Leaving Records introduces San Francisco’s Xyla to the world. The classical musician-turned-producer’s debut full-length Ways presents a fresh, electronic yet organic sound that deftly skates over and around genre limitations into a deeply felt, lush and hyper-futuristic group of songs. Echoes of sweaty rave anthems and classic IDM head trips can be heard strewn throughout Ways’ serpentine compositions, awash in deep ambient swirls and intriguingly twisted samples. Of the album’s title, Xyla states, “Sometimes you think of how things could’ve been. There are a million different ways that things can go.” The eight tracks on Ways each feel like a uniquely personal expression, heavy feelings processed by the producer’s classical music training and extrapolated through exciting self-taught production methods.
The trajectory of Ways covers many different moods and atmospheres. Early standout “Now” inhabits a reflective space, emotive vocal samples mingling with a variety of expressively filtered synths. Xyla states, “It was a very vulnerable time when I was making this music. It was winter, I quit my job, and I had lost a few close people. I just really felt like, ‘Now that I need you, where are you?’” The devastating “Cold” mirrors its title with thick smears of psychedelic pads, abetted by deliriously sliced vocals stabs and a ferocious acid bassline. Title track “Ways” straddles the line between footwork and ambient, a stuttering, endlessly listenable track that unfolds new and unexpected sounds at each turn.
The pairing of Xyla and Leaving Records is a natural one, with the label and producer sharing an affinity for adventurous musical styles that defy easy categorization. Xyla states, “I listen to so much music, and I really feel like my music is all over the place … I was having an identity crisis, and then Leaving Records announces the mantra ‘All Genre, All Genre, All Genre,’ …… ‘yes, that’s me.’”