The art of passing stories down through generations has long been replaced by the ability to capture words as data, to be stored until beyond human obsolescence. But even though this art is no longer practised, Kae Tempest is unafraid to share their experiences with us all, in the form of beat-laden, lucid poetry. The minimal beats on ‘The Line Is A Curve’ lean on Kae’s spoken vocals, the artist directing them, as opposed to the other way around. Their handpicked transcontinental roster of collaborators stretches from Brockhampton’s Kevin Abstract on ‘More Pressure’ to the glacé lullaby of fellow Londoner Lianne La Havas. Each word is meticulously delivered, with the strength given to each syllable making the entire record a heady and vivid listen. We are instantly placed in Kae’s shoes, surrounded by the same media onslaught, bubbling anxiety and artistic growth they experience every time they open their eyes. ‘Salt Coast’ utilises meandering coastal metaphors to paint an evocative picture of Kae’s headspace, while the minimal ‘I Saw Light’ sees Tempest team up with Fontaines DC’s Grian Chatten, delivering an enchanting masterclass in duet poetry. On ‘The Line Is A Curve’ Kae Tempest removes their mask, revealing an intimate and often blunt aperture into their lived experience. Rife with feelings of ephemeral isolation and deep personal anxieties, they have realised a new wave of modern storytelling, forging ‘The Line Is A Curve’ as an answer to an open call for honesty.
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