Creating off the cuff – that was Angel-Ho’s approach to making music for her latest EP, Alla Prima. The title of the project is inspired by the Italian painting technique where artists apply wet on wet paint without letting the layers dry. The process has given Angel the ability to express herself and her creativity in a new liberating way. “I just wanted to have fun with making art and music and I wasn’t taking anything too seriously. I wanted to change the pace at which I create art and it happened really quickly,” the Cape Town-based performance artist stated. The five-track project dropped at the tail end of September and was made between July and August. The sonics were solely handled by production duo Bon, who boast credits from Kojey Radical, Mykki Blanco, and Gaiko. The production landscape of the EP tiptoes around experimental hip hop and club kid acid house – a detour from the standard set by her critically acclaimed debut album, Death Becomes Her. “I was doing the genre of music that I first created with. A genre that I have been exploring since I was a teenager,” explained Angel-Ho.
The production on the EP takes its cues from club culture that gives an energetic vibe to the music. And though it is very upbeat, Angel made it for everyday listening. She adds, “The club is where I felt safest. I’ve been to a lot of clubs, done shows in clubs but I created it so that people could enjoy listening to it at home.” Working with Bon was an organic experience for Angel. The London producers are longtime collaborators who contributed to her last LP and therefore, they understood her vision and knew how to amplify it. According to Angel, there was little communication because of the chemistry that has been established between them.
There was hardly any conversation around the direction of the sound. We didn’t want to overcomplicate things. And whenever I would think about something I wanted to be changed, I would find it would come back changed without me even saying anything. That’s the kind of connection we have, said the artist.
The sound sets the stage for the artist to tackle themes like sex-positivity, partying, as well as the politics of Black Trans Lives Matter. The opening track “Juice”, is a merry go round ride filled with cheeky singy-raps that set the tone for the EP. As the record progresses, it goes into darker production with “Wolves” and “I Want You” that get into the heart of the album. The journey is completed with a dreamy ending in “Fantasy Ride” where Angel oscillates between her sensual and dominant side.
The music feels like drag. These tracks are ridiculous, they teleport from topic to topic. In the songs, I wanted to show how my ying and my yang are in a constant battle. I wanted to dig into some of these concepts because we deserve the best parts of ourselves decorated in beauty and I wanted music that is created in hi-free vibration because that just how I feel, stated Angel-Ho.