Track Review: Slowthai – “feel away” feat. James Blake and Mount Kimbie

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British rapper Slowthai’s latest single, “feel away” feels more like an intimate spoken word performance set to music than a song. The track, which features English singer-songwriter James Blake and English electronic music duo Mount Kimbie, opens with a placid, melodic flow from slowthai. He jumps into the song without hesitation and raps over a looping piano for a full minute straight before he takes a breath and the beat kicks in. It’s like slowthai is giving a monologue to a lost lover, putting all his emotions on the table. “You felt low, I took you higher than a note from Mariah / And still you got the cheek to even try and call me liar”

After Slowthai finishes his monotone discourse, that’s when the beat and hook kicks in, and slowtahai puts the blame for the failed relationship on himself. “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.” Enter James Blake. The beat drops out again, and Blake repeats the line “This time I” as his intoxicatingly beautiful voice is put on display thanks to the stripped-back instrumentals. Blake’s part builds to end “feel away” with the cultivation of everything heard thus far in the song, layering each piece like a delicate musical sandwich. 

“feel away” is exquisite and stirring, and a far cry from the booming bassline of slowthai’s grime-leaning singles, “ENEMY,” “BB (BODYBAG),” and “MAGIC” already released this year. Whether this marks a change in the artist’s forthcoming projects, only time will tell.

Jordan Snowden // @snowden_jordan

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