Live Review: King IV is anything but 'Basic' - and her new song's here to prove it

31 October 2018 | 7:00 am | Kyle Fensom

Her first single of 2018, King IV's 'Basic' is a tour-de-force of dark electronica slash future-pop slash R&B so potent is almost impossible to describe.

Following on from an impressive run of singles that date back to her 2016 debut, Melbourne producer and songwriter KING IV has unveiled her first single of 2018, ‘Basic’.

‘Basic’ is a tour-de-force of dark electronica slash future-pop slash alt-R&B so potently distilled into its all too brief runtime, that trying to describe its sound through a litany of genre descriptors is kind of pointless. Oftentimes, the track itself doesn’t have the time to consider what it is or what genre it would fall under, choppy hip hop flows fluidly turning to sweetly glitchy, falsetto pop melodies and back again, as King IV shows off the full range of her vocals.


From the unequivocal opening lines - “They call me basic / I’m feeling awesome” - ‘Basic’ feels like a truly breathless onslaught of a song, its two-and-a-bit minutes struggling to contain King IV’s brimming attitude and commanding charisma from spilling all over the floor. It’s also packed: by my count, there’s at least three potential hooks here, each line moonlighting as a quotable in its own right. Meanwhile, the instrumentation rattling beneath is a typically twisted and bold affair. The production on this has been crafted as a subterranean sonic built around shuddering subs, thick bass and a shivering, gnarled vocal sample that melts into the propulsive, frenetic percussion.

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‘Basic’ owns all of this, everything about itself, which is why, more than anything, King IV’s music gets described as “empowered”. A degree of self-assuredness or self-confidence is essential to pulling off this sort of music, I think; when music is this boldly throwing us into a genreless, auteurist future, the music sounding as if it ever doubts itself undermines what it is. But King IV’s ethos of empowerment goes beyond that, saying of the track that: “I made ‘Basic’ for anyone with a fiery point to prove. They can’t fuck with us - we are unrelenting, determined, and we thrive off their disapproval”.

After this, I really don’t know who would ever be calling King IV basic again.

Photo by Giulia Giannini McGauran