Updated: Jul 15, 2020
equality factor: Inspiration to all of us in terms of self-empowerment
producer: FKA Twigs, Nicolas Jaar, Daniel Lopatin, Benny Blanco, Skrillex, a.o
feature parts: Future
label: Young Turks
In September Tahliah Debrett Barnett, better known as FKA Twigs, released her second studio album - for us, one of the musical highlights of the year 2019. Not only did singer and professional dancer FKA Twigs write all the songs on the record herself, but she also co-produced them, adding an array of renowned producers such as Nicolas Jaar, Daniel Lopatin, Benny Blanco, and Skrillex to her production team.
The album revolves around the theme of physical border-crossings, which the artist experienced as consequences of a heavy operation at the end of 2017. She had had some benign tumors on her uterus removed and shortly afterward took on the challenge of dancing in a commercial video, which caused her surgical sutures to burst during the filming and gave the artist a longer period of regeneration. For the first time, FKA twigs - an artist who relies heavily on her body for art artistic and self-expression - was forced to allow herself an extended recovery. This recovery sparked the inspiration for “Magdalène”.
The album revolves around the theme of physical border-crossings, which the artist experienced as consequences of a heavy operation at the end of 2017
How well she finally recovered from this operation can undoubtedly be seen in the video for "Cellophane", in which she dances captivatingly, almost otherworldly on a pole, immersing the viewer in a mysterious magical world. FKA Twigs described the process of making the video as a very intuitive one. While writing the song, she had a clear vision for an accompanying visual to “Cellophane” in order to realize it, the 31-year-old picked up and perfected the art of pole dancing for months prior to shooting the video. The result is a truly breath-taking, dream-like journey through a world of gold and turquoise filled with angelic and bionic creatures. Twigs mesmerizingly dances and floats skywards among them.
Furthermore, FKA Twigs on Magdalène describes her new, painfully birthed self-image, defined during her regeneration phase. Throughout her recovery, she also found a new honesty and frank attitude towards her art and work, her environment and herself. The biblical Mary Magdalene, who also gave the title to her album, was a major inspiration for her. Even as a child she was fascinated by the contradictions that affect her personally.
The biblical Mary Magdalene - who also gave the title to her album-, was a major inspiration for her.
Musically, she remains true to her avant-garde sound and pushes it from song to song to ever-new heights, making it almost impossible for us to classify this unique sonic experience. Her sounds need space and room to unfold freely, each time we listen to them we discover new complex refinements of this album, which lets us dive into mystical worlds. All in all, “Magdalène” is representative of both its namesake and creator in its complexity, beauty, and layeredness.