Lady Blacktronika - A Lonely Space Program

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  • Though she's referred to herself as The First Lady Of Beatdown, Akua Marcelle Grant's work as Lady Blacktronika is defined by vocals. Her voice evokes a sense of longing; distant wails seem to convey intimate feelings. Grant first came onto the house scene 20 years ago as a vocalist. As a house music artist with an extensive discography, it's now clear she had more to say. Her first records were molten, Detroit-style thumpers, which—after a long period of rejection—were championed by Mike Huckaby. Deep house, disco edits and a techno alias called Femanyst followed. Her catalogue is dotted with music that is in turns raw, sassy and melancholy. Grant's latest album, A Lonely Space Program, burrows into a deep house sound, with muffled kicks and decaying vocals cocooned into the mix. That's no surprise considering the album arrives on Skylax, a prolific label whose catalogue includes reissues of K-S.H.E.'s Routes Not Roots, a series of EPs and also an album on Comatonse. A similar sense of isolation resonates on A Lonely Space Program, its drowsy pulse reminiscent of early '90s New York house. But A Lonely Space Program doesn't paint a narrative like K-S.H.E., AKA Terre Thaemlitz. Instead, it presents a variety of subtle afterhours tracks, built around demure chords and heavily swung drums. Though A Lonely Space Program is comprised of various styles of house, its lulled tempos, over time, can seem uniform. It's the vocals that make the album memorable. Delivered in floating, desperate phrases, the sung melodies become the heart of each track. "Hurtin' Thing"" tops off its seasick chords with bellows of heartache. "Don't Know Why I Said It (Förlåt!)," the skeleton of a deep house track, is flush with gorgeous, lo-fi moans. It's been said that words become unnecessary once meaning is understood. That rings true on A Lonely Space Program. The album's strength comes in the message the tracks—and Grant's voice, especially—suggest: if you are hurt, A Lonely Space Program can be a place to find solace.
  • Tracklist
      01. Again See Spring 02. Hurtin' Thing 03. Who Doctor 04. How I Miss My 05. Oh Lawd 06. Throw Yo Mic 07. Don't Know Why I Said It (Förlåt!) 08. At Home Goin' Crazy 09. A Lonely Space Program 10. Games 11. My Best Friend