It makes perfect sense that upcoming alternative singer and guitarist, Asikey George would choose Lanre Lawal’s Bail Music Company to promote and market Human, her debut EP for Pendulum records. When no one would touch post-Chocolate City Brymo with a long pole, Lawal took his chances and is now (hopefully?) beginning to reap the rewards. He remains one of the few music executives that genuinely understands music that is made away from the madding crowd and appears committed to the cause.
On Human, Asikey who has opened for Brymo in the past, does not quite possess the acquired self-confidence of veterans but this is not to say she is a wilting flower. She shows plenty of pluck and a brave heart in choosing to stick to her own musical path, no matter how left of field and the result of her convictions, Human is a fine, breezy collection that grapples with existential matters like the meaning of freedom and its relation to a lasting, satisfying existence.
7 tracks short, Human houses songs that deal with a range of emotions that are entirely… well, human. Asikey is inquisitive on the opener, Destiny seeking the hidden meaning of life and encouraging steadfastness in daily endeavours. This search for answers does not burn out, but takes her to the navel gazing of Freedom where she observes, You say you get freedom/but you can’t do everything./You say you no be any man slave/But you cage yourself everyday.
The swirly, electronica flirtations and synthpop on the record recall the American group, Owl City, that scored a worldwide hit in 2009 with the platinum selling Fireflies but the lyrics and underline bass lean towards contemporary Nigeria. Earth Attack, produced by Mikkyme, famous for his work with Brymo, conjures up a powerful atmosphere that draws listeners in gradually.
Asikey’s voice is refreshingly bright and breathy and makes the life lessons which she dishes generously on tracks like Rant feel less like pontificating than a chat with a sister girl. Time na money (with Transcript) is a reminder of the fleeting nature of time and importance of acting fast. Happy is a young soul’s insistence on having the best of times regardless. June 19th is an interrogation of a loved one’s departure that features some fine writing. She notes at some point, Whatever doesn’t make me happy is a lie.
Human does not grab you by the balls demanding for attention, neither is it designed to do so. It takes a subtler path using understated production and effective song writing that can be a detriment in these parts.
It is hard to see this project occupying a prominent space in the mainstream but that is exactly why Human is welcome. Music is a diverse, untamed entity and the space is open to all forms of representation. There will be those who will be enchanted by this unlikely project instantly and those who will come to it gradually. For those people, Asikey and Lanre Lawal have a responsibility to keep doing their thing.