Kelela has one hell of a cough, muting the phone when it momentarily consumes her but bounces back earnest and warm. "I haven't done so much chilling, you know?" she explains over the call from her L.A. base. "Spent the entire summer working in the studio and in the process of wrapping [up the] album." It's the message that fans of her 2013 mixtape, CUT4ME, have long been waiting for. "I'm so grateful for how patient people have been," she says with feeling, going on to explain that she's been "going in" on her songwriting and sonic palette, working hard to make something special (she's currently working on “20 candidates for album tracks” for her official debut full-length that will come “probably at the end of next spring.”) "I've always wanted it to be the case that, when you hear the next project, you completely understand why the mixtape was a mixtape."
To tide us over, she made Hallucinogen, an EP that hints at the formidable progress she's made. On the appropriately named "Rewind," she is carefree and confident, running vocal rings around the rolling beat. On "Gomenasai," her cadence is thrillingly angular, while on the EP's Arca-produced title track she lets her hair down, allowing first-take "gibberish" to cast its own language-less spell. Below, she tells the track-by-track story of how Hallucinogen came to be, from who she worked with to what inspired her.
1. “A Message”
4. "All The Way Down"
6. "The High"