One of the online underground’s best-kept secrets, 18+ have garnered acclaim with a trilogy of mixtapes, leading to commissions by Prada and the Venice Biennale. Blending lyrical themes of sexual ambiguity, anonymity, voyeurism and fantasy in the digital era with a minimal, yet catchy electronic hip-hop-meets-R&B aesthetic, their intrigue is deepened by how little is known about this US boy-girl duo. As 18+ prepare to emerge from the recesses of the internet, their first commercial release drops on Houndstooth.
As ever, cut and mastered by Matt Colton, the single ‘Crow’ (“a bass-heavy, finger-click-laden banger” – Tiny Mix Tapes), backed with ‘Horn’ (“haunting” – Dummy), is the first 7” on the label and is pressed to white, dinked vinyl in a strictly limited run of 300 copies worldwide.
Vinyl 7" £5.99 HTH023
Ltd white vinyl dinked 7" on Houndstooth. Edition of 300 copies.
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- Crow / Horn by 18+
This single here's by mysterious next-big-things 18+, and it's a cool bit of woozy minimal trap-hop business. On side A you've got 'Crow', which slinks along delicately with a coolly seductive beat constructed from bass pulses, fingersnaps and samples of the eponymous crow propelling an echoing synth loop and eerily mumbled singing from a girl and then a boy. The overall effect falls somewhere between The Knife, Burial and The xx, not bad at all.
Over on the other side 'Horn' takes us somewhere darker and weirder, a howling, glitching squeakscape with a stumbling, clicky beat and trippy, disjointed raps flitting in and out of the foreground. The beat is reminding me a bit of Tyler the Creator but without the gross-out raps. The guy has a weirdly creepy, almost whiny rapping style which is interesting, there's some trippy dub-echoed laughs in places. It's a really filthy-sounding track compared to the polished minimal electronic pop on side A. Intriguing stuff.
10/10 Lee Christie 13th July 2014
The anonymous duo 18+ only known as Boy and Sis first release couldn't have been much better, having signed to Fabric London's sister label Houndstooth, the label currently known to release some of the more experimental sides of electronic at the moment (Snow Ghosts, Special Request and Akkord) their unique sound couldn't be more welcome.
Having released numerous singles before the set of mix tapes they've release spanning the last two years, it only seems fit for them to now gain attention and have a physical product after the release of the absolutely stellar MIXTAP3 mixtape, taking two cuts off the album 'Crow' and 'Horn' both are unique in the realms of RnB/Hip-Hop/Trap. 'Crow' for example uses just a sample of a crows squawk as the main beat and metronome for the entire song with a simple keyboard melody, where as 'Horn' uses a pitch fucked sample of a horn as the main melody, it's disorientating and feels like it belongs in an 80's John Carpenter film almost.
The genius behind 18+ though is the fact they shadow themselves in the anonymity of the internet, rapping about sexuality, drugs, voyeurism, fantasy and fashion, they instantly tap into the social fabric of the digital age without ever complicating the music, just keeping it as minimal as possible.
Check out their live performances though, they don't hide or wear masks, they're just... there, which almost defeats the purpose of being anonymous online in the first place if the likes of Zomby and SOPHIE can't DJ without the use of obscuring themselves.
If there's one group I urge you to check out this year it is 18+, buy this vinyl, soak up the obscurities and enjoy the sound of something completely different at the moment. Download the free mixtapes and tracks and support what I can only see as a duo about to blow up and get considerable attention in the next year.