Meandering through the quiet and ominous streets of South London, shivering from the frosty temperature outside, I place my headphones on and press play on Goya Gumbani and Subculture’s KRYSTIN. I already feel a warmth soothing through my ears and throughout my body. Goya Gumbani’s music has always had this welcoming, warm tone to it, and Subculture’s dense, textured, jazzy and soothing production adds so much soul to the already vulnerable and introspective muse Goya’s able to paint over.
The subtle groove of “Intro Hymn” sets the tone for this varied, eclectic sonic experience. The vocals here are inviting, the guitars subtle but enough to pull me into this mesmeric world of soothing instrumentation and pure, introspective poetry. The project feels like entering a small, cosy chalet in the cold and icy alps. The fireplace is lit up, the heat from it acts as this thick blanket that covers my cold, shivering body. Tertia May’s vocals on “Angels & Fire” are incredible, giving such soulful depth to the track, while the vocals on “Letter to Pooh”, coupled with the subtle drums, soothing synths and guitar leads make for an incredible listen, one of the highlights on the entire album, for sure. Pearl De Luna’s vocals on both “Valley of Def” and “The Little Reasons” are beautiful and sensual, while Goya Gumbani’s spoken-word like flow is at the forefront of the track. I feel every word, every thought he spits. His delivery demands attention despite its laid back tone and flow, and “Fish out of Water” is a perfect closer, with Goya Gumbani’s final thoughts being painted on a canvas of a smooth synth and piano-led instrumental, captivating vocals on the hook, and subtle drumming that carries the melody gently throughout its final moments.
Goya Gumbani and Subculture’s work so well together. Goya Gumbani’s vocal delivery demands attention, and despite his hazy, laid back flow, it is so captivating to listen to. Couple that with Subculture’s woozy, soulful and incredibly dense production, KRYSTIN is an incredible body of work. Go check this masterpiece out and support!