Wednesday 8 November 2023

'Way Out' by As Valet & So-Li

'Way Out' marks the new collaborative project from producer As Valet and vocalist So-Li who uneil their lush downtempo-inspired independent release.

When considering new projects from As Valet over the last few years, listeners would surely have now come to expect the unexpected.  Following his work with the sensational 90's hip-hop-meets-sublime electronica collective, Electric Conversation, the producer and DJ's solo outings perhaps leant more towards a hip-hop-inspired instrumental aesthetic while 'Inner Journey' (2020) and 'Canne à Sucre' (2022) - both released through the French label A Night on Canopy - marked a notable shift in As Valet's music as compositions that paid homage to his cultural roots in the Caribbean island La Martinique were lovingly introduced subsequently delivering some notably poignant pieces as a result.

Backed by vocalists LaNote and J.McFysian, 'Virgo Stellar' (Futuristica Music, 2021) saw As Valet unapologetically embrace his electronica tendencies with further support from the project's accompanying EP with remixes from Quiet Dawn, Simon S and Daz-I-Kue.

And such has become the pattern - As Valet's ability to effortlessly flit between these various styles has now become the trademark of the versatile and prolific artist and it's a thrill to see these various ideas and concepts take shape through masterful execution.

'Way Out' enlists the indelible talents of the more illusive singer and songwriter, So-Li who sounds incredible over the album's lush lo-fi soundscapes.  Delivering a vocal that elegantly drifts from understated to playful, So-Li's ethereal voice sounds tailor-made for As Valet's sublime production with each artist instinctively understanding how to bring the best out of each other's performances.... which is an aesthetic that carries through to the duo's music video for the single 'Whispers' - a stylish and intimate visual that captures So-Li's mystique beautifully.

'Way Out' further boasts the assistance of long-standing As Valet collaborator, vocalist J.McFysian, who guests on the track 'Rainbow' charmingly trading verses with So-Li and ushering in an engaging chemistry between the two.  And the album holds the additional distinction of being mixed by LaNote who is not too long removed from the release of her own dynamic project this year, 'The Nola Clarks Xprmt' (Laissedoudis Records).

The album represents another excellent project for As Valet and the releases that forge his ever-evolving musical make-up and the album further serves as a thrilling introduction to So-Li whose career we look forward to seeing flourish moving forward.

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