PREMIERE: M.I.L.K. masks the political with the personal on ‘Slow Emotions’
M.I.L.K., the artistic moniker of Copenhagen-based artist and producer EMIL WILK, is no stranger to ambition. His 2017 debut EP, A Memory of a Memory of a Postcard, capitalised on the project’s initial internet buzz by unveiling itself through a multimedia series of video installations, music videos and a photo series, as well as an exhibition tour. Fast forward to now, and M.I.L.K.’s follow-up track, the sultry, feverish ‘Slow Emotions’, sees him steering this ambition in a more lowkey direction with a track that subtly fuses the personal and political.
Of the track’s inception, M.I.L.K. said, “This was the first song I wrote for the EP. When I started I knew I wanted to keep the beach vibe of my first EP, but this time all of the songs should be made for “dancing on the beach” rather than “chilling at the beach”. So based on this dogma I wrote ‘Slow Emotions’.”
Metallic drums, marimba and leisurely synth chords add an effortless bounce to the track, which is anchored by a yelping, heavily processed horn line that contorts itself into endlessly intriguing variations throughout. With an ear towards alt-pop experimentalism, M.I.L.K. channels the heatwave sexuality of CURTIS MAYFIELD into a brass line that feels like the intersection of classic 70’s funk and contemporary soul-inflected electronica, infusing the big brass drops of JUNGLE with the lowkey sensuality of RHYE.
The sensual playfulness of the cut is almost enough to mask the political double entendres M.I.L.K. suffuses beneath the lyrical surface: “The lyrics have this dual function of being both a classic love song about two strangers meeting on the dancefloor in a flirt that gradually heats up as the song progresses, but the song can also be heard as a sort of hint for all of us to react on the rising temperatures and abandon our “slow emotions” towards the melting poles.” Moving at this sweltering temperature across its three-minute runtime, the track captures the moment suspended between action and inaction, whether that moment be personal, romantic or political in nature.
The video, directed by Billie Thomassin and Tristan Lhomme, shares this dual function, mixing playful shots with images that could be read as either subtle allusions to the track’s politics or as connotations of the track’s sensuality: honey drips down a glass sphere, water overflows a glass, a vase of flowers shatters, and a hand squeezes the juice from a blood orange. Still, people are caught in a state of inaction, slowly jogging into still backdrops of nature, but never actually getting anywhere. But it’s always playful, and that’s the key.
With ‘Slow Emotions’, M.I.L.K. will make you dance on the beach and then worry about rising sea levels. It’s the most playful, sensual song about climate change you’re likely to ever hear.
IMAGE: Jonas Bang