I am surrounded by the thick of darkness in a confined space. The air is still. There are no tremors but I don’t feel easygoing. My heart races as the volume of the repetitious beat increases. I am without fear but I feel a feeling of deep sorrow. I am not regretful about anything I’ve done but I feel alone, isolated in the thick of the darkness. Harlem-based serpentwithfeet’s “Four Ethers” is a soundscape with the power to induce meditation. Whenever I listen to it, a wooden ship rocks the inner linings of my mind. I concentrate and think of the dark, thickness that surrounds me. I am in a void.
Support the Baltimore-native, and order the “blisters” EP via this link. “Four Ethers” is on the extended play.
serpentwithfeet is the project of classically-trained vocalist Josiah Wise, who’s currently based in NYC (after being born in Baltimore and spending time in Paris and London), where he’s a regular in the queer music scene (maybe you saw him at The Maze in July). “I was like, ‘What would happen if I did my R&B thing over this classical shit?,’” Josiah said, and the result is his excellent debut EP blisters which is out today on the esteemed Tri Angle Records. Josiah wrote and produced the EP himself, with some additional production by his labelmate The Haxan Cloak, who’s also recently lent a hand to HEALTH, LUH, and The Body. With the R&B-Classical combo and the very recent release of a Frank Ocean album with an orchestra, it’s hard not to compare this to Frank, and the haunting melodies of EP closer “redemption” bring back some memories of that first James Blake album. It reminds me of when “alt-R&B” did actually mean something that was alternative to the mainstream, but that’s not to say serpentwithfeet is destined to stay small. Tri Angle Records may be best known for signing outsider electronic artists, but it also helped launched the careers of How to Dress Well and AlunaGeorge. It’s feeling very likely that serpentwithfeet is in the latter group.