As the founder and driving force behind the music label Sheikomuzik, Sheiko Litho knows a thing or two about making a hit and happening single. As a label boss, he has been responsible for plenty of positive and life-affirming records that span genres, from pop and R&B to worldbeat and EDM and music. He also knows that the world is, in many respects, a very small place, creatively speaking, which explains the label’s constant collaboration with artists and musicians across the globe. It is a burgeoning music force that hops not only genre and geography but also sound and style, musical creed and culture. In short, it is an all-embracing and forward-thinking musical approach.

The latest release, Red Raw, is the perfect example of what the label and the man whose vision that label is built on is all about. Although the label’s music is, as described above, eclectic across the board, Red Raw sits somewhere in the R&B/dance-pop spectrum. R&B seems to be having a bit of a renaissance, so why shouldn’t it be? When done correctly, the genre is the perfect storm of soulful traditions, poised-pop attitudes, rootsy grooves and beautiful dance-fuelled infectiousness. And that is the perfect summation of this song. And in this case, you can add to the list6 of attributes that the single is also deftly cut and wonderfully spacious enough for the instrumentation to be able to breathe, percolate and mature like fine sonic wine.

And, as if to underline the cosmopolitan vibe of this record, not only does it flirt with genres, it flits between languages. In the hands of lesser individuals, the mixing and matching of language may be off-putting. Still, here, things are so expertly put together that even if the song switches language and you lose the direct communication of the lyric, so sweetly is the song delivered that the voice becomes just another layer of exquisite tone and beguiling texture, voice as an instrument, and the song is all the better for it.

Of course, what every good song needs is a great video. Again, Sheiko ticks that box for us, and Red Raw is best experienced as an audio-visual package. The video is a cool collection of avant-garde imagery, sensual scenes, abstract artistry, and imaginative interludes. As is always the case, songs and videos can be great as individual art attacks, but when put together correctly, as they are here, they go far beyond being the sum of their parts.

Forward-thinking, poised pop? New dance? Arty R&B? Sophisticated clubland culture? It is all of these things and more. Better still, let’s just call it great music and have done with it.

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