Every day you hear about another artist who is “blending genres” and creating something that isn’t quite this or isn’t quite that. It’s becoming a common theme in music but let me tell you if someone says UK artist GAIKA is blending genres, they’re only scratching the surface. Saying that GAIKA brings together a variety of different musical genres is a huge understatement because not only is his work extremely experimental, it also has a strong message and is more like oral art than simply music.
On his latest EP ‘Seguridad’, GAIKA has truly shown just how fluid his music can be, whilst also adding in futuristic elements that can take tracks from an eerily haunting place to a completely club-heavy territory within just a few bars. GAIKA describes his music as “ghetto-futurism” and that’s honestly the best way to describe it. Every song on ‘Seguridad’ balances something computerised with something acoustic and his distorted vocals really act as the string that’s pulling the whole project together.
GAIKA collaborated with a variety of fellow producers from his new label NAAFI to create ‘Seguridad’ and they seem to have left their mark on each track. ‘Of Saints’ features Tayhana and blends a neat beat with twangy samples that give GAIKA’s signature distorted vocals more of an engaging edge. It’s a great song to start the EP off on because it truly shows just how versatile and unique GAIKA’s sound is. His RnB-influenced vocals circulate around the experimental melody and together, create something completely captivating.
Throughout ’Seguridad’, there’s an eerie atmosphere, even on more dance-y tracks like ‘Maria’. There’s more of a club vibe here and could be something you’d find on a FIFA soundtrack if it was made by a more predictable artist. But GAIKA isn’t predictable and every element on ‘Maria’ feels slightly warped, creating this darker club track that you may not want to dance to, but you can still definitely get lost in.
‘Lord Zemel’ utilises hollow samples and distorted percussion to really emphasise the scattered synths and little ticks that pop up throughout the track. The sharp production (created with Lechuga Zafiro), as well as these other elements, really give you a sense of foreboding, like something dark is coming and it’s just a matter of time before its unleashed. ‘Ecstatica’ has a similar vibe, however, it stands on its own by being more minimalist than ‘Lord Zemel’ and focuses more so on haunting chimes and a fast-paced beat.
‘Brutal’ is quite infectious and feels kind of cinematic. You can see a story unfolding in your mind when you listen to this track while smoother synths hover below ghostly samples and GAIKA’s vocals twist their way through the dark world the production creates. ‘Kingdom of Slums’ and ‘Iron Cut’ both kind of take things into a more energetic direction, with the former marching forward with what feels like a lot of purpose, and the latter utilising more hip-hop influences to nurture more crisp vocals. ‘Kingdom Of Slums’ is probably the most fast-paced song on ‘Seguridad’ and ‘Iron Cut’ feels less ghostly than every other song we’ve heard so far. It’s a welcome reprieve from the darker songs on the EP, but even though they have some lighter elements, GAIKA’s vocals still connect them to the rest of the project by keeping them so consistently precise.
The baseline on ‘Wolfish’ can be felt deep in your chest if you’re listening to the song in a louder setting, which always makes you feel slightly vulnerable. This track is intense and the bass acts as a strong core from which the humming synths can stretch out from and warp around zapping samples that flash across the track like shooting stars. ‘Nine Nights’ closes ‘Seguridad’ on a brighter note, with more vibrant synths lifting up the atmospherics and making the more hollow samples float above GAIKA’s vocal track. It’s a great ending to the EP as it feels like you’ve fought through quite a lot of darkness to finally find a light at the end of the tunnel.
GAIKA is a true artist and he doesn’t conform musically, which in turn gives him infinite freedom to experiment with pretty much any element of production that he likes. His signature sound is so unique and so staunch, that putting a label on his work would almost diminish his work. ‘Seguridad’ is an EP no one but GAIKA could create because it takes an ear for fluidity songwriting to really know how to turn the musical playbook on its head, cut it up into little pieces and create a full-on mosaic of sound like this.
That’s what ‘Seguridad’ is. This EP is a beautiful mosaic of sound that you really won’t hear anywhere else.