When LA-by-NYC's Nicky Sparkles was honing "LAA"—a track the singer had already been kicking around for a few years—producer Nicolas Jaar presented him with a choice: "Do you want to be 80s funk, or do you want to be 2040 James Bond?"
The answer is in "LAA's" sharp pop-R&B structure, hi-fi synths, and the thump of Jaar's dynamic drum production, bringing its throwback roots into a modern context. It's a taste of what's to come from Sparkles's forthcoming EP, due out in July, and the first we've heard from him as a solo artist since releasing "It's Your Life" on Jaar's Other People in 2014.
"It's an ode to eternal intimacy, and honoring our etheric vessel that contains all the love in existence," says Sparkles, formerly of groups Splash! and Mode.
Similarly, "C'est La Vie," written with Silk Rhodes's Sasha Desree, is another boogie-inspired track with an ear to the future, whose aphoristic lyrics explore vulnerability, duality, and identity. It's also, perhaps first and foremost, a deeply funky dance jam.
"Sasha and I began talking about the idea of song literally while we were in a bathtub, so it's already a very vulnerable song to begin with," Sparkles says. "The lyrics present options, so it looks at reaching out for that other happiness and reaching out for an illusion of yourself that probably isn't true."
Listen to the premiere of Nicky Sparkles's "LAA / C'est La Vie" and check out upcoming shows below.
June 11 - Los Angeles, Ace Hotel
June 16th - NYC, Knockdown Center
Andrea Domanick is Noisey's West Coast Editor. Follow her on Twitter.