Having released two of the tracks (‘Mine’ and ‘One More Reason’) as singles, R’n’B/neo-soul artist Marie Dahlstrøm’s four-track EP, 0.0, came out on Friday (25th November). She has come a long way and has developed a great deal since her previous album Gloom, which came out in 2013. This is still a seriously strong and enjoyable piece of work, but everything about this EP seems more confident: her voice, the exploratory accompaniment and production, even the structure of her songwriting. I love it when a naturally talented artist takes things to another level and you get to see their progression.
The album is hugely Dilla-esque, mixing organic and electronic with a free, hip hoppy attitude. She has collaborated producer Tom Misch on ‘One More Reason’, the first track, which is a perfect introduction to the vibe - super jammed and decorated with sensual vocals and guitar solos. ‘Home Tonight’, my favourite, features the effective polarization of prominent electronic drums and lush harmonies in the verses, followed by epic synths, strings and funky vocal modifications later on. Reminiscent of R’n’B queens of the 90s, ‘Mine’ channels TLC and Brandy and is a straight up feel-good masterpiece. There is now a lovely video for this song that was shot with Marie and dancers in Tokyo, which matches the mood of the song perfectly. Check it out. Finally, ‘The Way’ serves as a relaxed and sparse outro to this serene collection of songs, the perfect soundtrack for an evening drive, garden chill or to simply turn that frown upside-down.
For me, this is the kind of sound that electronic artists within this genre should strive for: fresh and organic while remaining experimental and unique with real sensitivity and restraint. I’m also glad to point out that 0.0 will not irritate you with pretentious lyrics and feigning intellect by squeezing long words in where they don’t belong - I feel like this is the downfall for a lot of lyricists in this genre - Marie is confident about what she’s saying without relying on clichés. This simplistic yet sophisticated sound never feels repetitive, and is hard to achieve, but is certainly taken to new highs by Dahlstrøm’s divine voice and skilled songwriting. If you haven’t heard her before, I warn you that four tracks will leave you hungry for more, of which there is plenty of the same calibre as this EP - check her out on Spotify, Soundcloud, iTunes and Bandcamp.