Bedford-based UK Electronic/UK Funky producer Lil Silva has been working on Yesterday is Heavy for over a decade now. During this time, he has produced for the likes of Adele and BANKS, amongst others, and in 2016 he collaborated with his friend, the late Virgil Abloh, for his fashion label Off-White. Silva's last body of work, his JIMI EP, came out the same year and his solo debut has been highly anticipated ever since.
Yesterday is Heavy is peace like you've never heard it before. Each component of production helps build a state of tranquillity and listening to the album washes a wave of calm over you that feels transcendental. The oscillation between the drips of UK funky, melancholy piano, the vibration of the synths and what can only be described as sounds you'd hear in space, create this spiritual atmosphere that feels as though you're opening the doors to different rooms in the house as the album drifts from track to track.
Little Dragon is no stranger to sounds such as the ones on 'Be Cool'. Each element of production builds gradually, each introduced individually while Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon carries the torch of vulnerability, this time on the topic of love. Her lyrics implicate a distance between her and her lover; the juxtaposition of an upbeat song and stomach-sinking lyrics is navigated gorgeously by her vocals.
The beginning of 'Vera (Judah Speaks)' seems to follow the beat pattern of being underwater. This is one of the more versatile tracks on the album and the UK Funky that Lil Silva is known for really comes out here. If you listen close enough, there's an occasional non-lexical vocable that is redolent of Cardi B. An inch of the spoken word arises: "We only make music that activates the chakras". There are many changes of pace on this track and Lil Silva ends it by singing about his emotions.
Full of reassurance, 'Leave It' discusses finding the one after previous detrimental relationships. Charlotte Day Wilson and Lil Silva's harmonies help elevate the dynamic of the song. A glimmer of hope is carried through the dreamy production, reminiscent of indie pop.
'To The Floor' begins with raw guitar before drums laced with trance kick in. The instrumental track sees BADBADNOTGOOD and Lil Silva join forces, each artist weaving in and out of each other's sound, producing a track full of funk as the electronic side of Lil Silva's production takes a backseat.
Sampha's first appearance on 'Backwards' is met with a high-energy drum pattern as he gets emotional with his pen, but keeps up with the change in energy. Newcomer Skiifall, known for his fusion of drill and dancehall, glides onto Lil Silva's futuristic production of 'What If?'. The song is intercepted by these motivational slices of audio, a man speaking in Patois. Skiifall spitting in Patois and the intricacy of Lil Silva's fast-paced soundscape acts like the glue that really brings the song together.
With the help of Ghetts and Sampha, 'Still' is undoubtedly one of the best collaborations to come out of the UK this year. From the gospel backing voices throughout to Sampha's heartfelt vocals to Ghetts' introspective verse, this is definitely the pinnacle of the album.
Every collaborator on the album feels well thought out, each with their own respective artistries blending in with the electronic sonic provided by Lil Silva. From housing well-known voices like Sampha and Charlotte Day Wilson to showcasing up-and-coming artists like Skiifall and Elmiene, each feature fits Yesterday Is Heavy like keys in a door, opening up a new universe with every turn.
Listen to the new album Yesterday Is Heavy by Lil Silva here.
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