Words: Alex Hindley
New waves are being made within Perth's underground music scene and it won't be long before other artists will start to ride them. Along with a few others, an exceptional lineup of local talent has emerged as the 4AM Collective, a four piece group experimenting with many facets of production, pop, R&B and hip hop. The Amani EP is the latest release to come from the collaboration, specifically from the partnering of producer Sleeves and lyricist Chisekö.
The opening track Goldust provides an excellent introduction to the talents of the pair. Dripping percussion aesthetics over beautiful, wide synth tones set the mood for the song and subsequently, the entire EP. Chisekö lays down soothing, softly sung melodies and washed out rhymes to accentuate the groove of the well crafted introductory piece, an alternating style that dominates the overall feel of the release.
As She Knows (Drown) flows into frame, the consistency of the production becomes evident. Sleeves crafts elegant down tempo moods and textures them with interesting percussive elements and rich bass tones. Each song allows the duo to shine together while still allowing room for the individual artist to breathe. With a slightly grittier lyrical subject matter and the best flow Chisekö delivers on the project, the transition from impressive vocals to an instrumental breakdown is seamless and rewarding. The effort to showcase both artists is a recognisable and successful attempt.
Let The Time provides a setting sun soaked vibe whose warm tones swirl with honest raps that move away from previous subject matters. An almost inescapable comparison comes to mind with this track and the collaborative works between rapper G-Eazy and his producer Christoph Andersson, mature and soothing hip hop vibes that beg for re-listens in order to mine the more subtle personalities and confessions buried within the songs.
Finally and fittingly titled comes The End. The closing track to the EP reprises vocals from one of Chisekö's early demo releases from his high school days. It was this release, Who? that initially captivated his friends and early audiences, making for a sentimental callback. The progression between this collaborative release and the duo's early releases boasts genuine musical talent, providing interest into what both Sleeves and Chisekö will offer up in the future, solo or as part of the 4AM Collective.
It would of been interesting to hear some attempts that stepped away from the consistency of the EP's style however regardless of the lack of risks taken, Amani never feels repetitive or dull.
The influences of American hip hop in terms of style, subject matter and vocabulary are impossible to ignore in Chisekö's lyricism, making for an refreshing voice amongst local hip hop artists that remains relatable but undeniably contrasts to American musical elements.
Overall Amani is a solid release of down tempo hip hop and R&B grooves that swells with excitement at the potential of greatness that surrounds both Sleeves and Chisekö.