Album Only

The Pale Queen


Tru Thoughts
TRU378DC | 2019-11-28  
'The Pale Queen' is the self-produced second album from solo producer, singer and songwriter Rhi. With lead single "Swagger" featuring in The New York Times' weekly playlist and receiving plays from Lauren Laverne, Nemone, Cerys Matthews and Tom Ravenscroft (BBC 6Music), this project follows the phenomenal debut 'Reverie' which gained support from the likes of Benji B (BBC Radio 1), Toddla T (BBC 1Xtra), Lauren Laverne (BBC 6Music), Tom Ravenscroft (BBC 6Music), Garth Trinidad (KCRW), Nemone (BBC 6Music) The Independent, Clash and Dummy.

In reflecting, Rhi's attention turns to her early exposure to classical music, the impact it has had on her music and its ability to evoke the most hidden sides to human nature; "I remember from a young age playing classical piano, I had almost an aversion to major keys. If I was going to learn a song, it had to be a minor key" she muses. "I always felt more connected to a melancholy song and still do to this day. Maybe it feels more honest, in some way." This powerful emotional intensity - orchestrated by the likes of Rachmanioff, Chopin and Liszt - to create music that is both romantic and beautiful yet tragically sad and almost angry is something that Rhi channels into the dark intensity of her tracks, particularly the melancholic "Cold" and "It Was Love". This juxtaposition of feelings as classically discussed in 'Wuthering Heights' also provides the inspiration for "The Tempter"; a track that - through the relationship of Catherine and Heathcliff - questions the fine line between love and obsession.

Out of the darkness, Rhi uses 'The Pale Queen' as an opportunity to call out the disingenuity of people. Set against a backdrop of sparkling instrumentals and the sweetness of chime trees, lead single "Swagger" sees Rhi's chill-hop beats ooze all the laid-back self-assurance of the subject of the track. Sitting alongside this, "How Deep" encourages the listener to make a conscious decision of who they want to be. "It's a sobering kind of freedom". Rhi explains, "it's kind of to do with existentialism. One you accept responsibility for yourself, you realise it's all down to you."

Alongside producers like Noah Shebib aka '40' for his part in Drakes 'If You're Reading This It's Too Late' and Burial's emotionally intelligent and atmospheric creations, Rhi has previously cited Arca for his production on FKA Twigs 'EP2' as playing an instrumental part in inspiring her self-produced releases. "The music I listen to of course influences me, especially in terms of my production. I've been listening to a lot of alternative rap and hip-hop since my last release and other styles such as chill-hop, trap and phonk as well as lots of beat and bass driven music. I try not to be too deliberate with a song, I just let it come naturally".

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