It’s hard to call this deliriously on-point five-track collaboration between New York City vocalist Niia and Providence, RI-based electronic producer The Range, a proper EP. Titled Breaking, the tracks are all uniformed with that strange, sepia-toned and split-faced artwork, and appeared on Niia‘s SoundCloud page on December 8 with absolutely no words to contextualize the release. Fair enough. A description to accompany these songs is hardly necessary, and I can appreciate an artist who can appreciate a sense of mystery.
Tracks like “Breaking” and “David’s House” establish a very clear shift in this artist’s three-year catalogue of self-released covers (“BTSTU,” “Mad World” and “You Only Live Twice” among others) and collaborations with various producers. Where Niia‘s two-month old Generation Blue EP–boasting production from Rhye‘s Robin Hannibal–is docile and demure against mature, and sometimes boring, beats. EP Highlights “Numb” and “Body” are re-visited in this most recent collaboration with The Range, alongside new original numbers “Breaking,” “Last Man” and the slow-creeping showstopper “David’s House.” Doused in a generous dose of buoyant breakbeats and propulsive house rhythms, The Range lends a startling, previously unheard vitality to the brilliant, soul-stricken voice of Niia. Title track “Breaking” is easily the most provocative number, a taut stream of synths and a crystalline wave of piano chords riding UK garage-style energetic pulsations. Stream the five-track collaboration in full below.