When talking about FKA Twigs, the word that often comes up is "alien." Our review of her debut album, LP1, dubbed the sound "alien R&B." The first thing that came to my mind upon hearing the 26-year-old's music was that blue opera diva in The Fifth Element with the porpoise-like vocal range and mystical stones in her stomach. FKA Twigs, née Tahliah Barnett, is as sensual as she is sci-fi. There's a perfunctory robotic cool in how she names her releases—EP1, EP2, LP1—yet the songs within are moist, breathy and nearly uniformly about sex. She sings like Mariah Carey struggling for air in the Martian atmosphere. What initially sound as cold as chrome probes, her tunes slowly warm the longer you let them sit inside you.
Though, really, it's not so alien. Barnett is studying the manual written by Björk, Tricky and the frest of the first wave of trip-hop. It's more retro-futurism than fresh futurism. Like Björk, Twigs relies as much on visuals and couture fashion as skittering IDM rhythms. Which make her live performances (like a mesmerizing Tonight Show act) more vital than her records. See for yourself above.