4th October | The Cube

For those that haven’t experienced an event at the creatively-focused Cube Cinema before, the profound intimacy is immediately evident as you enter. The polished wood foundations speak of a constant progression, an open door for which the only consideration is creating a communicative vibe within the small seated theatre. It’s a comfortable fit for Somali-Canadian artist Ladan Hussein and her project Cold Specks, tonight performing as a three-piece and summoning the mutual energy of her latest record, 2017s ‘Fools Paradise’. The acute closeness speaks volumes for Cold Specks’ performance, a commanding, unclouded show that thrived off the personal explorations of Hussein’s narrative.

Opening the evening, Nigerian musician LA Timpa’s soulful, disintegrating electronica exhibited simmering human anxieties and exposed social connections that float amongst fragmented beats. Glimmers and hints of affable melody swell before bursting against a snare break and industrial, bass heavy jab, appearing colourful and unannounced as the power of the instrumentals impress amongst the constant transcendence of tempo.

A wonderfully interactive set all due to LA Timpa’s control of the modulating keys, his voice is a vulnerable, tangible utterance, diverging like a growing light within the dark, the subtle burning enigmatic amongst the brittle clash of electronics. His yearning vocals suggest a desire to encompass the notions of emotional connection, his lyrics detailed yet striking as they search for advancement amongst the busy, unsettled mood of the instrumentation. ‘Closer Blue Animal’ is the most focused arrangement amongst this, a brooding, neon, late night encounter that bristles with the complications of love. It’s a highlight, a purposeful indication of the artist’s progression within a visceral performance.

Cold Specks venture within a spacious albeit rich landscape. Rattling with severity and layered with icy synths and lingering, triggering snares, Cold Specks’ music draws an impenetrable bubble around the audience. Ladan Hussein’ vocal is frank and adventurous, sensual one moment and angst ridden the next, throughout a constant display of power as she paces the stage to the flow of the emotional groundwork.

Yearning with the juxtaposing escapism of latest record Fools Paradise, live as a three-piece the songs possess a raw attitude nestled within the intimate machinations of the record. Bass vaunts harshly amongst the layered duvet of keys, Hussein’ entranced within the scarce, focused beats. An air of friction lies within the set, the group’s delivery particularly strident as Hussein considers the confidentiality of the close crowd. What’s most impressive is how Hussein controls the set simply from feeling, veering from the previously directed setlist and simply choosing from feeling alone – it’s spontaneous, and gave a more natural idea of Cold Specks’ creative attention.

Announcing the end of the set with a singular, raw closing piece projected with only her guitar and no microphone, Hussein uncovers the luminous virtue of her songwriting, distinctive, grasping and astute in sensitivity. It sums up Cold Specks’ music suitably.

Listen to Cold Specks latest single ‘Wild Card’ below.