Chino Amobi makes music that sounds like dancing during the world’s impending doom. The market crashes, violence against the perceived weak gets worse and worse, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. In this scary ass future, a person is dancing to the sound of ringing bullet shells falling on the newly paved ground, broken glass windows of someone’s updated Tesla, and malfunctioning digital billboards—proven to be seizure-inducing in a world that never manages to deal with its collective stress and anxiety. Imagine what would happen if you were tripping balls off way too many red pills while also narrowly surviving a suicide attempt; as if those red pills were sold on the streets instead of at local pharmacies, where occasionally faulty robots take the place of local pharmacists, and being in the medicine field has gotten less profitable by the year. Amobi makes music that sounds chaotic, confrontational, or cinematic. It’s like an afro-futuristic film soundtrack you can also play at a club—if you are both brave and ambitious enough.
This sound has served Amobi very well since his Diamond Black Hearted Boy days, and his latest release, French Extremism, continues this futuristic tone. The opening track, “FR1,” bursts through your eardrums with buzzing bass undercurrents and stuttering techno synths. The second track, “FR2,” begins with the sound akin to someone getting sexual pleasure off of being cattle prodded—the song literally opens with the juxtaposition of electrical sparks and female moaning voice—before continuing the dark, red-lit vibe with a driving rave beat, accompanying freakout synths and vocals reminiscent of Kelela or Embaci.
What else has continued in Amobi’s works is each song carries its own anxious tension, but it is a tension that isn’t to the detriment of the tracks being “music.” Be it the future trap of “FR4” or the spacemusic shimmer of “FR5,” there is never ever a disappearance of the feeling that a war is around the corner. Somewhere, screams are let out in pain, and speeches are shouted through megaphones. Even “FR6” mixes the coldly flirty with the creepy—and that is before a wolf bays in the background. If the radio still exists, it’s at a time when it no longer feels cool to dance anymore. So, doing so is its own act of either bold, tight-fisted rebellion or insanity.
Those who have been around the block listening to Amobi’s music may have been here before with his worldbuilding, but it doesn’t make it any less exhilarating. But when we say exhilarating, we mean how exhilarating it was for the white kid in Vince Staples’ “F.U.N.” to study dangerous Compton streets through Google Maps. The dystopia is right outside, but for the listening public, Amobi has dropped another project for the comfort of those who want to experience organized chaos from the comfort of their headphones.