The day has finally arrived: Ekali’s debut album A World Away is out now. Named one of Your EDM’s most anticipated albums of 2020, the 12-track, 34-minute album is a listening experience that demands multiple listens. Ekali has been teasing the A World Away album through a handful of singles: “Runaway” feat. Reo Cragun, “Back To You” feat. Kiiara, “Be Fine” (feat. Wafia) and finally his collab with Illenium, “Hard To Say Goodbye” feat. Chloe Angelides, leaving fans exhilarated for more.
Now, fans can listen to the full project which sets the tone from the very first few seconds of “Fairy Tale” with Elohim. With shimmering synths and a beautifully composed vocal section that reminds us of Purity Ring or M83, it builds anticipation naturally and organically. “Fairy Tale” is also the longest song on the album by nearly a full minute, and that’s likely no accident.
Ekali works diligently to create a very specific vibe on the album that is rarely ever navigated away from. Especially from the second track, “Runaway,” until the seventh track, “Power” with Nitti Gritti, the sound is soft and melodic with similar dynamics. It’s not hard to lay down on your bed with headphones on and not realize that you’ve somehow listened to five tracks in the blink of an eye. By the time you reach “Power,” you’re in the latter half of the album. This is the one that jolts you from your reverie and makes you sit up and take stock of what is going on. The name of the track is precisely intentional, with thundering bass and wild synth stabs punctuating your eardrums. After this, it’s mostly back to the dynamic of the first half, with whimsical melodies and soft vocals, courtesy of Kiiara, Wafia, and Chloe Angelides.
It’s not unreasonable to say that the album has its moments: the beginning, middlen, and end are undoubtedly its strongest elements and struggles to find its footing in between. Altogether, it’s a beautiful album with beautiful singles, but the lack of dynamics from one song to another for long stretches make it hard to define sincere, impactful moments apart from a few songs. Without a doubt, this album will become a bastion of peace of and serenity for many fans, though others like myself might find the repeat value lacking. In Ekali’s own words, “The core of the album centers around the idea of a moment of warmth when all else is desolate. I’m trying to capture the emotion of something special but only what’s left when it’s fleeting and/or leaving. A warm moment in a cold place and subsequent cycle of healing.”
Listen to A World Away below.
Photo credit: Jimmy Fontaine