It’s easy to forget about artists that you discover over the Internet where bands rise to prominence for days before being lost beneath the waves of the blogosphere’s churning tides, but that’s how I first came across Made In Heights. It was a fortuitous circumstance: I was stoned, they were on the Hype Machine, I checked them out on BandCamp, it was awesome. That was in 2011. Then they went dark.
Two years later and the Hype Machine isn’t as interesting as it once was, I don’t smoke, and the landscape of what’s hip has changed. There’ve been loads of beatmakers coming in and out of the limelight as well as something of an R&B renaissance. AlunaGeorge, SZA, Banks, Tinashe…the list goes on. In that time, the duo of Sabzi and Kelsey Bulkin have moved from their native New York to Los Angeles. After a few years of radio silence, they still have that angelic sound that caught my attention in the first place. I’m glad they’re back.
In a word, they’re “trill.” Their music is electronically produced pop, but filtered through a determinedly not turnt-up lens. There’s nothing brash in their music thanks in large part to Sabzi’s light arrangements. Everything just…flows. “Pirouette” is something like a thesis for their sound. It’s upbeat, but the track is never anything but smooth and ethereal. They’re like hymns written for a sunset. It’s lovely. My favorite part of Made In Heights, though, is their singer.
Bulkin has a knack for writing songs with amazing imagery. Her voice nice, but it’s the lyrics that are really a wonder. She’s a poet. In the same way that Purity Ring has a knack for making the listener uncomfortable with the grotesquities, Made In Heights comes along with allegories of space and light. It’s uplifting.
These two tracks are the first of their return, which is great, but they have an entire album’s worth of back material that’s just as good. Check out the songs “Wildflowers“, “Viices“, and “Amaranthine” too. The whole record is available for free on Soundcloud, so check it out.