Boomkat Product Review:
Originally self-released back in January, Desire Marea's outstanding debut solo album gets the deluxe reissue treatment courtesy of Mute. Operatic, experimental and exceptionally outward-looking, 'Desire' is an exuberant, no-holds-barred contemporary electronic classic. Fans of Mhsya, Dreamcrusher, FAKA, Lyra Pramuk or even DJ Lag do not sleep on this!
Even before its Mute co-sign, "Desire" was one of the chase underground deployments of 2021. Desire was a founding member of Johannesburg's FAKA so is no stranger to global acclaim, but now based in Durban, they have settled comfortably into a constellation-bending solo sound that's one part concert hall and one part catwalk. Disorienting operatic wails roll around urgent flurries of kicks on 'Zibuyile Izimakade'. It's a collision of styles that feels lashed to FAKA's vivid, genre-melting club music but also pushing into new territory. Desire makes widescreen soundscapes that draw from club ideas but exist in a different space completely.
'You Think I'm Horny' is almost gospel pop, but set to a backdrop of inverted gqom and tweaky expressionist electronics. Desire uses their voice to loop words, tones and phrases against themselves as beats toss and turns alongside - it's like a sci-fi choir sent from the future to ease contemporary anxiety. 'Thokozani' meanwhile welds an almost highlife guitar jangle with sandblasted hi-BPM drums and the kind of time-bending drones you'd expect to hear on a Black To Comm album. 'The Void' heads even further into the outerzone, with guttural roars and ping-pong synths creating a spine-chillingly humid soundscape, but Desire quiets things to allow space for the epic 10-minute finale "Studies in Black Trauma".
'Desire' is a brilliantly challenging album that rolls thru good ideas with a lavish fabulousness that's impossible to ignore. It's a bold, vivid statement from an artist who has already given us so much, and promises even more.