In November 2019, eight artists from Kenya, Uganda and the UK spent a week in Nairobi together exploring new tangents in soul music. The group, collectively known as Extra Soul Perception, is made up of Faizal Mostrixx (Ug), Hibotep (Ug), K15 (UK), Karun (Ke), Labdi (Ke), Lex Amor (UK), Lynda Dawn (UK) and Maxwell Owen (UK). Every day of the writing camp they worked with a new combination of artists, putting their powers of improvisation and collaboration to the test. The result was a body of work that captured a spirit of improvisation and collaboration, that varied between acapella harmonies, soft spoken word, transcendental gqom, razor sharp swahili rap, bumping broken beat and beguiling RnB.
The latter is the basis for the first single on their debut EP, announced today. ‘Probably Never’ is led by the Dilla of Deptford (or there abouts), Maxwell Owin, chopping up a gospel sample into a low-slung, oh-so-seductive RnB beat. Nairobi singer Xenia Manasseh accompanies with a reflection about the challenges of moving on from a relationship; a near-whispered complex cadence like Akua Naru, with a vulnerability and tone akin to Aaliyah . The session came about on the final day of the writing camp, after Xenia had heard about the sessions through local collective Nairoib RnB. Squeezed between a slow start and a photo shoot, she wrote the lyrics in under an hour and lay down the melody and harmonies in the same time again. Back in London, Max continued to build and develop, with help from housemate Joe Armon-Jones on keys.
New Tangents in Kampala, London & Nairobi Vol.1 is released in Spring 2020, featuring five tracks by all eight artists. Pre-order the EP on Bandcamp to receive an instant download of ‘Probably Never’, alongside EP teaser ‘In My Soul‘, by Kampala dancer and producer Faizal Mostrixx with Nairobi singer Karun rapping in Swahili for the first time.
All tracks from the EP will be performed live for the first time on the ESP. tour, featuring the eight artists performing solo and collaborative sets:
22 Feb: The Jazz Cafe, London
23 Feb: Band on the Wall, Manchester
24 Feb: 24 Kitchen Street, Liverpool