As far as debut EPs go, there are impressive releases, and then there’s Wafia. Hailing from Brisbane, Wafia has been performing and honing her sound for years now, and finally we can now hears the fruits of her labour with XXIX.
Being released on Future Classic is a huge achievement in itself, with the tastemaker label playing home to the likes of Flume, Chet Faker, George Maple, Ta-Ku and so many more. But upon hearing any one of the five tracks on her record, it’s no surprise at all that the label jumped at the chance to have her on their books.
In a time where the music scene is saturated with “future soul”, “future pop”, “future RnB” and many more “futuristic” styles, it really does take something special to stand out in a crowd. Wafia has that something special. With a voice that glides across thick, buzzing beds of warm electronic beats, she sounds at one with her production. Encapsulating a certain element of emotion in her electronic sounds, her dynamic range rises and falls so effortlessly, whilst her complex rhythms weave throughout thick synth lines.
From the opening Prelude into the hip-hop styled The Raid, her vast array of influences and inspirations are laid out for all to see, but she never once sounds like a copy of anyone else. Her lead single Heartburn, with co-production credits going to labelmate Ta-Ku, reached number 1 on the Hype Machine charts, and is one of the best tracks of the year in this writer’s opinion, with it’s forlorn lyrics and piercing beats, whilst شيطان (Untitled) shows a more haunting side of the rising star.
Wrapping things up with the collaborative Fading Through featuring Vancouver Sleep Clinic, you are left with an exciting feeling like you’ve just heard something really special. There isn’t much word from the artist herself, which perhaps adds to the air of mystery that surrounds her. One thing is for sure though, Wafia is absolutely one to keep an eye on and this EP is concrete proof that she is in a league of her own.