Cat No: WOT013
Title: Lapwing EP
Release Date: 2nd December 2013
Belle’s rich vocals have already pricked ears with ‘Crazy Little Thing’ (produced by Requiem) and Om Unit’s remix of ‘Delicious Delicacies’ receiving multiple plays on Rinse and NTS.
Lapwing, an EP of smoky electric soul continues in the same vein, balancing soulful tendencies with forward-looking production.
Following her curation of the Untold Songs project released by JusLike Music in aid of Amnesty International (featuring Ursula Rucker, Heidi Vogel, Vula, Ahu, Ruby Wood, Baby Sol and Stac) it’s a huge pleasure to finally release Belle’s debut EP.
The production, from WotNot’s own K15, is littered with musical influences – from the obvious 90s neo-soul and hip-hop references to bass, dub and even jungle – and the flawless balance between Belle and her collaborator is the key to this release. This is illustrated by the neck-snapping beat of Infinity, countered by a graceful, undulating lead vocal over gloriously dubbed-out backing vocals.
The skippy, two-step flavoured neo-soul of It’s All Made Up, with its big gospel-tinged crescendos, sounds like a young Destiny’s Child hitting the studio with a CMYK-era James Blake. Title track Lapwing contrasts rhythmic, meditative marimbas and Rhodes with a smoky, lyrical vocal over more dub-style backing vocals; here the beats sit back and lets the building layers of harmonies steer.
The full-on 90s neo-soul throwback of We Once Were, complete with hints of jungle that finally rise to the top for an exhilarating final minute, highlights the strength of Belle’s vocals and songwriting; while the influences are clear, the result is unique.
K15’s signature production style should excite any avid music fan about his upcoming WotNot release, with its perfectly measured bass lines, head-nod rhythms and subtle jazz-soul influence. The sense of space throughout the release leaves you aching for more of Belle’s soul-searching vocals as she balances her dynamic range with subtle jazz inflections – hopefully something we won’t have to wait too long to hear more of.