Know Who's Next: The Minimalist R and B Beauty of Lapsley
  • THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2016

  • Posted by: Don Saas



One of the great things about R&B is that, as a genre, it's as malleable and chameleonic as pop or rock. Everybody from Miguel to Frank Ocean to Santigold to Usher to D'Angelo to James Blake can rightfully call themselves R&B artists even though none of them sound anything like the other. And British ambient/electronic/R&B artist Låpsley is another artist pushing the boundaries of contemporary R&B.

At just 19 years old, Låpsley displays more soul and dramatic range than many seasoned veterans in the genre. Think James Blake with a mix of an effortlessly hip Adele, and you're starting to scratch the surface of Lapsley's sound. And what's even more remarkable than Låpsley crafting such a distinct sound is that she's done it without a full-length release. With only 3 EPs under her belt, Låpsley is already defining a fascinating new subniche of alternative R&B.

But what about the songs? Start with "Hurt Me" (see above). Twitchy sound effects greet you and you might think you've stumbled into an especially low-key Disclosure track (we mean that as a compliment). And then some trip-hop synths and understated percussion arrive and you wonder "ohhhh, where is this track going next?" And the answer is the idiosyncratic power of Låpsley's voice. There's a striking purity married to an air of melancholy that belies someone her age, and it drags you full-force for the rest of the track.



And although the rest of her library isn't huge, the other tracks that do exist display this same sense for melding the atmospheric and highly textured (the James Blake resemblance becomes intense in the best way on tracks like "Station"). Låpsley creates songs with...space, space that is almost begging you to explore it. It's a refreshing approach to R&B minimalism and we've got our eyes set on her inevitable debut LP. We want to hear it ASAP.

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