Updated: Dec 6, 2020
"feel away": slowthai ft. James Blake & Mount Kimbie
Production: Dom Maker
In recent times, the name slowthai has become synonymous with politically-charged controversy; be it his 2019 Mercury Prize performance featuring a fake severed head of Boris Johnson, or more recently his uncomfortable sexual advances with comedian Katherine Ryan at the 2020 NME Awards. ‘feel away’, released earlier this year, offers a much-needed resetting of the dials for slowthai.
‘feel away’ is dedicated in memory of slowthai’s baby brother Michael John, and swaps out punk showmanship for lyrical vulnerability (‘Suddenly not half the man I used to be/ But truthfully, it hurt what you could’ve been/ It’s not you, so I guess it’s me’). In his opening and only verse he raps about rebuilding a broken relationship, with his flow nicely anchored by two dovetailing piano loops.
Joining forces with Mount Kimbie and James Blake, we’re offered a new strand of slowthai’s sound. Blake’s characteristically haunting vibrato tone makes an appearance after the first chorus, providing a gentleness well-suited to the track’s sombre, ashy palette. The pair draw on their minimalist electronica work to construct a calmer and tamer soundscape. For an artist renowned for a gritty, punk-grime sound, ‘feel away’ is a very welcome addition to slowthai’s oeuvre.