Alina Baraz & Galimatias – Urban Flora

RiYL: Sorrow, Chet Faker, FKA Twigs, The Hics, Raily Milo, Kyson
Recommended Tracks: “Show Me,” “Make You Feel,” “Pretty Thoughts”

Electronic music has shown its emotional side in recent years, but rarely has the world seen a finesse as fine as what is occurring in 2015. Dance music has always been redundant, but the infectious rhythms coupled with the emotive songwriters of the new age of electronic music have expanded the genre’s palette. Hip-hop is still about social struggles and/or life in an imperfect world, and that isn’t bound to change. Classical music is just old, but you can’t remove the very origin of music popularization, much less replace it. So what’s left: combinations. This is why in the year 2015, we witness a very unique and important time in music where there is a coalition of styles and feelings towards all types of music, giving birth to sounds and artists never even heard by the human ear. Galimatias’ virtuosic genius, mixed with Alina Baraz’s divine vocals, have created the epitome of this artistic fusion and have released it in a brilliant 8-track project called Urban Flora – EP.

Summoning elements of down-tempo hip hop and bizarre, yet entrancing electronic sounds, wrapped in a single package of respectable, classically trained and deadly precise chord structures and progressions, Galimatias has proven himself time after time with his releases. He pours this style into the collaborations with his featured vocalist, Alina Baraz. But who is this songstress? Honestly, the perfect match. Cleveland native Baraz found herself next to the Dane, Galimatias, through the wonders of the internet, pairing an otherwise foreign duet in our reality. In today’s scene, there are no two as faultless as this duo, harmoniously complimenting each other sonically and in emotional musicality.

Each track resembles a diary entry of Baraz towards that star-crossed love interest, seemingly scored by Galimatias, and always vividly painted in a beautiful landscape by lyrics and rhythm. The listener dives into a multicolored brain bath of synesthesia and sensual vibes with accounts of lust, desire, love and other innuendos of passion. But along the way, you achieve of sense of how the surreal world looks and feels like created by the two, something not often felt through an album as recent as this. The original collaboration, “Drift” exemplifies this with images of swaying through waves slowly as you drift across a liquid-y ether. Each track produced there after further reinforces this imagery, pairing ambient, picturesque moments of human and human connecting intimately. All of this is verified through the tone of Baraz’s voice through all works and the gentle beats of Galimatias.

Other thematic phrases hint at drug usage, in fact, particularly “getting high” which is heard in 3 or more tracks. This I feel is to bring to light how common it is and its association with the romantic lifestyles of the people. Of course, if any one listening has partaken they can see familiarities, and even relate, if in tune with their emotional side enough. This doesn’t take away from the value of the message the music tries to get across in any sense, only highlights the current state of things in a social context. Less analytically, it is these lyrics and the sounds that pair together and create either a smoky, spacey, or fluid sensation when listening and it should be noted how well this is expressed.

The bottom line is this is a fantastic work of music. Perfectly combining elements of several genres, stylistically, and finessed with emotive lyrics. Galimatias pulls all the stops and shows off his pure style of electronic down-tempo and wide array of instrumentation; a really commendable job which prompts a superior future for him on a world level. Alina Baraz shines with her soft vocals that quickly put her in the spotlight for the next great singer-songwriter, not just as a featured vocalist. Together they form an alliance which is unstoppable, producing the ultimate compilation of love tracks fit for the internet, for the outdoors, for space travel, for anywhere.

Variations of the cover supplied for Oska Designs

Update: Formal interview conducted with both artists here. One of their first public statements together over details on the creative process.

"Show Me"
“Show Me”
“Can I”