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Egyptian Artist Odqin Unveils Retro-Inspired R&B EP ‘Fragments of Self

An eclectic mixture of tight grooves and soulful harmonies, infused with stripped-down riffs and classic hip-hop breaks, the songs present themselves as pensive, vulnerable, and soulful.

Riham Issa

Egyptian Artist Odqin Unveils Retro-Inspired R&B EP ‘Fragments of Self

Following the release of his silky smooth jam single 'High' with London-based vocalist Hazel Sapphire earlier this year, Egyptian rising artist Odqin is now treating us to a full taste of retro R&B and jazz in his latest EP, 'Fragments of Self'.

At its core, 'Fragments of Self' serves as a tale of Odqin's journey of self-discovery and a compelling representation of the diverse facets of his sound, featuring collaborations with artists from Alexandria, Cairo, London and Detroit. An eclectic mixture of tight grooves and soul-stirring harmonies, infused with stripped-down riffs and classic hip-hop breaks, the songs present themselves as pensive, vulnerable and soulful. In other words, it is pure rhythm, blues and jazz. 

Though the EP lacks the explosive effect of high-energy drums and mainstream electronic beats, the insistent physicality of soft rhythms and ambient instrumentation present throughout the seven tracks makes it an evocative and raw body of work.

Setting the tone for the whole EP, 'Ouverture' opens with a languid finger-cymbal ping laced with emotive violin arrangements that focus on nuance rather than volume. On 'Check It Out', however, Odqin starts to incorporate dreamy synths and basslines with poignant percussion and rhythm guitar ricocheting left and right. It's an ambient laid-back track that automatically calms one's nerves the moment one hears it.

In 'Superbloom', the saxophone sweeps in with the electric guitar, creating a melody one could say was pulled straight from a 70s jazz hotbed in sweet Harlem. The EP unfurls with 'Better Days', an epitome of classic 90s hip-hop at its best, featuring Michigan emcee One Be Lo effortlessly spitting bars against the backdrop of smooth jazzy guitar notes, culminating with soft drum patterns that hit like a heartbeat.

The final stretch of the EP, 'Outro', moves back toward the soft ballad mode similar to the tonality of the opening track. It evokes the feeling of those early morning hours just before dawn cracks open on the coastal city of Alexandria.

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