Via Brownswood Recordings “Skinny Pelembe corrals together a cast of talented friends for his new EP. It’s his most ambitious release to date, boasting a different group or artist featuring on each of its tracks, each of them an act he’s met through music or through linking with Brownswood’s celebrated talent development programme Future Bubblers two years ago. Across its four entries, he bridges hip-hop, psych-rock and jazz-influenced tangents, cutting out a diverse cross-section of the city’s music scene. It’s a document of the connections he’s made as an artist, and is the most collaborative project he’s worked on so far.
The title of the EP comes from some advice which Skinny noted to himself on an old notebook. Each of its songs started as a rough idea which was then fleshed out and re-imagined with his collaborators.
On ‘I Just Wanna Be Your Prisoner’ with Hejira, for example, it turned out to be a brighter-spirited song than he envisioned. Drawing out new shades of his offbeat, psychedelically-minded vision, Hejira’s Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne complements Skinny’s vocals for the track’s hooky harmonies. (The track reflects the environment where it was recorded too: the synth sounds were sampled from sirens outside the Peckham studio where they recorded.)
On ‘Not Your Friend Not Your Enemy’, he works with Yazmin Lacey, a fellow Future Bubblers alumni. It’s an atmospheric, ear-catching production, Lacey’s voice colouring the music with a comforting warmth. ‘Live From The High As a Kite’ is made up of contrasts: Sonia Bernardo (who sings for Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera) contributes softly-sung vocals which are the foil to Skinny’s full-throttle spoken word. Likewise, the track’s opening tension is balanced by a raw release of drums and guitar in its second half.
‘Field Notes #1’ ends the EP in contemplative fashion, teasing out material that will find its way onto his next release. It sees him work with Emma-Jean Thackray, a much-respected trumpet player and composer, whose plaintive playing is in tune with Skinny’s subdued vocals.”