Bwana Baby Let Me Finish EP
In some ways, now couldn't be a better time for Baby Let Me Finish to be released, as the EP carries the tune that likely served as most people's introduction to Canadian producer Bwana (a.k.a. Nathan Micay). When he first uploaded the title track to Soundcloud in the early summer of 2011, it swiftly generated a considerable amount of blogosphere hype, thanks in part to the then-insatiable thirst for twisted R&B vocal samples, bubbling plinky plonky percussion, and swelling synths in the wake of artists such as Mount Kimbie and Joy Orbison. This raised a potential issue for Micay, in that his effort, no matter how moving it was at the time, could be forgotten amongst countless other efforts from his sonic peers as the dance-music zeitgeist trundled blindly along.
For the countless producers choosing to re-contextualise the voices of R&B starlets from not-too-distant memory, it's often the approach which distinguishes the small number of real artists from the masses churning out derivative, straight-to-YouTube fodder. Without question, Bwana's particular take on Ciara on "Baby Let Me Finish" is an irresistible cut that seems to indicate that the young producer belongs in the former category. Alongside playfully pitched percussion and rapid-fire rim shots, the chopped vocals comfortably complement the steady rise and fall of the synths in such a way that both the space and energy of the tune doesn't go underappreciated. A year after its initial emergence, the song has managed not to lose any of its emotion or fun—a testament to Bwana's songwriting capability. On "Nami Swan," Micay draws from similar collection of drum samples and synths, but smothers them liberally with reverb and decay to elicit their headphone-friendly richness and depth. Sure, the motifs are essentially the same as the title track, but his spacious approach has created something equally pleasant for a more reclusive environment.
Following such an auspicious a-side, the remixers do well to hold their own. The members of rising London trio Black Orange Juice (which boasts Hyperdub's Ossie alongside vocalists Paul Black and Tilz) add their own voices to a bouncy house rework of the lead track, infusing some untouched and sweet-sounding contemporary R&B into the mix. 14th, another group from England's capital, slows "Baby Let Me Finish" to a bumping 111-bpm groove in what proves to be the EP's biggest and most welcome surprise.
Impressive as the remixes certainly are, it's ultimately the original which steals the show here. Like fellow Canadians Sibian & Faun achieved with "I'm Sorry," Micay has confidently underlined the difference between a "track" and a "song" on "Baby Let Me Finish," its lasting relevance anchored by Bwana's artistry and craftsmanship.
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