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Live Review: Basenji teams up with Tkay Maidza for huge new single, 'Mistakes'

21 November 2017 | 9:58 am | Camilla Patini

The cute pupper better known as BASENJI has just released a new single featuring TKAY MAIDZA. Tkay is of course the Zimbabwe-born, 21-year-old from Adelaide who, in just a few years, has reached massive, worldwide success for her own music, including her debut album, TKAY.

If Basenji's aim with his newest release is to reach wider audiences, then this track featuring Tkay makes perfect sense: it's bigger and poppier than anything he's released previously. Tkay's following overseas is ever growing and she has huge mass appeal; plus, her music attracts people from all over, drawing as it does from grime and garage to straight-up hip-hop and electro-ballads. Basenji may be making a calculated move here then, deciding to step into more mainstream, cross-over territory with his latest release.

But “going mainstream” isn’t a bad thing here because it has actually snapped his style into sharper focus – ‘Mistakes’ feels like the most complete and realised release out of his songs to date, although a personal highlight for this writer will always be his EP, Trackpad from 2015. He hasn’t compromised on his signature style either; instead he's worked on incorporating his sound into what are some really good drops and has built more tension into his arrangements. The result is a well-crafted pop song that will no doubt appeal to many.

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'Mistakes' works so well because it has a great rhythm and is structured around climactic moments. For instance, the pre-drop clap buildup works really well paired with Tkay’s vocals; she moves the song forward, seemingly speeding it up, so that it builds into a real crowd-pleaser. The rest of the song is full of signature Basenji beats, including future bass/pop tinges like swirling synths and sweet, twinkling effects. Elsewhere, the marching bassline and horns add depth, texture and interest, allowing the song to soar. The sexy, slightly slowed down bridge is one of the song's most memorable moments, introducing an RnB vibe which will no doubt go down a treat at festivals. The song ends with some syncopated horns, providing a release that's blissful and resolving. Thematically, the song is super relatable – who hasn't fought with a partner only to make up afterwards?

'Mistakes' has the flavour of a Snakehips song perhaps, bringing to mind their 2016 hit, 'Don't Leave' with Danish singer songwriter MØ. Tkay sounds a bit like  here too, sounding a bit coarse and carrying a similar emotional intensity. Either way, her performance on 'Mistakes' really hits that sweet spot between emotional and physical; parts like ‘You know how to play this game’ can be soft and gentle while in other parts the same line builds up perfectly to a drop, reaching anthemic heights.

Like every great producer, Basenji's aesthetic is elastic but instantly recognisable. This love-filled tune will no doubt break it big over the summer.

Photo: Supplied