ALA.NI Releases New Full-Length ACCA
UK-born, Paris-based artist ALA.NI released her sophomore full-length ACCA. Featuring guest vocal features from Iggy Pop and Lakeith Stanfield (Uncut Gems, Knives Out, Sorry to Bother You), the album has been acclaimed by NPR Music, The FADER, Vibe, Flaunt Magazine, HypeMachine, Nylon, and Associated Press, who said “ACCA astounds with its artistry, an adventurous, almost-all a cappella recording whose intricate arrangements and instantly-familiar melodies prove irresistible.”
ACCA consists primarily of dense, harmonically intricate vocal arrangements — no samples or loops were used in the production of ACCA, and only occasional light touches of strings, accordion, clarinet, and bass were played to support the album’s low end. It’s the followup to ALA.NI’s debut 2017 album You & I, which was praised by Paste, Interview Magazine, The FADER, and NPR, who said “you won’t hear another record that sounds like this one this year, or dare I say this decade.” But while some critics made comparisons to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland, the infectious beats and rhythmic tunes on ACCA owe more to Dr. Dre and Errol Dunkley than Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan.
ALA.NI initially envisioned her second album as a completely a capella project, and indeed ACCA is made up almost entirely of human voices (beatboxing serves as percussion, and she lowered her own vocals with an octavizer on several tracks to create the illusion of bass)., but make no mistake: ACCA is pure ALA.NI; she wrote, produced, and arranged each song herself, layering up hundreds of vocal tracks in order to create an immersive, hypnotic world that blurs the lines between vibrating vocal cords, bowed strings, and blown reeds.
The bold sound of ACCA incorporates elements from the myriad of worlds ALA.NI has traversed. Born in London to Grenadian parents, ALA.NI grew up listening to everything from cabaret to calypso. Her great uncle, Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson, was one of Britain’s most popular singers in the 1920’s and 30’s, and her father played bass in a reggae band. She loved Julie Andrews and the ballet, but was told that as a young black girl, those things weren’t meant for her. After graduating from London’s prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School, ALA.NI found work as a backup vocalist, performing across a broad range of genres with artists as diverse as Mary J Blige, Andrea Bocelli, Damon Albarn, and John Legend. ACCA perfectly reflects this complex tapestry of influence and experience.
2. Le Diplomate (ft. Iggy Pop)
5. Sha La La
7. Your Silence Will Not Protect You
10. In The Land
11. Away Go
Photo Credit: Jean-Baptiste Mondino