I featured SZA’s stunning  ”Ice.Moon” a month or so back. It was clear to me that while she still stayed rooted in her experimental and genre-bending ambitions of her debut, she took it to a new thrilling level with a more polished electronic R&B approach. Now that her new EP titled S is out, it’s further proof of why she’s possibly the most exciting female R&B singer around.

By sampling Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” over beautiful atmospheric vocals and sweeping percussion on the EP opener “Castles”, she reveals her as a brave and confident artist, not afraid of touching songs some might consider sacrilegious. “Castles” is quite possibly her best song yet. On “Aftermath”, a track that’s been floating around the net for a couple of weeks, she continues the slick The Weeknd-esque R&B of “Ice.Moon”, while “Wings” is more of a slow-burning synth-pop with arpeggio synthesizers sweeping over a dark minimalistic bass-line. It’s kind of a Jessie Ware vs Chromatics sort of thing and it works pretty well. The EP features 8 tracks, a couple of them being a bit too far leftfield, but most of it is skilled and bold R&B, a female version of Tom Krell, if you will.

Everything she does seems effortless – filled with a quirky creativity, yet very much rooted in pop, just enough not to alienate a larger crowd. She’s the perfect combination of pop and experimentation, not that the two should necessarily cancel each other out (not in a perfect world anyway). Nevertheless, it’s a preferred combination and SZA does it better than most.

S is the first part of an ambitious project of releasing a series of three (!) EP’s this year (A Robyn / The Weeknd sort of thing). The other two are titled Z and A (obviously). Listen to our best picks of the EP below.

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