Others
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