Caiti Baker, blues, jazz and hip hop artist from Darwin, Australia, released Zinc, her debut album, in October 2017 and since then has received accolades and adulation around the world for delivering a rich and new sound. A sound heavily influenced by an obviously colourful and musical history.
The first track of the album, Believer, really sets the tone of the whole album and for what seems to be a new genre all of her own. A sort of 60’s RnB influenced hip hop sound ladened with beautifully harmonised vocal layers and gospel choir vocal overlays on top of organs, bendy blues guitar licks and Caiti’s very seductive lead vocal. Believer is a very powerful song.
The piece introduces itself with the church organs just mentioned, fading in delicately for a bar or two before Caiti’s lush vocal tone ushers in the first verse. Her lyrics are of a seemingly social commentary with a great use of poetry and a subtle message about social oppression that takes the listener to the chorus. As vocals harmonies surround Caiti’s lead vocal in the first chorus a very nicely compressed hip hop drum pattern is introduced to give the song a lift.
But this point in the song, however, is where my attention was really pricked and I realised Caiti Baker is a serious artist and one to keep an ear out for: she switches he whole tune. Drops a new set of drums and vocal leads, in the same key of course, and a new lyrical direction. I personally love it when artists do this. Kendrick Lamar switches up his songs half way through, a lot of worlds best and most current bands right now, such as Mr Dukes, introduce new genres and elements within the same piece giving the whole thing sections of arrangement that keep the listener intrigued. It’s really clever stuff and Caiti Baker seems to have this ingenuity down to a ‘T’ and it plays perfectly in Believer.
The song, and album, was produced by Caiti and Michael Hohnen of Skinny Fish Music in Australia. The level of production and the arrangement of the music is top notch and the producers have used some really cool effects plugins to engineer some of the bigger sounds in the track. I can also hear that the song is very well mastered, possibly using a more analog mastering rig to give it a big but warm feel in-keeping with the songs 1960’s influences.
All-in-all Caiti Baker is an amazing artist. I’m very impressed indeed. Her lyrics, the style of musicianship and a great sound from start to finish. I recommend mooching over to iTunes or Spotify some time soon and checking out the whole Zinc album. Believer, as amazing as it is, merely stands to set the tone for the whole album. Fantastic.
Words Craig Hopkinson
Photo credit – Cati Baker Facebook site