Scotland Uncovered #2: TAAHLIAH

Scotland Uncovered #2: TAAHLIAH

I am only 28, but some things make me feel a million years old.

Example: I have the posture of a fossil. I occasionally make a noise when I’m getting out of a seat. I say things like “aye well, this is it” to keep a conversation going. These are old man traits. I am also old enough to remember Bonkerz CDs, being a bit scared of the kids who played Happy Hardcore on the bus and thinking music genres were important.

Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because when PC Music blew up, I just absolutely didn’t get it. To an extent, maybe I still don’t. The cutesy aesthetic can be cloying to me. The knowledge that it was most probably a scene based off rich art students being ironic out of boredom, also works against it. Through sheer will, a lot of encouragement, and being into recent Charli XCX’s releases, I finally got hyperpop, I finally got what the PC Music crowd were driving at. Sure, it’s brash, it’s maximalist and almost argumentative in its approach. But it’s much more earnest than I gave it credit for; there’s a genuine appreciation of pop music and of the much-maligned aesthetic of the early 2000s, a time which, while politically awful (how things change!), were a sort of fascinating era for music, fashion and technology. Maybe we aren’t aware because we were living in it, but for all us wannabe culture historians, there were the 90s, with its own sounds and dress code, and there’s now, where everything is completely different. We don’t think about the intervening time, where everything changed, a whole lot.

It’s this appreciation for that time that draws me to Glasgow-based artist, producer and DJ TAAHLIAH, whose newest release ‘Limelight’, featuring James Rose, puts me very much into that early 2000s-nostalgia PC Music mode. There’s a vocal pitched up to heaven, and there’s no beat; it’s a gorgeous glacier of ice synths and bubbling electronic textures. This single follows a remix of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘WAP’ that sounds a bit like the Mad Decent roster from 2011 throwing the original against a wall. Its chaotic structure and beatwork run it as a polar opposite to the original’s churning, stoic production, turning it into something between a Big Freedia song and an M.I.A album track. It’s fascinating, relentless and frankly, amazing.

You might’ve already heard TAAHLIAH’s work; the remix for Walt Disco’s ‘Dancing Shoes’ is a breathless banger, with kick drums on the red and scything keys. It’s very good! However, it’s ‘Limelight’ dramatic feel and restrained production that interests most here; if it’s a sign of things to come, then the potential is frightening.


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