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Not long ago, a deft geneticist-by-day, musicologist-by-night combined the DNA of The Weeknd, Tricky and witch house group Salem and created a hybrid beast as dark and sparse and sexy as is achievable in a world with sentient beings. Well, it seems that way, anyway. Purple, a member of the smoky electro-R&B Wedidit collective, offers the world Salvation, a seven-song set perfect for Saturday nights in dark alleys or a quickie in some busted up, black-lit underground bordello. Salvation‘s steely cold detachment and hard-to-get act will keep listeners returning, hoping for something more substantive than a half-hour in Heaven. The need for a connection is strong, as is the need for the chase.
“Look Innocent” is a standout track. Sparse synth pads float around the mix and sing-songy, pitch-shifted vocals are snarled over a throbbing, syncopated beat. The lyrics repeat the song title, imploring someone or everyone to at least look the part, because what they are doing certainly is not innocent. The bass end drones in the background, stuck on the same note until it’s removed from the mix entirely leaving an even sparser moment for a few seconds. It all comes together to personify the seedy rawness of the collection. Listeners receive their salvation in a masquerade sex party at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning in the catacombs beneath the church basement, not upstairs in the sanctuary eight hours later.
“Funny Games” is the first part of the two-part masterpiece sequence that concludes with “Look Innocent.” The analog synth bass and an R&B backbeat drive this one, with support from some catchy synth patches inspired by Asian folk music. The vocals fly all over the octave spectrum, so obscured in a melt of processing that discerning the lyrics is nearly impossible (which is largely true through most of the set). It is the most delicate of the bunch, and perhaps the only song to convince the listener of the possibility of cuddling after all of this is over.
The EP pulsates in that territory for most of its run, finding beauty and light in the darkness and the profane. More creative than The Weeknd, less angry than Tricky, and not as homicidal as Salem, Purple’s Salvation is a brilliant, if noncommittal, form of redemption.