EXPERIMENTAL ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
Aditya Thiyag | The Chronicle
As an up and coming musician, it can be extremely tempting to follow trends that are prevalent within the mainstream at the time. However, multiple artists have found success by taking the road less traveled and experimenting immediately; from hip-hop to pop music, these four artists are redefining modern music and breaking boundaries.
FKA Twigs: Born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, FKA Twigs has been a consistently powerful force within the electronic music community for nearly a decade. Her haunting vocals coalesce with similarly avant-garde production to produce album experiences that feel cohesive enough to be screenplays. Her 2019 magnum opus, Magdalene, is a concept album that is influenced by the religious story of Mary Magdalene and has since become one of my favorite albums of all time that dabbles in nearly every genre under the sun. Through clever metaphors within her lyrics and futuristic instrumentals, Twigs hopes to shatter the norms of heteronormativity, breaking not only musical boundaries, but societal ones.
JPEGMAFIA: Experimental hip-hop artist JPEGMAFIA has remained one of the most brash forces in music recently since his debut studio album Black Ben Carson in 2016. With crass yet inventive album and song titles, his songs range from intense, punk inspired raps to melodic storytelling ballads. The Baltimore native’s prowess is most apparent within his production, as he does every aspect of the song recording process himself; from mixing and mastering to writing and producing, his talent is leaps and bounds ahead of most rappers currently in the mainstream, and with his 2021 release LP! being my favorite album of 2021, I can’t wait to see where he goes next.
Clarence Clarity: Record producer Clarence Clarity has only recently begun to make waves, but his eclectic approach to alternative R&B has quickly garnered critical acclaim. Serving as the primary producer on 2020’s Sawayama by British singer-songwriter Rina Sawayama, Clarity showcased the full extent of his producing prowess, crafting the 80’s inspired Tokyo Love Hotel and the metal infused Who’s Gonna Save U Now?. Outside of his collaborations, Clarity’s solo discography absorbs the listener in unique funk experiences that feel larger than life and the critical acclaim around it shines light on an underappreciated aspect of the music recording process for a producer building his career on blending genres.
Björk: By far the most famous artist on this list, art-pop legend Björk has yet to let her success deter her from experimenting with her music. Originally the lead singer of alt-rock band “the Sugarcubes”, Björk’s solo music career has spanned over three decades, but her music has never felt dated. Her refusal to stay in her comfort zone has led to her spawning classics in almost every genre, with her second studio release Post becoming a house and techno classic. Her uncompromising nature extended past the realm of her music releases, as she crafted a virtual reality experience, Björk Digital, which was the first ever virtual reality YouTube livestream and showcased her music videos through the years. The 56 Icelandic artist is a shining example of how artists don’t need to fall off as they age, but can instead have their music grow and evolve with them.