Big Crown Records is a label that’s become known for deep exploration and pushing sounds forward in rather unlikely territories yet making perfect sense without fail once played back. Their latest drop from El Michels Affair is no different, did we see it coming? No, but we wouldn’t expect anything else and would be surprised if they didn’t take this route on a road less traveled.
El Michels Affair returns with a new 45 that is simultaneously a new direction and the signature sound he is known for. This time EMA dips their toes into the world of Bollywood Funk and recruits Piya Malik of 79.5 for vocal duties. He has crafted yet another two sider of heavy duty shit. It also comes in a gorgeous picture sleeve courtesy of Chicago’s Deadly Prey gallery.
From the start of side A, Unathi reels the listener in and keeps them through a journey of psychedelic arrangements, unexpected detours, and relentless rhythm. El Michels again showing the performance and production prowess that has spawned not only bands, but also some independent record labels. Lyrically, Unathi is a song about progress, a vociferous call to arms urging people to come together and work collectively to achieve it.
Side B, Zaharila, is cinematic, dynamic, and an almost visual number as if it were the score to a film that’s never existed. Bent guitar notes and blaring horn stabs ride the peaks and valleys of this epic tale about poisonous whispers that destroy a beautiful love affair. Starting slow and calm with Piya’s ethereal melodies floating atop, the song eventually becomes poisoned, panicked, and frantic by the final note.