Published Nov 04, 2019It is difficult to hate on the musical sound of Sudan Archives. Based in Los Angeles, the vocalist, violinist and producer born Brittney Parks isn't yet a double threat — as in equal proficiency in both disciplines — but there is a playful and creative flair about Athena that take things over the top.
Athena is an extension of G-Funk, modern soul and the lessons and techniques gleaned from West African electronic dance grooves and musicians such as Sudanese violinist Asim Gorashi. This project, as conceived by the artist, wraps itself in an Afro-futurist stance, an approach to neo-soul that feels right at home played next to the sounds of FKA twigs or Solange. But Sudan Archives still has room to grow while she defines her sound.
As it stands, the "black Athena" motif is working: the swelling strings and electro bite of "Confessions" speaks of belonging and fitting in, the pomp of "Black Vivaldi Sonata" is fuelled by its hypnotic swoon and the rap cadence of "Limitless" speaks of endless possibilities one believes in when young. The sexy-sultry-funk of "Pelicans in the Summer" is ambitious, layered in scope and hits the spot, while the drip of "Honey" is a slow burner that doesn't feel fully formed, but washes over you regardless.
An artist in full exploration mode like Sudan Archives excites for both the existing output and for the higher heights they will potentially attain. (Stones Throw)