FKA twigs' live shows are dramatic, visceral, and extremely visual experiences, centered as much on her physicality as her breathy voice, her live band often obscured behind a thin layer of fog that you imagine might be incense. On these new performances for Seattle radio station KEXP, though, we get a rare peek behind the curtain into the mechanics of making the music, and it's excellent.
In a studio adorned just with tiny twinkling lights, twigs and band played four songs, very quietly, letting her voice lead the way, a mild flip from her bass-heavy productions. In a rare move, twigs didn't really dance—a sway here and there, dressed in a denim Marquis Almeida suit, all white to match her band. The recording is crisp enough that you can even hear her slight lisp in the mix, a tic that makes the songs even more intimate.
"Two Weeks" was the most turned-up of the bunch (if you will), the synths roiling in crescendo, as they do. Pay special attention to electronic drummer guy in the mock turtleneck, because he is the man.
On the other hand, "Hide" was probably the quietest, and did something remarkable: revealed twigs as the modern-day torch singer we know her to be. "Lights On," too, and though she's talked about how that song is not explicitly about sex, the sensuality of it cannot be denied—especially as she lets out a little knowing smile as she's singing the chorus ("when I trust you we can do it with the lights on").
Meanwhile, "Kicks," above, is almost seething in its quietude, and shows plainly the strength that radiates from her, even as she's singing a song about being physically distant from a lover—"I get my kicks like you," implying a cheating one, too.
FKA twigs is currently up for Britain's Mercury Prize against a bunch of other fools who suck. (Seriously, how can you call yourself Jungle and not actually play jungle?!) In a recent interview with Essence, she discussed feeling alienated from the razzmatazz that accompanies pop stardom (surely felt more acutely now that she's been paparazzified thanks to her relationship with Robert Pattinson). "I'm a country girl," she said. "The more big cities I go to, the more fashionistas and designers I meet who want to dress me, the more I have all these kind of superficial but amazing experiences, the more I just realize that I'm from Gloucestershire. I'm from the country and I just want to get married and be a really good person. I love making breakfast. As much as I know I'm very eccentric in one way, I'm also not in many other ways." SAME.