Review: Janine And The Mixtape – Dark Mind EP

Feature, Music, Review

Waving the New Zealand flag in her relocated home town, Brooklyn, New York is Janine Foster. Her debut EP, Dark Mind has been shown love by the likes of Vibe Magazine, Vevo, Complex Magazine and Billboard. And rightly so.

As the title implies it is dark. Traveling through Foster’s mind it is clear it’s beautiful in there (Hold Me). It’s complex. It’s sad. It’s fighting —  and this woman is strong (Dark Mind).  Having followed her since her commercial release of Bullets a few years back, S E R U M has had the EP on repeat since it dropped June 2013.  For the months/year that came between Bullets and its mothership Dark Mind, Janine’s ‘visual diary’ aka her Tumblr: teased sultry minute-long, clips that were multi-exposed and made on a phone ap she says.

As the EP breezes through tracks seamlessly, from beginning to end, in a way Foster is still teasing fans. It’s  no surprise that she channels an ‘OVXO’ sound considering he’s scouted her out to do more work together in future. Thus the Janine and The Mixtape craving continues. We saw her on balcony TV with DJ Sir-Vere in 2010 — who knew when she was covering Biggie remixes that her voice had the ability to haunt you in that state between wake and sleep; her feature track ‘Hold Me’ did that for me.

Though the songs are sweet and typically R&B, they’re so deeply sad – in a good way. One blog, The Drop FM wrote Janine’s singing about the struggles of living with having been raped. Suddenly these lyrics make her dark mind clearer: “I had my child hood stolen from me one night, so I don’t care about a bruise, you think that cause I got a smile on my face that I don’t know about pain, we’ll look into my past but I’m not going back there again”.

On Dark Mind she sings:  “Was taken by stranger, and left with an enemy. And even though he’s put away, still lives inside me.” Before I read the lyrics she posted on her Tumblr the songs broke my heart. Afterwards the beats and the darkness encroached on my sense of empathy and the ghostliness of the visuals and Dark Mind’s tones made sense.

Dark Mind comfortably places Janine Foster as a premium all-in-one (singer/writer/producer)  Kiwi export. Quite arguably the best one yet.

She will be back in New Zealand October 2013 and has put a call out to promoters to get at her while for shows in that time.

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