LNDFK is what they refer to in the industry as a Quadruple-E, an Experimental Electronic Entertainment Entity. A free-shifting node attaching itself to impossible syncopations and burying its tendrils deep. In reality, she is a Tunisian-born, Naples-bred, Paris-dwelling singer and songwriter with a penchant for the ethereal and mind-shafting. Her new song, “How Do We Know We’re Alive”, featuring much-hyped underground rap prodigy Pink Siifu, raises an important question before we hit play. Given that her previous track with Chester Watson was called “Don't Know I'm Dead Or Not”, it seems LNDFK is giving her mortality a harsh interrogation at the moment. While we are medically termed “alive”, the blank stares surrounding us at all sides suggest otherwise, which causes understandable confusion. LNDFK takes this element of confusion, juices it up and throws it into the arena with barely a consistent hi-hat pattern to defend itself with.
“How Do We Know We’re Alive” comfortably falls into the warm fold of electronic jazz on labels like Warp and Brainfeeder, a movement of computer nerds who clinically dissected the freeform abandon of jazz, added maths and wires and unexpectedly came out with something eye-wateringly innovative. The track starts with minimal percussion and a muted chord progression, goes off on a frantic jazz breakdown, and soars on the back of LNDFK’s vocals, whispered at first then intensifying gradually. She clearly has no problem with her voice being used primarily as an instrument, an extra texture to the track. It starts out in soft focus, sitting right in the mix with the rest of the song, before indifferently switching it up a notch and displaying some sultry neo-soul chops. The discord of the music and the intoxicating vocals provide a perfect counterbalance for each other in what should be a long-lasting, mutually beneficial alliance.
With the stage set and a tonal shift required, Pink Siifu steps in to deliver the goods. On a tricky, slippery beat, he catches that eel and makes it look effortless. By leaning into the avant-garde elements of the track, Siifu drops a verse that comes and goes as it pleases, repeats refrains 3 and a half times and drops surrealist one-liners to have us chin-strokers starting a forest fire on our faces.
“We was on the other side of the news
I’m telling you, only what the street told me
What the street told me, rosy
I walk through the street like damn, I’m drowning”
This is another triumphant collaboration for LNDFK and whets the sonic palette for her debut album, further details of which are scarce and highly sought after. She seems to have found a smooth middle ground between commercial gloss and impenetrable Art, and that is where the magic happens. She also granted me the opportunity to use the phrase “muted chord progression”, which is a sort of magic in itself. Recommended as preparatory listening at an acid pre-party where you end up not taking the acid and just listen to music instead.