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Each week on the FACT Singles Club, a selection of our writers work their way through the new music of the week gone by.

With the way individual tracks are now consumed, the idea of what constitutes a single has shifted dramatically in the last half a decade, and its for this reason that the songs reviewed across the next pages are a combination of 12″ vinyl releases, mixtape cuts, Soundcloud uploads and more. Up this week: JoJo, Zomby x Wiley, Rabit and more.

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Floating Points – ‘Silhouettes’

Anupa Mistry: Mood-setting is the thing I love most about Floating Points’ music. The season’s almost over where I am, and this feels like the deep warmth of fading summer: the subtle bossa nova shuffle, a warm Fender Rhodes, all girdled by blooming patches of strings. But the video, unfortunately, makes this look like a commercial for a hydroelectric company. (7)

Son Raw: It’s a testament to Floating Points’ talent that he’s managed to ride a style that’s the epitome of tasteful politeness for his entire career without falling victim to either chin-stroky pretention or saccharine sentimentality. Someone’s got to make new drum breaks. (7)

April Clare Welsh: Whoever said art and science don’t mix didn’t conceive the arrival of Floating Points. If you know your way around our cerebral cortex you should probably make music and this track is a clever testament to Sam Shepherd’s mind. What with bubbles of avant-jazz keys and sax, the wavy synths about half-way through and those pretty orchestral flourishes, it’s a well-stitched patchwork of sounds. But it’s very much missing the body-popping funk of ‘Nuits Sonores’ and that’s a real shame. (7)

Tayyab Amin: I keep changing my mind about this new Floating Points record, though the fact that I keep returning to his music is testament to its charm. ‘Silhouettes’ has quickly ascended from one of many nice album moments to a great single and on towards one of my favourite tracks this year. From the melodies that move into the light after the two-minute mark to the string waltz around the midpoint to the use of vocals, there are so many well-executed moments of wonder. Floating Points joins that Four Tet and Bonobo tier of emotive flagship acts – I’d recently referred to it as palatable in a disparaging way, but really the greatest strength of this music is its approachability. (9)

Claire Lobenfeld: This is going a few ways for me: I love when the live percussion kicks in and that bass line is intricately jammy in a way that harkens back to so much of what I like about when indie rock had definable parameters of sound. But the chintzy flute? Not so much. I could have gone for a longer track, as I would have liked to have head how much further this could have gone. It just wasn’t enough. (4)


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SEXWITCH – ‘Helelyos’

April Clare Welsh: It’s quite fitting that Natasha Khan chose Green Man festival to unveil her new project with Dan Carey because as a place it taps into notions of rebirth, as well as the mystery of ancient cultures, and there’s a thread of Middle Eastern spiritualism running through Sexwitch which seems loosely connected to this. ‘Helelyos’ blisters like a red-hot slice of desert rock and takes hold of your imagination too; stirring up powerful minds-eye images of souks and hookahs. (8)

Son Raw: I’ll take ‘band names that could be parodies’ for 500, Alex. The vocal’s a bit I-HATE-YOU-MOM-ITS-NOT-A-PHASE, but the rhythm’s deadly. Hold tight the black eyeliner crew. (6)

Claire Lobenfeld: Excuse me, Natasha Kahn, but where is Damo Suzuki and what did you do to him? No one told me that there was going to be a CAN reunion with Bat For Lashes at the helm! But for real, I’ve been waiting for a revival of this sort to come into the fold. It’s rare that I am excited about a new band, but this gives me hope that, perhaps, people inspired by the popular outer reaches of alternative music, for lack of a better catchall, might start making music inspired by bands like CAN or The Fall or other outfits fronted by unmitigated weirdos that redefined rock music. This is undoubtedly a CAN song. But I fuck with it. (8)

Anupa Mistry: Love Natasha Khan and thrilled that she’s providing a platform for a song that shouts out “my dark girls”, which I’ll choose to assume means women with melanin in their skin. (A quick Google shows that, indeed, this Persian song was written as an ode to the beautiful women of Southern Iran). Note to anyone writing about this song/project: please refer to Edward Said’s Orientalism before doing so. Thanks. (8)

Tayyab Amin: ‘Helelyos’ is a cover of Zia Atabi’s track by the same name. The original is a 1970s Iranian funk jam, known in the West for kicking off the Pomegranates compilation that documented an Iranian music scene that was said to be flourishing at the time. It seems like Khan’s sought to interpret translations of the original lyrics, forming the words for her version, yet the lyrics are the last thing I’m paying attention to in all honesty. It’s her ominous delivery that strikes – her repetition compels and beguiles. SEXWITCH have reused the drums and bass from the original, with horns replaced in favour of creeping riffs and one-off whistles drawn out into melodies. In their hands it becomes less of a come-hither floorfiller and more of a menacing psych whirlpool, yet its enticement doesn’t lie in being energy-giving – it’s draining. (6)


Rabit – ‘Pandemic’

Son Raw: I have no idea how or why this is supposed to be more political than his previous work but it bangs hard. While too many of these post-club beats (yeah, I’m running with it) devolve into exercises in sound design, this keeps grime’s blunt impact even as it tones down that genre’s overall influence. Rabit’s always been at his best when it comes to floating atmospheric material, but this bodes well for the album. (7)

April Clare Welsh: Have STOMP teamed up with Skinny Puppy? This track is so industrial it sounds like it’s sampling actual junkyard metal. Those machine guns drums are brutal – you can always rely on Tri Angle to frighten the living daylights of out you with some seriously freaky noise. And wait – is someone being buried alive? Probably not one for the annual family get-together. (8)

Anupa Mistry: Terrifying. All that artillery makes me really excited about the coming season of The Walking Dead. (8)

Tayyab Amin: It sounds like a disaster unfolding, in that it’s chaos with no indication of how or why. Horror has bled into forcibly broken club music over the past couple of years, and it’s hard for me to tell how much of it is macabre indulgence and how much is cathartic necessity. Is it the horror of reality that has broken club music, or has hammering club music into different paradigms wrought its own horror? That’s enough of fantastical speculation – I’ll have to face my fears and hear the full record to get a clearer picture, but for now this gets a (7).

