Editors’ Notes Yoni “xSDTRK” Ayal and Pierre-Luc Rioux—the LA-via-Montreal producers and songwriters behind the future-R&B project Chiiild—conduct themselves with the patience of smooth operators confident you'll soon be powerless before their charms. Even at its most direct, their debut EP works slooowly: Zimbabwean-American poet/singer Shungudzo’s angelic chorus (“If there’s a god/I hope she’s black”) on the slo-mo disco of “Back to Life” gently wafts in and encompasses you in a luminous fog. In a similarly casual manner, “Darling” never fully reveals the tuned-in 21st-century pop songcraft lurking within its blurred outlines—until, say, you hear it shimmer alongside tracks by Ed Sheeran and twenty one pilots in a coffee shop. (It doesn’t hurt that Ayal and Rioux have written songs for Allie X, David Guetta, and Céline Dion.) But the longer one spends with Synthetic Soul, the more it delivers on its title. Not only does Chiiild marshal their machines in service of a warm and conscious R&B vibe consistently at odds with its digital origins, but they manage to extract the soul of such disparate sources as D’Angelo (at his most symphonic), Sly & The Family Stone (at their druggiest), Pink Floyd (at their most pastoral), and even The Cure (at their pop-gothiest) and synthesize it into something truly unique.

SONG
Count Me Out
1
3:27
 
Back to Life (feat. Shungudzo)
2
3:42
 
Hands Off Me
3
3:45
 
Darling
4
2:44
 
Pirouette
5
2:57
 
Sunday Morning
6
3:12
 
Easy on Yourself
7
2:44
 

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