NXNE ‘13: AKUA @ Hard Luck Bar – June 14, 2013

June 30, 2013 No comments
Written by Dustin Cordeiro

Photo by Dustin Cordeiro

Warm electronic sounds flooded the room of the Hard Luck Bar for NXNE’s third evening of music. Akua Carson (AKUA), a Montreal-based songstress, was the soul behind these tunes which melded together elements of R&B, new age, and electronica, all with a minimalist styling.

Akua’s approach to building soundscapes fits right in with the musical scene of her homebase. Her self-activated vocal loops, drum samples, and buoyant synth lines make Akua a clear companion to a DIY-before-your-eyes trend that’s been visible for a while out of Montreal. But her distinct voice and lyrical succinctness set Akua apart from other acts in her lane, even within the emerging R&B trend that’s happening across the board.

Tracks like “Gravity” and “Push” best showcased Akua’s lyrical and vocal sensibility. On “Gravity,” her sultry voice easily shifted from brooding to lively in time to catch the hook. The strength of “Push” was in its breezy word-flow, which was momentarily broken up by the song’s pre-chorus where things started to smolder.

But the most sublime of Akua’s songs was, of course, the simplest, a truly minimalist number called “If.” Driven by a cutesy vocal sample and sparse piano chords, the song gave Akua’s voice ample room to shine with its light melody and effortless vibe. In its simplicity, it recalled equally sparse song, “Time Flies” by Lykke Li.

It sounds like Akua’s enchanting music could quickly gain a good following, bringing her from small lounge bar to the mainstage. So if you didn’t catch this short show, you may have missed something special. But luckily, you can relive one of the show’s best moments below.

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