Portland-based electronic artist Natasha Kmeto returns with a set of emotionally-charged tracks on second full-length 'Inevitable'. The narrative of this record coincides with Kmeto's coming out, and all-around embracing of a truer, more visceral identity. While her debut 'Crisis' dealt with moments of temptation and desire, 'Inevitable' feels like the tangible, confirmatory step in Kmeto's career as fully-fledged artist.
The very fact that her queer identity isn't so much a supporting player but a embraced part of her character makes 'Inevitable' even more potent and universal. On 'I Thought You Had A Boyfriend' Kmeto recalls the confusion of 'Crisis' but here the icy synth backdrop summons something more profound, Kmeto not content with small, tension-filled moments but the real thing. It's bold, subtle and infinitely more beguiling.
'Inevitable' is recorded much in the same way as her debut 'Crisis', in the intimacy of her bedroom with an electronic kit that has become her signature. Yet her musical outlook seems more urgent and open this time round. 'Peak' signifies the figurative highs of this record and the relationship in question, a track shrouded in intimacy and one that shows she is unafraid of taking the reins. "Tell me how you want it, then I'll show you how you need it," is the kind of lyric that pervades much of the LP - Kmeto revelling in her own strength, her intensity amplified through the sparse production.
Much of 'Inevitable' starts off shrouded in quiet, with the exception of a simple, synthetic drum beat that provides a bare backbone to Kmeto's voice. What follows is plush synths and percussive elements building to a frenzied crescendo. It's consistent and coherent, all tracks possessing their own feel yet fully functioning as something more holistic.
Kmeto's vocal stylings are reminiscent of Sade, a vocal that is clear and harmonious invoking some of the sultry, smoky vibe of '80s soul singers (title track and opener 'Inevitable' the shining example of this). While timbre and texture might be lost sometimes, Kmeto is proficient in the way her sonic tapestry supplements her vocal leanings. Brazen, and full-throated, singing as if her emotional stability depends on it, the focal point is always the voice and the message behind it. The computerised sonic flourishes only serve to augment that message. The symmetry between voice, lyric and beat brilliantly realised.
Natasha Kmeto fills the void left in a saturated, male-dominated electronic field. Her take on R&B-infused cuts plucked from existing conventions is exciting and original. The PC-heavy nature of the record creates a sort of demo-feel to some of the tracks, they're not always meant to function but on the whole they are strengthened by Kmeto's voice and heightened realism.
Kmeto is still a relatively unknown entity in the wider musical realm - a fact that needs to change, since 'Inevitable' is a body of work that deserves to proliferate. Here we have a producer-artist creating vital electronic music with a true, emotional backbone.
Words: Shahzaib Hussain
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