With a sound uniquely her own, Rasha Jay delves into a lush otherworldly atmosphere on the soothing “High Dive”. An effortless blend of R&B, soul, the blues, funk, and a hint of classic rock a la Jimi Hendrix’s gentler moment, the EP simply stuns. By far the true beating heart comes from Rasha Jay’s impressive vocals. She opts for a late-night, smoky quality to her lyricism, one that at times goes for the truly surreal. Production feels impressively polished and carefully considered. Refusing to be pigeonholed she mixes and matches styles flawlessly.
Esperanza Spalding’s kaleidoscopic works come to mind as the EP unfurls to reveal a dazzling degree of color. Unlike Esperanza’s work, Rasha Jay goes for a subtle approach letting the whole thing exist in a dreamy haze. Parts of it too, the expression of the self, tends to align itself closely with Frank Ocean’s highly confessional approach to songwriting. Instrumentally rich as well, the vibrancy of every moment has a beauty to it. Not a moment is wasted for the songs evolve in a naturalistic fashion. Throughout it all she maintains a clear-eyed intensity to the whole affair, one that lingers in the mind long after the songs have ended.
Glowing keys introduce the EP on the low-key grooves of “Rasha” the opener. Rather yearning at times, it sets the tone for what follows without needing to say a single word. The guitar work has a fiery center to it on the powerful “Red Coat” where the song embraces an intimate setting. Her voice has an endearing quality to it, for her flow is masterful. On “Don’t Revel” she incorporates elements of psychedelic rock into the swaggering groove. Easily the highlight of the collection, the whole of the piece rumbles and shakes with might. A tension runs through “Strangeland” where her lyrics have a highly reflective quality to them.
“Imaginary” messes with listener expectations. Usage of toy box melodies recalls Four Tet at his most creative. The wavering quality further lends it a sense of warmth. From far away her voice travels right to the forefront. A glistening interlude arrives with the shadowy rhythms of “Vertical” where the build up happens with such patience that it feels like a long-lost Stereolab track. Nicely bringing all that came before it together in a lovely, tender way is the stately closer and title track “High Dive”.
Rasha Jay proves to be a voice in the wilderness, with a poetry that comes so naturally to her with “High Dive”.