Last year, Sudan Archives started to generate quite a bit of buzz upon the release of her self-titled debut EP. The project of the Ohio-born, LA-based singer, producer, and violinist born Brittney Parks, Sudan Archives immediately appeared unlike anything else out there right now thanks to a seamless blend of R&B, electronic, and fiddling traditions from Northwest and Eastern Africa. Whether you dug into the EP or managed to catch her live, it was easy to feel like you just stumbled upon a young artist already possessing a fully-formed vision, one whose name you’d soon be hearing a lot more.
There’s still no word on a full-length album from Sudan Archives, but in the meantime she has finally returned with some new music: Sink, the successor to last year’s EP. Sink was announced last month, along with its lead single “Nont For Sale,” which ranked as one of our favorite songs of that week. At the time, Parks also shared her thoughts behind the EP: “Sink describes the way I want my music to make you feel. It’s inspired by my love of fluidity, movement of jellyfish, and water.”
Compared to Sudan Archives, you can definitely hear that impulse on Sink. “Nont For Sale” and “Pay Attention” might still feel like they take place under a blazing sun, but a lot of the other tracks on the EP conjure up more aqueous, nocturnal settings. The rippling violin notes in “Beautiful Mistake” sound like water lapping over stones in a riverbed; both the title track and “Mind Control” have a smeared, lightly psychedelic quality to them that approximates the feeling of hearing music from underwater. Perhaps the most stunning inclusion on the EP is its closer “Escape,” a refined, reimagined, and totally mesmerizing new version of one of Sudan Archives’ earliest songs.
Rather than a loose collection of songs, Sink is one of those EPs that feels like a complete little journey, a cohesive expression of a specific idea. It’s a gratifying sequel to Sudan Archives, and leaves you wondering what she could pull off over the course of a whole album. You can hear it for yourself a few days early over at NPR.
Sink is out 5/25 via Stones Throw.