Azekel
Azekel Unreleased ep
Thunderlightning Records

We are big fans of Azekel around here at The Typescript.  The London-based, Nigerian-born artist makes smooth, progressive R&B, centred around wicked beats.  His new Azekel Unreleased EP is out now on all your favourite streaming platforms.  He calls this his quarantine ep.  Azekel got his first break when he was noticed by the one and only Prince (RIP), and he has also worked with industry heavyweights Massive Attack and Gorillaz.

Unreleased features two songs we’ve already covered here at The Typescript, ‘Thrills, feat. Oyinda‘ and the sublime ‘Crescent Moons.’  The latter is perhaps one of my favourite R&B tracks of all-time.  The ep was recorded in London before he boarded a plane (pre-quarantine) for LA, where he worked Om’Mas Keith (who has worked with heavyweights Frank Ocean and Erykah Badu).  The influence of his time with Massive Attack is clear on this ep, with the darker sounds, as compared to her début album, Our Father, from 2017 (and that is one wonderful album).

Unreleased opens with ‘Thrills, feat. Oyinda,’ and the track’s wicked little sliding bass is just sublime. I would go so far as to say that it makes the track.  That segues into ‘Freeway,’ and, along with the Massive Attack influence, I can hear echoes of Frank Ocean, who, in his earlier career, had these wicked, nasty beats under his music.  ‘Freeway’ is built up around this slow-moving, languid bassline that perhaps echoes getting from Point A to Point B on the LA expressways.  Azekel’s voice is at a perfect timbre for this slow-burning jam, the beat being made by this climbing bass line that repeats throughout the track, which changes directions a few times.

In the wake of ‘Freeway,’ ‘Crescent Moons’ and its insistent beat is like a splash of cold water.  And Azekel’s honey-dripped voice, reflecting on the dissolution of a relationship and his creative process, means that this track remains one of my favourite of the year.

The ep ends with ‘How Comes?’ which sees Azekel singing in a falsetto over a flowing guitar at the start, before the beat kicks in and his voice reverts to his usual honey-dripped sound. He also presents his vocals in a manner that is almost rapping, reminiscent of Frank Ocean, without being derivative.

Taken together, Azekel’s brief ep, all of fourteen minutes, is a text-book case on the tease, leaving the audience wanting more of this new, darker, revitalized crooner.  I can’t wait to hear what’s next.