Not Christmassy – still awesome – Maasai’s captivating electro album ‘Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange’

 

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Maasai’s self written and produced debut album Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange is a collision between fiction and reality. Full to the brim with drama and flair, all ten tracks are strong enough to stand alone, yet retain a coherence within the album. Dominique Teymouri and Zackarias Ekekind’s formation of this Swedish ‘cinematic pop’ duo has meant the marriage between quietly excellent percussions and powerful vocals that reminds us of Sia and Florence Welch. In fact, their overall sound creates an uplifting atmosphere that hides darkness and obscurity, a beautiful effect Florence and the Machine have given us time and time again.

Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange exudes incredible power that is sustained throughout, not least because of the fact that solidarity and inner strength are at the core of Maasai’s very identity. Taken from a Kenyan Nilotic ethnic group’s word for ‘my people’, Maasai’s music mirrors the values they hold dear. ‘Nairobi’ is the moody electronic build up that introduces Teymouri’s gorgeous vocals, with childlike fragility behind its strength. Though the use of synthesisers risk drowning out other elements in the track, Maasai has managed to capture a delicate balance that makes their music accessible, but still positively over the top.

Somewhat reminiscent of HAIM and The XX, this Scandinavian electro pop duo makes unforgettable music that cannot be contained. Whereas ‘I.D.S.H (I Don’t Speak Human)’ integrates oriental flavours from the opening synth progression, ‘Grow’ carries a melancholic vibe. The latter’s simplistic texturing demonstrates Maasai’s wonderful skills in developing uncomplicated sounds that retain substance. Regardless of the mood of individual songs however, the entire album offers music that urges you to run barefoot in the woods while wearing a flower crown. Lyrical depth adds to the dreamy and atmospheric soundscape, drawing listeners in with each passing syllable.  

‘Lighthouse’ is the perfect ending track that provides peace and tranquillity to the otherwise energetic album. Blending sounds and indistinct layers enhance its fluidity, yet Maasai handles their composition in such a way that none of the power has vanished. Although Teymouri’s vocals are at the centre of attention, Ekekind’s masterful ways with drums and synths produce a platform for Teymouri to spring from. Maasai is not the same if either artists are taken out of the equation. It is thus true to their core value that Maasai are more effective together rather than apart.  

Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange was released 20 November 2015 (Hybris). Get the album here.

Check out the video for single ‘Collide’

by Ha Vu

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