Zambia-born UK artist Laxcity, aka Joshua Mbewe, has been carefully concocting his lush yet delicate sound with each release, and now it comes to fruition in the release of his six-track Purity EP via ALT:Vision Records.
If you've been following Laxcity for a while, you are familiar with his expert-level productions and suave, laid back tunes. His style oozes with warm atmospherics and boasts an ability to stand in its simplicity, and this EP lives up to everything you might expect from him and more. Purity serves as a coming-of-age story, and a “special milestone,” as Josh says it’s given him clarity on his ultimate purpose – to make music.
Opening the pack is the gentle introduction "Blue Sky" - soft mallets ring as they run through their riffs, softly swaying you into a space of meditation. Building strings start to glide alongside, and for a moment you forget that you aren't listening to an orchestra perform in front of you. Each instrument compliments the next as one by one they complete the first piece of the puzzle, and center you in your feels for the rest to come. “The first song ‘Blue Sky’ captures what I was feeling [in Madeira], massive waves of awe. As I stared into the clear blue sky, it sparked nostalgia," recalls Laxcity. "It reminded me of my childhood in Zambia, when this was a normal thing. To have that taken away from me as I moved to the UK made me not only miss it, but forget about it entirely. It was like a flame inside me had died after the move, but Madeira restored the oil in the lamp.”
Now we ease our listening into the previously released "Purity," which features Laxcity himself on the chilling vocal. Atmospherics run rampant as vocal oh's and ah's swirl along the background. A lead synth starts to emerge as energy builds, and brings us to a vocoder layered couple of lines, reminiscent of Imogen Heap or EDEN. These first two songs feature no drums, and serve as a brilliant warm up into the following four.
For the third track "Just Try", also previously released, Laxcity pairs up with EMIA to pick up the pace, as she delivers an impactful topline worthy of a save to the library. The production perfectly sits behind her voice, allowing it to be the center element while resonating synths and a crispy clap keep the energy. This one will hit home if you've found yourself in a situation where you wish that person would "Just Try" a little harder.
We are over halfway though now, and just like a jolt of mid-day coffee, Laxcity delivers a dose of energy in the UK garage-inspired "Focus" ft. Kudu Blue. Vocla panning with Kudu's sulty voice meets a deep synth drop and overall groovy nature.
"Cold" comes as a future beat full of crunchy synths, soft strings, and hard-hitting claps. It sounds the way you feel on the last day of a vacation, starting to wind down but still with the energy for one last night. Soft verses contrast with a punchy chorus as the song prepares the listener for the sixth and final track.
Closing out the EP is the lo-fi leaning tune "Refined." Bitcrushed synths ring through the speakers, guiding into the percussion and unfolding into a Postal Service-esque pad at the end. Laxcity perfectly draws back each element slowly, letting you hold on for just a couple seconds longer as a young child talks until the song stops.
Listen to Purity here.