Soul and funk. Neo-soul and R&B. Boldly traditional and transcendentally experimental. Balanced.
When listening to their new A-side / B-side EP, Tell Me / Used to Be, Atlanta duo, The Pheels draw to mind this stream of comparative consciousness. The two artists, Curtis Fields and Phil Jones (HAUNTED) who seemingly both boast their own unique and wildly contrasting yet simultaneously harmonizing approaches, and do so frequently in their individual solo careers, wisely make the decision to exhibit just that contrasting harmony in the two-track release.
The first song, Tell Me, is a soulful display of Curtis Fields’ vocal ability. Overtop a limited production constructed nearly entirely of a bass line and some snaps, layers of vocals provide enough depth and instrumentation of their own to keep the focus exactly where it is meant to be – on the powerful explosions of vocal prowess reminiscent of soul’s golden era.
The second, Used To Be, takes form entirely free of the first, with HAUNTED’s bold, ethereal, borderline ghostly production technique that sees echoey samples and undertone vocals dancing across a stream of vibrant synth strokes and blurred lines of musicality. The result is an impressionistic and wildly experimental track that somehow finds balance in itself.
But it also finds balance with its counterpart. The project’s dualistic playbill, though boldly comparative and seemingly opposite, both breath of a modern take on late 70’s / early 80’s inspiration that allows the two to find harmony and balance not only as complimentary oppositions, but as a collective unit. The two-track release deconstructs the sound that has long defined The Pheels as a wholesome singular and puts on full exhibition the beauty of such differentiated artists striking never-before-heard middle-ground with their collective artistries.