“Xilax” has done something unexpectedly effective with this release “Friday Night”. For what initially feels like your classic, even retro hip hop and jazz crossover backing track, the whole thing later emerges and evolves into multiple other symbols of musical strength. The subject matter alone opens the door to a whole new world of ideas and enhances the mood and feel of the track with every new lyric. Then on top of everything you get this lightly infectious, quickly satisfying hook section – adding a flicker of memorable melody and a hip hop -like vocal rhythm to the experience. The track is subtle but certain in its fusion of genres and in generally driving with an authentic approach to expression and a clear love for and connection to music.
Without falling too much into the waters of excessive praise, there’s something about a track like this that makes it need no real introduction. It works its magic from the offset, and with each new listen – every time it reappears in your playlist – it has that instant authority, that good energy and reliability, to let you immediately escape into the moment; or to lift your mood accordingly whenever you need it. The rhythm of the vocal delivery is perfectly suited to the mellow groove of the music, and this meeting of the nostalgically classic and something a little fresher – this new leading artist, this character to follow along – helps make this a top track for the whole of 2022.
The soundscape on this track is insane, they burst through the speakers in a non-standard hip hop manner; at least not considering the bulk of modern independent hip hop. There’s a sense of effort about it, rather than a simple loop and a voice-over – as is often the case with the ever-increasing number of bedroom recordings that fill the airwaves. The instrumentation is fairly manic, but Xilax’s vocal delivery in contrast has a certain calmness about it – an easy going aura pours through from his performance, reinforcing those positive vibes, and introducing the sound of his voice in a natural way.
At just over two minutes long there’s something very honest and simultaneously fleeting about the whole experience. This repeated idea of not knowing how to feel, the anger, the inability to start things up, to escape, to express things consistently or coherently – all of this seems like an unexpectedly calm explosion of emotional energy. The more times you listen, the more you hear, and the more you connect with the words and the openness and realness that can so clearly be heard in both vocal parts.
It’s a track that leaves its mark. It’s experimental to an extent, but it also feels familiar, and somehow both comforting and unsettling all at once. It will be interesting to hear more from Xilax as his creativity continues to reach new heights.