Essential Tracks: 'Blackheart' beats with visionary soul sonics

January 27, 2015 1:08 PM

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Best known as an original member of Danity Kane, R&B singer Dawn Richard left the group last year (again) after a public kerfuffle revealed deep divisions among the crew. No disrespect to the others, but Richard is thriving without them. Over the last few years she's issued a series of works that hinted at a wildly visionary approach to soul sonics, and she's gone even further on "Blackheart."

A collaboration with the Los Angeles producer Noisecastle III, Richards' second studio album is thick with synth-based polyrhythms and layers of Richard's often breathtaking voice. When delivered straight, it's solid and pitch perfect. More often, though, she and Noisecastle run her words through st...

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