Fifi Rong | Fortitude Magazine 9/10 review on Forbidden Desire EP
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Fortitude Magazine 9/10 review on Forbidden Desire EP

As a writer for Fortitude, I have been introduced to copious amounts of new musicians in my three years with the magazine, but none more hardworking or beguiling than Beijing-born purveyor of hybrid electronica FiFi Rong. A compellingly creative being, Rong’s self-crafted fusion of night-time electronica nuanced with the flair of her Chinese heritage has earned her collaborations with fellow celebrated artists such as Skepta, Phaeleh, Yello and trip hop connoisseur, Tricky.

A short four months after the release of her Violently Silently EP, FiFi’s third EP Forbidden Desirewastes no time in captivating its audience with effortless seduction. The EP’s title track immediately draws you into FiFi’s alluring and ghostly being with its flirtatiously eerie R&B-flavoured rhythm. Each second that moves by carries like a sensual slither, sauntering off into the next track.

Rong carries a voice that possesses the gift of sensual witchcraft, as listeners will discover when allowing her music into their eardrums. Every utterance emits a guileful come-hither tone, even on songs as introspective and delicate as ‘Holy’. Shrouded in charcoal-dark mists, ‘Holy’ finds itself traipsing through a dark aura that circles around FiFi’s elegant vocals in a fashion that may recall ambient/electronica duo Lamb.

“A short four months after the release of her Violently Silently EP, FiFi’s third EP Forbidden Desire wastes no time in captivating its audience with effortless seduction”

The latter half of this tenebrous EP is far more cinematic. ‘You Hurt Me’, while more minimalist than its predecessors puts a greater focus on the music. A sparse cogitation of heartbreak, the music is easily among Rong’s richest productions to date. Mighty and dramatic as an instrumental track, ‘You Hurt Me’ could serve as the soundtrack to a climactic standoff in a Wuxia film.

Bookending the EP is the Turnipbeet remix of ‘Forbidden Desire’. Almost unrecognisable, this stupendous remix transforms the spectral original into a downtempo practice in hypnosis, slowly cascading around the listener’s headspace in a theatrically beautiful dance.

Whether accompanied by the gently swaying breeze of strings or the gripping growl of a rumbling baseline, FiFi Rong’s entrancing voice remains consistent in its captivating delivery, reciting her lyrics like a woven spell.

Her contortionist creativity is limitless and it allows her to bend any sound into a new shape and make it completely her own. Another great success, be sure to keep your eyes on FiFi Rong’s next pursuit.


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