Bakkuda is Alex Capella. The singer, songwriter and producer wrote, recorded and mixed everything on her new EP, Rule This Space. There are no guest musicians, no backup singers, nor any interlopers of any kind. Not that it needs any. From the first buzz of synthesizer on leadoff track "Rule This Space," Capella builds up a remarkably rich and dense world of R&B-inspired synth-pop that's as powerful as it is subtly alluring.
Capella's brand of electronic pop draws some easy comparisons to contemporary performers such as Purity Ring and FKA Twigs, thanks to a similar penchant for dystopian sensuality. She tends to favor lower BPMs and oozing keyboard melodies, and her domain is more often the future-soul dirge than the banger. Not that these songs won't give your sound system a hell of a workout, they'll just do so in more spacious intervals.
Just because Bakkuda delivers up-tempo tracks more sparingly than most doesn't mean they don't exist. EP highlight "Time" is one such track, its tempo clocked just a little higher than the tracks that precede it. In this case, though, a little goes a long way. Its sputtering beats juxtaposed against an ethereal bed of synths gives it an appealing urgency. By comparison, closing track "Safety" uses what sounds like a MIDI koto in place of the more atmospheric synthesizer sound that appears in most of her tracks. As such it's the lone track that feels like an actual ballad rather than a dark, futuristic slow jam.
The best song of the bunch is "Skills," which keeps a fairly minimal arrangement of throbbing basslines and stark, echoing beats. Here, Capella showcases what might be an even greater strength than her ability to build songs up into something bigger. Stripped down to a more spacious, threadbare arrangement, "Skills" feels impeccably crafted, and does a better job of showcasing her vocal abilities. Less, as they say, is more, and Bakkuda puts that into practice nicely on Rule This Space.