South-Londoner Vivien Kongolo - aka Miles from Kinshasa – is ushering in a dream of summer with new single ‘Maybe’. The track builds on the 80s-inflected sonic imprint of his most recent offerings ‘Golden’ and ‘Analogue’ - a triumvirate of songs less outwardly propulsive than his debut project ‘LIMBO’, languishing in a more refined, pop-rooted sound.
“I love a good pop song,” Kongolo says. “I’ve always wanted to explore more colours in my music. It was actually Kanye’s '808s & Heartbreak' that helped me explore something new. I owe a lot to that album, it’s the best music lesson I’ve ever had.”
Kanye’s seminal LP was predicated around artistic rebirth and reinvention and you can hear Kanye’s austere synthesis of R&B with electro-pop in ‘Maybe’. Kongolo lowers the tempo, letting the song ferment between space, solitude and melancholy.
Miles from Kinshasa explains: “I think utilising space is the biggest change I’ve made and that’s been a very conscious decision on my part, rather than trying to show off all of my tricks and ideas at once. It’s been a very cathartic, humbling experience listening to my older music and picking apart what I can do better.”
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Produced by trusted collaborator Kadiata, the duo pair Miles from Kinshasa’s affinity for sun-kissed synths with programmed vocals and a crisp synthetic beat. According to Kongolo, the track was borne from a “very organic and free-flowing” session with Kadiata.
“I never have to worry about the direction: the trust is there, our intentions behind the music are the same, so whatever we create is something I know I’ll be proud of,” Kongolo affirms.
Lyrically, Miles from Kinshasa disentangles the digital disconnect in modern relationships, flitting between resigned detachment, longing and angst. Over the course of 4 minutes, a deft balancing act ensues where subterranean feelings brew, on the brink of overflow, in a song that mines tension from release.
Kongolo comments: “At its core, it’s about being out of touch with someone you care for whether that be intimate or platonic. I’m saying adulting isn’t easy. We claim to be more connected than ever, meanwhile we’re just going off assumptions about the relationships we have with people. Maybe I’m retweeting/liking these memes because it’s the only thing keeping me from going through it 24/7, and really it would be nice if someone dropped me a 'hope you’re good'.”
‘Maybe’ is the first definitive taste of his upcoming project ‘Beloved’ which Kongolo promises will be his “most idiosyncratic and honest work to date.”
Full of conviction, he expands: “I feel very good about this project, I needed to make this for myself and for everyone around me. I’m not hiding on this one; I’ve said everything I need to say right now.”
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Words: Shahzaib Hussain
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