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Red Moon in Venus finds Kali Uchis flexing her artistic talents

"Red Moon in Venus"

Release date: 03 March 2023
Kali Uchis - Red Moon In Venus cover
03 March 2023, 09:00 Written by Joe Creely

Red Moon in Venus marks Kali Uchis’s return to primarily English-language music.

After the superb but under-heard in this part of the world Spanish-language Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) it’s a strong effort, simultaneously more focused than her previous work but still finding space to experiment

The quality of the tracks is, as par for Uchis, superb. The slinky, flowing melody she surfs in "Fantasy" is gorgeous, and the way "Moonlight" sparkles and stretches about its swampy bass is a joy. That said it’s not all breezy fun. In fact, those moments are few and far between. There’s a current of gentle desolation at the heart of the record, no more so than on "Moral Conscience", the dead fizz of its synths and its measured drums in the chorus giving it the suspended animation of a moment of heartbreak. Her voice here moves into new shapes, shuddering and delicate in a way that we haven’t seen from her often, and she finds a new vulnerability in this sound. That said she has perfected her tone of being simultaneously insouciant and emotionally exposed on Red Moon in Venus, the aforementioned "Moonlight" in particular showing this off.

It is, however, a less sonically varied record than her previous two full-lengths. It doesn’t have Isolation’s sense of being giddily pulled this way and that by whatever genre feels best for the song. Instead, the album deals almost exclusively in a molten, slow-paced R&B, full of soupy bass lines, sweeps of chiming synths and punchy shuffling drum patterns. That said, she manages to get a good variety from this sound. On "Love Between" there’s a real sense of Minnie Ripperton in the sheer lushness of the guitars and stately, gentle rhythm, while the Summer Walker featuring "Deserve Me" brings the album to the genre’s trap-inflected present.

This focus also gives consistency to the work and beds the album's thematic core into its instrumentation in a really satisfying way. It creates a sense of following the protagonist, through the pains and joys of the record. Red Moon in Venus marks a consolidation of Kali Uchis's talents, a work that manages to experiment whilst distilling her artistic essence, and flexing just quite how good she is at it.

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