Album Review: Quilla – ‘Beautiful Hybrid’

Quilla

Having already collaborated with the likes of Tiesto, Sultan and Ned Shepard, Quilla; a self proclaimed indie singer/songwriter, is quickly becoming somewhat of a phenomenon in the electronic dance music scene.

The Montreal born singer studied classical piano throughout her childhood, before evolving her music to experiment in punk, indie, jazz and afro beat throughout her teen years and young adulthood. With a degree in anthropology and linguistics, Quilla seems to be somewhat multi talented, having travelled the world as an archaeologist and ethnolinguist working in Peru, Belize, Cambodia, Chile and Paraguay. With a vast range of skills and experiences, it’s easy to recognise the great cultural influences throughout her music. Quilla is said to view the world of dance music as a catalyst for producing and delivering transformative music for her listeners and her sound certainly does take you on a journey.

Her debut, self-produced album ‘Beautiful Hybrid’ was released recently via Ritual Fire Records. The title itself instantly captures the beauty of Quilla’s sound, with the fusion of many different genres, dipping in and out, from dance to blues, to pop and so on. The album opens with ‘Biological Clock’, a short yet captivating song with a gentle piano and the raw, natural strength of Quilla’s voice. The track eases into the next track ‘Labyrinth Body‘ which too focuses on the piano. The song is more upbeat, yet the vocals are light and fluffy, as they float over the gentle backing beats. The first single from the album ‘A Million Broken Bicycles’  is a track that is already establishing itself with in the indie and dance communities. Its gradual increase in tempo, from a bassy soft opening develops into a distinct, electronic beat with Quilla’s dreamy vocals flowing gracefully throughout the core. The complexity of the song is perfectly executed, allowing Quilla to really demonstrate her talent. ‘Tous Les Jours’ is perhaps the most unique. Following from the previous track, Quilla really shocks the listener flitting into a completely different cultural sound. Demonstrating her experiences and influences Quilla really challenges her vocals switching to an entirely different language. The bubbly song is quickly followed by ‘Spare Me Your Judgement‘, a track with deep bluesy vocals. Perhaps a favourite from the album, Quilla really delivers the beauty and simplicity of her music. With a single piano, the track really focuses on the intimacy of her lyrics and the passion in her sound. Tracks like ‘Exploding Galaxies’ and ‘Carve It In Stone’ edge through with ghostly vocals over electronic beats, before leading into the most random track of the album ‘Beans Beans Beans’, which I can add no more to explain it. The closing song ‘Time Travel Spies’ is a melodic jingle with polished vocals and a bluesy piano beat, with tender drumming adding an extra edge to end on.

Ned Shepard said “Quilla is, hands down, one of our favourite singers to work with. Her voice is incredibly unique and she has an innate ability to find beautiful, catchy melodies everywhere.” Whilst Quilla is a relatively unheard of in Britain at the moment, with a solid debut album and a list of big collaborations, it is only a matter of time until she truly becomes a global sensation.

By Lillie Esme Bellamy