Three months ago we premiered the collaborative track ‘WAVES’ by rapper Otarel, producer MISSU, singer Red Robyn, instrumentalist Jaedon Daniel (primarily of band Blvck Crystals) and singer-songwriter SCKIN. The track was represenatative of an established bed of talent amongst young Durban musicians, as well as the interconnectedness they share; which is most regularly true for Red Robyn and Jaedon Daniel.
Their most notable collaborative efforts include the 10-track EP PEOPLE TALK released 2 months ago, ‘Hold My Hand’ and ‘Dragons Blood’ released through Red Bull Studios last month. Their musical partnership shares some exquisitely complimentary qualities with Red Robyn’s vocals moulding seamlessly to the production and live instrumentation employed by Daniel.
Together they’ve explored the meandering path through more grassroots boom-bap style RnB to housey tracks ready for a down-tempo dancefloor. However, there is a clear distinction between tracks which are purely collaborative and those that are assigned to Red Robyn with production credit given to Daniel. ‘Left Wing’, their most recent offering, takes the form of the latter.
With a solo album due out in October, Red Robyn brings an immensely mature approach to her vocals – particularly from a composition point of view. In her latest offering, she enters immediately infront of a wall of beautifully-blended harmonies, which grow in complexity and intensity over the supporting guitar as the opening verse develops. This all drops elegantly into an infectious beat and bass combo which carries the uplifting harmonies of the chorus vocals.
“Decorate this desolate land / With sounds the flowers made / Hide me from the left wing things you do,” she chimes, until a more stripped down and slightly haunting bridge section enters with the lamenting, “Surprise me still / Take my will,” floating above erratic murmurs and delayed guitar runs. The track closes with the rhythm section from the chorus and adlib background vocals bringing some resolution to the tension introduced in the bridge.
‘Left Wing’ provides insight into a seemingly uncovered spectrum of South African pop music: soul and RnB – and particularly that where form and song structure take a more improvised approach, imitating the intimate mood created by a live performance. Only time will tell whether this soulful and optimistic sound, which is also open to captivating experimentation, will grow or not, but what is certain is that Red Robyn’s album out in October will exude the full extent of the musicality shown on this leading track.
Check out Red Robyn’s 10-track collab EP below, and be sure to keep an eye on her artist page for updates, which you can find here.