Thanks to the massive success of Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, R&B has found a resurgence. This is abundantly clear on LA based inc.’s new album of slow jams, no world. Former studio musicians Andrew and Daniel Aged of inc. bring atmosphere and experimental beats to an album that serves as a throwback to ’80s R&B and soul.
Seemingly taking their cues from artists such as SBTRKT, Air, and Little Dragon, the eleven tracks on no world are cool as a cucumber and serve as a modern update to the likes of D’Angelo’s Voodoo. The abundance of synth interspersed with drums gives it the perfect balance of ’80s and modern, avoiding the catchy, repetitive hooks that made ’80s and ’90s R&B so cheesy.
Album opener, “The Place,” sets the mood of the following ten songs – singer Andrew Aged’s voice is quiet and sensual, straight from the playbook of The xx. Out of all the songs on no world, “Black Wings” lives up to the old days of R&B with an upbeat melody and catchy refrain. Skittering drum beats on “Seventeen,” takes the listener in the opposite direction as more electronic sounds are explored. Other album standouts include “Lifetime,” “Angel,” and “5 Days.”
no world brings the sensuality of R&B to the new millennium. inc. has crafted an album that is both a tribute to musical eras long gone, with enough experimental electronica to keep it relevant. The only criticism to really be had is that the album is almost too smooth – the intricate melodies and soft vocals become tedious after 10 tracks (no world closes on the instrumental, “Nariah’s Song”). That said, the subtle lo-fi nature of no world is perfectly timed to the emerging trend of R&B revisited.