Aistè – Say When (2018)

Image credit to Massimiliano Malago

Aistè’s ‘Say When’ isn’t just a song, but a lo-fi soul tonic for today’s radio.  It opens with big sirens and chords before dropping the listener into the confident, but soulful verse.  Aistè struts along the pavement in East London to the vintage sound of the 808.  Her gold dress reflects the orange glow of the street lights in the night.

You’ve only just figured out that she’s singing about someone when the lyrics turn from the personal to the passionate and cosmic.  It might just be the bridge, but it’s also the Big Bang.  ‘The Universe didn’t exist then, ’til the wave of heat turned the love on/  Sun, your power… is my only dream/  So, I’m asking One Thing.’  Her cheeky lyricism mixes the beginning of the singer’s universe with the ‘wave of heat’ and the ‘Big Bang.’  It’s sensual, powerful stuff.

We’re then treated to another, but strikingly different bridge.  First, there’s thunder.  What sounds like a broken machine plays on a loop (it’s actually a heavily processed drum), and is joined by heavy saxophone notes that syncopate the beat even further.  It’s almost dark, but the nameless person she met in the beginning is described as someone who ‘shows me the way.’  Here, it’s not soul and RnB, but distorted spoken word.

Again, the chorus comes in: ‘I’m giving you all of me.’  She then asks, ‘what completes this fantasy?’  In answer, the cosmic theme returns, which is almost a challenge from the singer’s lips: ‘Who will wake you to the galaxy, but me?’  Finally, the video fades to black.  A message appears on screen that simply says: ‘Now Listen’.

It’s not long until you hear her voice again: ‘Your restless heart is pounding.’  We’re treated to some exquisite piano that serves as a prelude to a Morrison and Doorsy-like dirge that sucks you in, and doesn’t let you go until the song is finished.  ‘Inner voices shouting… the rise is near… if only fear… we won’t stop there… ‘cause we want more…’  Now, there’s a cacophony of instruments, vocals and noise.  Indeed, we do want more.

Aistè’s ‘Say When’ can be found on her YouTube channel.


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