Lafawndah is a new Warp act who you may be familiar with from her collaborating with both Teengirl Fantasy and Planningtorock. She occupies an alt-dance feminist universe that questions construction of both music and the body. The first taste of her sound (on Warp) is coming in February by way of her new EP Tan—and the first single of the same name is now here.
“Tan” is a club song if you chopped up the song and rearranged its contents. Lafawndah employs heavy, familiar drums and a shrill synth twitch to create something familiar and ready to move to. The song never picks up its beat though, instead choosing to speed up and slow down and even drop out under itself at times. The song fizzles around this central sound, using lyrics and the voice as an anchor to hold its Face Down Ass Up qualities with her Steve Reich noise experiments. The lyrics are similarly reflective: they explore the give and take, the break and build, of two people being together.
Lafawndah also directed and art directed the video with a fleet of collaborators. Like the song, it’s a hybrid dance creation that toys with what it is and isn’t. The video begins with a sexually tense karokee session of “Tan” by people who aren’t Lafawndah which opens into a contemporary dance exploration before ending with even more lust in the karaoke room. There is same sex exploration and gender defiance meshing with body types and questions of power and presence. Like the relationship alluded to in song, a push-pull is employed with a look or gesture to confuse control.
It’s a well articulated debut with Warp and is tight with meaning. If she can do this with one song and one video, I can’t imagine what the full release will be like. I’m excited! Watch the video below and be on the lookout for her Warp EP in February.