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Anohni's Hopelessness is one of the most visionary, yet politically charged pop records to emerge in 2016. Produced in collaboration with two stars of the electronic spectrum, Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke. Singling out two album centerpieces in a cappella and instrumental mode; 'Drone Bomb Me' and '4 Degrees' as a limited concentric groove 12" pressing.
Commenting on the environment ‘4 Degrees’ pushes forward the message of climate change and asserts that we’ve perhaps gone too far to reverse the damage done to the earth. Isolated from the equation, Anohni's a cappella is an absolutely flooring example of her haunting vocal chamber-music style. Using the concentric grooves, when the needle hits the instrumental, what really stands out is just how incredible an example of the crossover between the high-gloss hip-hop Hudson has produced for the likes of Kanye West, Pusha T and Drake, and the tech savvy futurism of OPN's underground club sounds, most recently displayed on his ace collab with DJ Earl.
Drone Bomb Me takes the perspective of a seven-year-old girl whose family have been killed by anonymous sentinel - with lyrics “Blow my head off/Explode my crystal guts” evoke endless horrors of war. Again Anohni's a cappella when removed from the original track's epic, sweeping glow provides a startling example of the range of sonic dynamics she is able to appropriate when in front of a mic. The instrumental again shows the production talents of the group to maximum effect. Sparkling twilight synths and heart pulling strings with a zigzag texture joining the dots between the earliest bootleg bangers of HudMo Ooops!-era and OPN's GOD left-field pop.
A fascinating dissection of one of the most interesting collaborations of 2016, whether you are a sample-ready producer waiting to lap up the vocals or a DJ looking for an end of night euphoric injection to tear the roof off, the range of possibilities here is vast. For the rest of us it's a fascinating window into the various elements that came together to make of Hopelessness the album of the year on Bleep.