Following a few years in an Urban/Pop duo, and going on to feature on local Hip-Hop and Grime tracks, in 2012 Makala Cheung began her solo artist endeavor, releasing 3 EPs and the album “River”. The album featured in Bristol Live Magazine’s ‘Albums of the month’ and tracks featured on stations, from BBC 1Xtra and BBC Introducing in the West to Ujima FM and BCFM. We recently got a listen to Makala Cheung’s second album ‘Moon’.
I have to admit it took me a while to fully appreciate this album. It’s so complex and beautiful. At first listen there were a few songs that hit me right off, the evocative “A Little Deeper”, the slow soul-stirring “Fade Away”, “Imperfections”, the throbbing “Show Love”, and the catchy “Stand Up”, but it’s only after you’ve really listened to the whole package, with headphones, without distractions, that you really appreciate the labor of love that this record represents.
You should listen to this album to witness an artist at the top of her game. It’s not slapping a few chords and verses together; this music is created from a flash of an underlying idea, and then woven like a tapestry – dressed up, and painted in a kaleidoscope of delicate strokes. Makala excels both in straightforward piano songs like “What He Said”, as well as dense and complex structures such as “Feel The Rush”.
Makala Cheung walks a fine line between many styles. She can be straight ahead poppy, artsy, or very avant-garde. Her voice can be almost light, carefree and airy, and then elegantly sultry, dark and sexy. She is a true original, and with ‘Moon’ she hits a peak of creativity. Her unique vocal cadence and range hypnotizes and sends chills up the spine, along with the sublime precision of the instruments and soundscapes you are hearing.
‘Moon’ lifts your mind, body and soul to unexpected heights, track after track, as the songs showcase not only Makala’s amazing voice but her diverse songwriting talents. It is a work of immense musical maturity, harmonic brilliance and impressionistic perfection. Confirming that at least one modern-day musician is dedicated to creating genuine art and real beauty on her own terms. Lyrically, these songs will also take hold of your soul and never let go, as Makala Cheung explores a myriad of deeply contemplative themes.
No doubt ‘Moon’ is the work of an artist in full control of her powers. It is essential listening for anyone interested in hearing beautiful music by a truly beautiful human being. There is so much more I could say because Makala Cheung has given us so much here, but I’ll leave the music itself to share the rest of its virtues with you.