Klein’s music is underpinned by a strikingly on-point aesthetic. Her latest album cover looks like it could either be the result of a five-minute fuckabout on MS paint or the meticulously planned result of a Goldsmiths design thesis. After tracking her down, we’re no closer to finding out which is nearer the truth. “I was never allowed to indulged in art,” she told us via email. “Forbidden actually.”
Yet, there’s something that feels completely honest about Klein’s mode of experimentation. Her music is grainy and raw, the kind of disorder that could be completely unintentional but also feels sweated over. On her new album ONLY, unmeasured beats, reversed vocals and obtuse groans sit alongside a sample of the very same Drake Vine that prefaced Skepta’s 2015 hit Shutdown. As an observer, it’s hard to point to the exact inspirations, but in conversation she cites “the ultimate donny from Bristol called Silver Waves” and RnB megastar Brandy as influences. Klein also points to her upbringing in a Nigerian household as a key factor in her musical genesis. “I come from a strong Nigerian pentecostal background where literally I was only allowed to listen to Kirk Franklin or Yinka Ayefele so that has definitely influenced my music,” she explains. “For a very long time gospel was all I knew.”
The producer, raised between LA and South London, has been making music for a while but only recently found her niche. “In the past few years I’ve started messing around with things and bits and piecing them together and it’s sort of sounding alright,” she types as we’d imagine she’d talk. “I’d always made stuff but it was pretty hilarious, my mate Tia would tell you and say it was all Kate Nash covers because she was literally everything.”
What makes Klein’s unapologetic mess so engaging is an overall sense of playfulness. From her internet-informed aesthetic to the wildly varied influences that permeate her work, everything seems ordered, and purposefully enigmatic. It’s a playfulness that seems symptomatic of modern times, an adverse reaction to harsh, sincere posturing. Klein and her peers are pulling out the rug from the pompous art world. About time too.
OneOhTrix Point Never / THEESatisfaction