Alex Fleming, who goes under the moniker Black Atlass, makes lusty, stripped down R&B with palpable essence. Hailing from Montreal, the young virtuoso recently released his debut album that reveals the hidden vices that even the most beautiful places hold. Fleming shares the struggle of trying to maintain a sense of purity within the journey through those dark spaces, giving us Haunted Paradise.
Drawing inspiration from his gilded experiences of first visiting Los Angeles, the underlying influences and theme of the album resonate the sensuous and sinister balance the city maintains. With a stunning falsetto, deep hip hop bass lines, and gritty synths, Fleming mirrors that same balance throughout his debut with delicate thematic harmonies in each song. Coupling this balance with his sleek approach to his music and image, the merit of Fleming’s compelling originality is his sincerity. In the track Tonight, the airy vocals and contemporary sounds married with R&B affections and yearning melodies combine to create a stand out track about the unhindered exploration of beauty. In a time where authenticity holds great significance, Fleming is a veritable artist who should be praised. He’s an artist who not only writes and performs his own music and lyrics, but also engineers, mixes, and records each song. He’s behind the entire creative process, having complete control and vision over his craft. There’s dexterity in Haunted Paradise, and there’s a level of intimacy arising from the sparseness Fleming deliberately adds to his music. It’s a cerebral approach to songwriting, and it works.
Originality implies being bold enough to go beyond accepted norms, and that’s what Fleming brings to the table with the utmost passion in Haunted Paradise. Rather than taking the formulated, crowd-sourced commercial route to music making, Fleming designs his own path. He’s a breath of fresh air to the music industry – bringing something undeniably artful and authentic to R&B, and serving as a reminder to artists to keep making music that’s true to them.