ALBUM REVIEW: OKAY KAYA – SURVIVING IS THE NEW LIVING (JAGJAGUWAR)
While it has been difficult for most of us to find a new way to survive in this unprecedented way of life, Kaya Wilkins, better known as Okay Kaya, has not only mastered it, but is seemingly thriving in it too. Her latest record, Surviving Is The New Living, out on Jagjaguwar and is more recognised as a ‘mixtape’, most probably due to its length at just 26 minutes long, however this doesn’t quite do justice to the depth that these tracks create when they’re back to back.
Okay Kaya’s isolated melodies atop of almost claustrophobic, bedroom beats are as isolation-ready as they come. After spending time in a Copenhagen apartment after both European and North American tours were cancelled, Wilkin’s began to demo with her friend Nature Boy, thus creating this eerily beautiful collection of songs that are blessing your ears right now.
With sensual harmonies tickling subdued beats, Okay Kaya once again creates a raw and open soundtrack to human feelings and the modern psyche. “I kiss the sky, the sun’s going down on me, so great. I touch myself, myself”; could a sentence encapsulate quarantine any more if it tried? Her voice comes in multitudes – soft and ethereal though it may be, it is often usurped by deep, hoarse moans contrasting perfectly.
‘Snacks’ is an acoustic dream, slowly swaying you with hypnotic strumming. Giving us some good advice, we’re told that “revenge is a dish that is best not to eat. It is tepid ranch with some celery.” I never thought I would be singing those words to myself, but here I am and I am definitely okay with it.
This album is a perfect reflection of the quiet isolation we have all felt at some point in this weird time. Okay Kaya has showcased an indulgence in the solitude, while equally yearning for touch of another as she sings in ‘Bill Withers’, “I don’t want your nudes, I want you in my room.”