Like the universe we call home, the world of music is constantly expanding, reaching new dimensions and forming sonic galaxies along the way. With the onslaught of globalization and rising technology, music has become genre bending in its essence, flowing freely from inspiration to inspiration and conquering areas otherwise untouched.
Much like the metaphors elaborated above, Alina Baraz found her way into my ears through musical discovery, with a little help from technology, of course. When I was first graced with the sound of her voice, I immediately felt as though the sound was coming from afar and being whispered sweetly up close simultaneously. It’s intimate and grandiose all at the same time. And it makes you feel good. The sense of relief that washes over you as the smoke clears from an uncertain situation, that’s just how powerfully Alina Baraz’s voice can transform the atmosphere of an entire room from shadow to comfort in seconds.
But a voice is one tool in the shed, however sharp it may be. Great thing the Ohio-native comes full of other tricks up her creative sleeve. She’s also a masterful lyricist, directing the story of her songs with a quick-wit and eloquent pen. The specificity behind each situation, the intent connection between an unseen receiver, each track feels so personal it becomes nearly uncomfortable. Only because she personifies the worries, pains, and celebrations we all share on a daily basis; her music the mirror to our lives.
As you float through the tracks on her EP, Urban Flora, you begin to understand not only the artist, but also the persona behind each note and every vocal line. Alina Baraz is a paradox. Her voice is every bit as fragile and innocent as a rose yet the foundations and production work laid down by Swedish artist, Galimatias, shroud her vocals in an air of maturity and resilience. They’re hard-hitting, electronic in nature, but powdered with the smoothness of Soul, Funk, and even a little Hip-Hop – the type of tunes to fit any occasion. Their teamwork, however specific it is within their creative vision, gives the future of all music some hope for magic – how one flower’s humble presence can represent the entirety of nature’s beauty.
Wild, intoxicating, and hazy, like the drop in temperature before a storm, Urban Flora is filled with expressive statements that have found the perfect voice to manifest them into the universe. It’s as if the music flows through her, with Baraz as the vessel, making the raw personality tangible in every note. The effortless beauty and unyielding emphasis on her music rather than its singer not only gives life to the creation at hand, but also makes her our first unearthed gem of the season. Make sure to tune into her latest EP on Spotify and support an artist as true as they come. Finally, something refreshing.
By Pola Bunster