Tough times call for tender music. With honest and piercing lyrics, deep grooves, and music that rides the edge of familiarity and surprise, Basetla is the right music for these times: a dreamy mélange that invokes warm ‘80s synthpop while combining in-your-face bass lines, vulnerable stories, and Eastern European melodic sensibilities, all wrapped in warm retro goodness.
Basetla (bah-set-lah) is vocalist/pianist/songwriter Leela O. and bassist Elton Bradman, two distinct universes joined at the hip. She's a Polish-Roma composer, raised on MTV, Chopin, and Slavic folk music; he's a composer/sound designer for theater, a Grammy-nominated bassist, and a music journalist born in Miami and raised in ashrams. They met while touring Europe with a Polish reggae band over a decade ago, and they’ve been together ever since.
Their first album together, Woman on the Run, has something for everyone. “Planted” nods to Sade and Sly & Robbie; “Moon Sister” and “Dream Chaser” feature witchy women you’ve met in Stevie Nicks songs; and “Without a Tide” is the story of a complicated mother-daughter relationship, soundtracked by Pet Shop Boys and Everything but the Girl. The title track contemplates aging for the modern woman over ’80s-approved synths and outrageous bass. Meanwhile, soulful house grooves and an African-inspired bass break show up on “River Shaped Scar.” “Where to Stargaze” was inspired by the music of Polish Highlanders and the couple’s mutual love of Joni Mitchell’s 1976 opus Hejira. It’s not all just old-school flavor, though: “Ghost Town Love” could only have been written in 2021.
“Working on the album was a welcome relief during the pandemic,” Leela says. “We gave ourselves room to process it all, but we wanted to keep it danceable, too.” Elton agrees. “We put our souls into the album, and it was crazy to hear how our influences melded,” he says. “I’d be channeling Anthony Jackson, Abraham Laboriel, and Mick Karn, and she’d be hearing Fleetwood Mac or Ofra Haza or Bulgarian choirs. None of it was conscious, either—we only noticed when we listened back.”
Thanks to the L.A.-based couple’s globetrotting synergy and the friends who brought their magic—Graham Richards (synths), Hannah Chatham (vocals), as well as guitar, synth, drum programming and overall production by Gawain Mathews —Woman on the Run is destined to be a modern classic that bridges mindsets and generations.
Woman on the Run is available everywhere now.
1. Woman on the Run
2. Dream Chaser
3. River Shaped Scar
4. Ghost Town Love
5. Without a Tide
6. Moon Sister
8. Where to Stargaze
For more visit: basetlamusic.com
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