Riya RiyaSeems Like / The Cycle
AUTONOMIC (NOMIC002 , 12”)
The “vocal diva” factor has always worked well in club music – and it’s not necessary to go back to the days of New York garage to demonstrate such an obvious fact, but when it comes to using it one has to be careful: the line between the sublime and the cheesy is very thin. Riya is an emerging vocalist –Laura Pacheco is her real name– of whom we have already heard this very same “Seems Like” in the mix set Autonomic –or: dBridge & Instra:Mental– recorded for the Fabric series. That ray of neo-soul light with slowed-down breaks turned up at the end of the mix to open a window to a more relaxed mood in a set that was becoming very speculative in it’s slow drum’n’bass aspect. “Seems Like” was there to calm the spirit, contribute a bit of sensuality like the trip-hop songs from the mid-nineties, and to connect the dots with soul and future garage. When hearing the song again on vinyl, it remains a vaporous production (I like the incisive notes before the chorus, they create an unresolved sexual tension that the track benefits from a lot), although you have to know how to measure it: it can get too sweet at times. That’s why the B-side is a great choice, “The Cycle”, a Skream production on which the beats remain slow but much more choppy, drenched in gloomy atmospheres, and on which the vocal part isn’t the victim of technical exhibitionism nor of the caramel melody. As the 12” is built up, it’s like they wanted to counterbalance the commercial and rave projection of Katy B with a bit of R&B passion. Not half bad, a good start in fact. Her future from now on depends on her decisions.
Claude T. Hill