Primal panting over a pulse, flashes of glimmering chimes and an intricate, glitchy beat all topped with self-assured vocals that include sweet African samples: this is London singer Obenewa’s fantastic ‘Marshmallow’. It has an afro-house flavour to it, bringing some welcome, warm dance vibes to the fore. Her previous output includes ‘Solid Gold‘, a poppy R&B track with more celestial, traditional stylings and, while it was quite pretty and her vocals were powerful on it, it seemed a little like ground that had already been trodden. But this is not the case on the fantastic (if all too short) ‘Marshmallow’ or, indeed, more recent Machinedrum-produced ‘Save Me’. The latter is reminiscent of Imogen Heap, with its strangely manipulated vocal harmonies in the background and the soothing sense of cloud-like ambience that all underpin the singer’s unfaltering voice on the refrain, “Need to save me from myself”. There’s an older track ‘He‘ too, which channels Mary J. Blige with it’s squelchy, sultry swagger and charming hints of gospel.
Give her a listen, she’s pretty wonderful and there’s a lightness to her sound that’s all quite refreshing. And – as if the deal needed sweetening – ‘Marshmallow’ is free: