Feeling her way through a sonic scrapbook of ideas and encounters, Raisa K creates an experimental sound scape ridden on a dynamic pop thrust. A debut solo release by the London-based producer –better known as keyboardist for Micachu and the Shapes, Raisa Khan –Feeder is a slightly manic EP dropped on brand new label Technicolour.
As a record that’s been a long time coming, you can hear the eclectic influence of that small, though vibrant, East London cluster that Khan is very much a product of. Having formed part of rapper DELS’ live garrison up until recently and worked with Evian Cafun, she fits snugly with that ‘London sound’ of post-grime youngsters weaned on its own diversity and nourished by the resulting creative wealth, along with the likes of, say, Hot Chip, The XX and Ghostpoet. In Feeder, you can hear that penchant for melodic electro-rock hybridisation shared by friends and collaborators the Laurel Collective, the odd appearance of Mica Levi’s famous ‘chopper’ –debuted by Micachu and the Shapes’ Chopped and Screwed project in 2010 –as well as drum samples from band mate Marc Pell.
In fact this EP is an assembly of collected sounds, images and ideas gleaned from Khan’s own rich history of experience, collaboration and sound stockpiling. The words “over, over, once more over” are punctuated by the echo of someone blowing air in album opener ‘Repetition’, while an abbreviated high hat sample, amelodic keyboard and whirling guitar mimics the madness of a person who appears to be talking to themselves. ‘Bowl With A Hole’ follows the sneer of nihilistic tendencies, as expressed by some bizarre babble over forkless meals and self-defeating kitchen utensils, all across the blunted pop, tug and pull of the song’s own propulsion. Khan’s tuneless vocal, meanwhile, swaggers drunkenly through all of it.
In a typically aloof manner, Khan verbally creates an emotional distance, while immersing her audience in the sensory surroundings of musical textures made to be experienced, and not just listened to. It finds joy in collecting the discarded remnants of her own life and that of others. It’s the spinning rhythm of ‘Even Better Even Worse’, the bitter people-pleasing versus self-interest of title-track ‘Feeder’ (“She’ll even sew the holes in you eyes up, if you can’t stand the sight of her”) and the languorous sway of squeaking guitar lines and an unsteady forward-motion of appropriately-titled ‘Seasick Sailors’ that makes Raisa K so personally relevant.
These emotional surroundings could easily be described as a well-used inner lounge room, cluttered with worn furniture and sentimental knickknacks. But here, all the seemingly incidental sounds and ideas have been carefully considered and constructed to create an unsettling assemblage of ideas, where lyrics –featured on only four of the seven tracks –are only secondary to the feeling of the remainder.
Raisa K’s Feeder is out on Technicolour January 14, 2013.