Brooklyn-based record label Mexican Summer turns five this year, and in honor of the momentous occasion, avant-garde R&B artist Autre Ne Veut paired up with Christian Fennesz to create the soulful track “Alive.” The song will be featured along with other artist collaborations for the 10-inch record that comes along with Mexican Summer: Five Years, a special edition book to be released Dec. 9.
Autre Ne Veut
Software Recording Co.
Arthur Ashin, a.k.a. Autre Ne Veut, reached out to the label to express his interest in collaborating with Fennesz, leading to a two-day recording session in Vienna at Fennesz’s studio. The track initially sounds like a departure for Ashin, whose latest album, Anxiety, is marked by his soaring falsetto and heavily layered beats which often blur the line between electronic and R&B. Apparently that line exists. The song’s distorted intro slowly finds its rhythm as Ashin croons his way in, demanding a shift in focus to his raw vocals. It’s the most intimate Ashin’s voice has sounded, which says a lot for a man who titled his own album after a mental affliction.
Despite this shift in sound, it wouldn’t be an Autre Ne Veut track without his trademark falsetto, and “Alive” is no exception. As the song explodes from subtle into soulful around the halfway mark, Ashin’s voice flies into his upper register, conveying an aggressive anguish. The track ends with the same chaos it started with, implying that there’s probably some leftover turmoil that needs to be dealt with, but that could be a whole other album in itself.
While the collaboration between Ashin and Fennesz is one of many for the Mexican Summer anniversary, it serves as a stand-out tribute to the label and a gift to indie-lovers everywhere. It’s also a breathtaking reminder that Autre Ne Veut can do absolutely no wrong.