Claire Lobenfeld: I am still reeling from Rabit’s set from the Tri Angle five year anniversary party back in May and the stuff I’ve heard from Communion has kept me enrapt. This entry is particularly dank and brutalizing, but still completely danceable. I hope all future raves are this murky. (7.5)


Zomby & Wiley – ‘Step 2001’

April Claire Welsh: Apparently Wiley’s “a chicken and pasta man” and this is the collaboration of 2015. Hands down. (9)

Son Raw: This could have been so much more if Wiley had bothered to record a new vocal, but considering how cantankerous and contrarian he can be in regards to his classic sound, let’s be thankful this happened at all. Zomby could straight up drop an album of these Eski-sketches and the world would lap it up. Where were you in ’02? (8)

Anupa Mistry: I haven’t stopped listening to this for days. Zomby’s Twitter commentary is amongst my favourite; so much so that, for a while, I forgot that he even makes music. ‘Step 2001’ isn’t just a reminder – it’s a notice. Your fav might be able to YouTube some old tunes, but Zomby can rebuild it for 2015 and get the OG on the track. A wall-slapper for real. (10)

Claire Lobenfeld: This bangs really hard and, personal comments aside, the union of Zomby and Wiley is seamless. But here’s something I found totally distracting: the line about basmati rice. That got me in my head to the point that I wanted to catalogue every mention of food in a grime song in 2015, starting with Novelist’s “When I’m in the pub, it’s chicken and chips / Cos eating healthy’s expensive” bit. Send help. (7)

Tayyab Amin: basmati-8.31.2015 (9)


Zombi – ‘Mission Creep’

Son Raw: Fun fact: this band also has a name riffing on zombies. I didn’t know I needed to hear a blistering prog-funk jam today but apparently I did – that synth riff gets aggravating over a whole track but the playing here is airtight so I’ll forgive the leisure suits. (5)

Claire Lobenfeld: This just sounds like everything of its ilk done before with slightly too many Tommy by The Who vibes. (3)

Anupa Mistry: Is this what plays when you think you’re clicking on new Zomby but it turns out you’ve being rickrolled? (1)

Tayyab Amin: This is a bit dated, it’s not really doing much and that bass is making me very upset. I would have really enjoyed this as part of the Deus Ex soundtrack, though. (4)

April Clare Welsh: Zombi’s Giallo-ready instrumentals often feel a little too formulaic to have any kind of meteoric impact. While it’s something I know I should like on paper, this new track somehow manages to sound even flatter and more contrived than previous efforts and I just think anything pertaining to the cosmic should be able to blast me into infinity – and beyond. (5)


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JoJo – ‘Save My Soul’

Anupa Mistry: I love JoJo. She is a beautiful singer and an absolute gem of a human who has been through so much over her career. I initially avoided listening to the new stuff because it was branded as part of a three single set: a “tringle” – a phrase I hope to never hear again. The thing about JoJo is that she’s so earnest and she kills a ballad, but ‘Save My Soul’ is album-filler fodder. What we really need from her is light-heartedness: something sonically along the lines of ‘When Love Hurts’, but a little less grave, some Max Martin shit that’ll knock Ariana Grande off her ass. (6)

Son Raw: The top YouTube comment for this is: “I cried in a Mcdonalds hearing this for the first time.” Can we take a moment to appreciate that imagery? A young woman, forced to her wits end by an uncaring city where billionaires play and the working class toil. She’s alone, miserable in her bubble and then… this song comes on. I’d cry too. (2)

Tayyab Amin: It’s so hard for me to remember anything about this song after it’s over but JoJo is going IN on the chorus. What is the drum fill from ‘In The Air Tonight’ doing at 3:10 though? Fantastic. (5)

Claire Lobenfeld: Controversial question: Why exactly are we clamoring every single time JoJo comes back? This doesn’t touch ‘Leave’ or ‘Too Little, Too Late’. It’s just some Keyshia Cole-ing with stronger vocals and less of the emotional punch, musically and lyrically. There is more engaging pop music being made by Carly Rae Jepsen and Hailee Steinfeld and R&B has run about 20 billion laps ahead of where JoJo is at right now. Don’t get me wrong, this is super well-made, the singing is flawless and it has a ton of catchy appealing, but this isn’t a game-changer. (6)

April Clare Welsh: JoJo was the one-hit girl queen of sassy R&B pop in the noughties but unless you’re Alicia Keys, a piano ballad is pretty hard to pull off. This is far too pseudo-earnest for my liking – bring back the pop. (4)


Final scores:

Zomby & Wiley – ‘Step 2001’ (8.6)
Rabit – ‘Pandemic’ (7.6)
SEXWITCH – ‘Helelyos’ (7.2)
Floating Points – ‘Silhouettes’ (6.8)
JoJo – ‘Save My Soul’ (4.6)
Zombi – ‘Mission Creep’ (3.6)

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