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Heaven Is Black Olamiju Fajemisin , March 17th, 2018 13:19

The latest release from Polarface Records: another quiet triumph.

Polarface Records have a real knack for bringing out honesty in the artists they work with. When they’re not hosting nights in Manchester and London, they’re working hard to produce EPs such as this one, full of lyrical originality and personal insight.

Polarface’s first EP, Clive Mercury’s Orange Rooms , was a look into the emotions of a young Londoner, and Heaven Is Black has the same contemplative vibe. M.I.C. brings listeners along with him on an introspective and sometimes melancholic journey through London; he plays with themes of relationships, identity, emotional wellbeing and even colourism in the opening track alone. His voice falls into chant-like rhythms, lulling us fully into what he is preaching.

Opener ‘Afropunk, Atlanta’ is the most energetic track here, and the most political. It follows the traditional conventions of grime, and showcases this EP’s clean production. The sequence that opens the song propels the whole track, and the tone of M.I.C.’s voice rises from its usual rumble. It’s with this newfound aliveness that M.I.C. questions eurocentricity, gentrification and race.

Second song ‘Virgil (featuring tr1nity)’ acts as an antidote to that tense opener. It also marks the point where the talent of Australian producer Secundus begins to shine; a glossy synthesizer introduces the hazy and surreal mood, taking us away from grime for a moment with a sweet monologue from tr1nity.

The EP closes with ‘Sable Days’, with M.I.C. sensitively exploring ideas about identity, and the interlude-style ‘Empyrean’, a ghostly slice of Secundus’ trace-like production.

So much emotion is explored in only five tracks. Heaven Is Black asks questions about the real issues faced by a twentysomething black Londoner. No doubt, M.I.C.’s music and the questions will be relevant and powerful for years to come.