EPs have become the standard way for musicians to get their music out there these days. Some might decry it because it appeals to our ever-decreasing attention spans, but I think it allows great artists to cut the fat attached to many albums and rather just give us their best work with no filler. Dua Saleh is a prime example as everything about their Nūr EP is power.
The Sudan-born Twin-Cities-based singer, activist and poet kicks it all off with the self-produced “Sugar Mama”. Nursery rhyme flow is punctuated by a cowbell and Dua’s unique voice is given space to shine on a song that sounds equal parts sexy and dangerous.
The rest of the EP is produced by Psymun who has worked with the likes of Future, Young Thug and The Weekend. While those names might lead you to think things are gonna turn up, that’s just not the case. Instead, Psymun perfectly follows on from the tone set in “Sugar Mama”. The music gently guides Dua’s narrative along, with a certain spatial awareness that allows their voice to be the focus for most of the EP.
“Warm Pants” is the stand out track of the EP and it drips with attitude driven by an ominous bass line. They plead “I need you now” and I believe them, but there’s a pain behind the cry that makes me think that need, will ruin us both.
Velvet Negroni’s soothing tones are also a noteworthy addition to the release and they come through as a surprise each time I listen to “Against Giants”. Velvet offers a beautiful counter to Dua’s distinct voice and the two complement each other perfectly.
Dua Saleh sings like they’re cutting to the core of their soul and letting it all bleed out over their songs. They have an extraordinary voice and use it to evoke pure emotion from their listener. As I said, everything about Dua Saleh’s Nūr EP is power.