Photo Credit: Daniel Sannwald
The past few years have been filled with musical projects attempting to bridge, evade or make irrelevant the digital/physical divide. No project has been more successful in that than Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones’ Fractal Fantasy, a platform that has grown to encompass exclusive digital zones, interactive art installations and a genuinely immersive live act that has been on the road for several years now. Considering the complexity (in sound design as much as the scope of the project) and specificity of their work, it’s difficult to imagine another artist fitting seamlessly into the FF aesthetic, but that notion was bucked with the introduction of Xzavier Stone. The Zurich-based artist was introduced in full earlier this year via the THIRST LP, a fluid, eternally bouncy collection that followed several collaborations with fellow FF members and a bootleg compilation that helped assert the musical space that Stone was drawing from.
Phrased as “a contemporary take on 2000s Rap and R&B through the lens of a European mixed race adolescent,” THIRST‘s palette will be familiar to fans of 2000s production mavens like Timbaland, Scott Storch and Swizz Beatz, a sound that both ushered in the contemporary rap and R&B production mode and was more linked to the traditional musicality of past major label studio music. And whereas Hawke and Jones often dive into the magnificent excesses of contemporary club music with reckless abandon, Stone is often more reserved, finding space for something akin to pop songwriting on tracks like “CCW” and “XLYT”. The album is strewn with overt references to regional rap musics like bounce and snap as well, introduced as loving tribute before being thrown into the blender and later manifesting in an entirely new context.
Stone’s Astral Plane Mix offers further context, drawing lines between contemporaries outside of the FF universe (Lunice, Sega Bodega, SOPHIE) and originals from Lil Uzi Vert, Mariah Carey and PNB Rock. Bits of Bangladesh production, a subdued Alkaline rendition and hyper-modern sound design interject, connecting individual nodes across time and space and drawing everyone from CYPHR and Ssaliva to Rich Boy and Trae Tha Truth into the same melange. You can download Stone’s mix here and hit the jump for a full track list.