TSHA wants you to feel the love on new EP, ‘OnlyL’
Image Ninja Tune
TSHA has slowly been on the rise to becoming one of the UK’s strongest new voices in electronic music. Last year’s Flowers EP largely solidified this status, a dazzling collection that revealed an immense sense of emotional depth and awareness to TSHA’s natural electronic pop affinities. The lead single Sister is probably most telling of THSA’s style, a magical mellow trance cut that, beneath layers of longing and melancholy, buzzes with a core full of brightness and optimism. This brightness TSHA’s work distinctive. There’s a definite uplifting quality to her music, emotional journeys that always end with a sense of acceptance. Whereas others err away from the notion of sentimentality, TSHA leaps head first towards it. It’s a defiant move, but unlike everyone else she seems to understand how to use the potent ingredient of sentiment in just the right amounts. OnlyL, her latest EP out on Ninja Tune, further develops the saccharine quality of TSHA’s sound by way of her eclectic and diverse influences on three, mesmeric tracks soaked in the allure of a late summer solstice.
TSHA’s music is difficult to pin down exactly; it’s a genre-defying concoction of influences from R&B to garage, to trip-hop and the Top 40. The variegated quality of her sound is best exemplified on OnlyL by Power. The track opens with a looped funk guitar riff and twinkling keys, before shifting into a mellow breakbeat accented with tabla hits. Power moves through passages of a soul sample, intermixing its motifs and melodies into a grooving, sunny house adjacent cut accented with breezy steel drum samples. It’s a pastiche of sorts that is fused together into a sui generis stylistic mode that is innately TSHA’s own. Created as a mechanism to exorcise the pent up energy of her love for club sounds during lockdown, Power is stitched together from the best moments of the tracks one might imagine TSHA escaping to on the dance floor. The title track and opener OnlyL gestures towards TSHA’s abilities as a pop producer, pulsing with the sort of dance floor sentimentality as the best of Robyn’s cry while you rave europop tracks. It’s an introspective slice of dance pop that looks to soundtrack that moment at the festival when everyone hugs each other and nothing exists but the present. I Know is possibly the EP’s strongest offering, a pensive cut that finds TSHA is a space of rumination and contemplation. Slowly stuttering and organic percussion simmers as layers of chimes, strings and resonant chords swirl into the next dimension. The track’s gradual, languid progression feels epiphanic, unfolding like a slow catharsis or the process of profound realisation in real time.
There’s an ephemeral, meditative quality to TSHA’s style, especially felt here on I Know and OnlyL. This shades her music with a sort of iridescent mysticism, an earthy and crystalline quality that feels deeply esoteric at times. It’s music that sounds deftly intimate, like sharing a secret between friends or experiencing something new with a lover. TSHA has the power to conjure emotional responses like few others, with her textures, melodies and harmonies formulating distinct tones that shade her music with feeling. Her sound exists in the same space as nostalgia, possessing the power to make us feel, reflect and rejoice. There’s a wisdom in the way she uses sound to invoke these feelings for us, making OnlyL a strangely reassuring and immensely pleasurable trip into parts of your emotional self, past and present.