'The Water We Drink' is the debut album from Khalil, a close confidante of Posh Isolation, and naturally a project close to the heart. With an iridescent shower of auto-tuned vocals and encrypted synthetic forms, Khalil presents a luminous route into a future of cadences pitched to a crushing intensity.
As the new project of Nikolaj Vonsild, best known for his pop endeavours in the synth quartet When Saints Go Machine, as well as his acoustic duo Cancer, Khalil is his strongest vision to date. The collaborative platform for Vonsild's searing angelic/alien vocals is produced with Simon Formann, better know as Yen Towers and formerly of Lower (RIP), along with Villas Klint. With water we feel differently. Indifferently of course, it approaches our sense of touch quite unlike any other matter or form. It slips and caresses, appealing to a sensuality so intuitive it barely registers beyond its immediacy. It's an urgency that always arrives. The ocean tells us so on the shore; a perennial pleasure, a forgivable obsession. That the coast, its container, the edge of where we safely stand and where water waits, is a form just as much as it is a dissolving place, then considering a design such as that of an Evian natural spring water bottle amounts to staring at the stars. Thematically, Khalil draws constellations and cites emotive signals with this kind of deep union between form and touch. Finding perhaps a place undiscovered.
Across the album the impulses of the romantic lyricism are diverted through artificial mechanisms and unnatural vocal terrains. Set against a melodic chorus of fractured pop, there is a certain sense in which the aching wane of Khalil feels like an ensemble of identities grasping for a form as water may grasp for land.
If there's reason to feel that bottled water is a portable piece of something greater than ourselves, then Khalil distributes high definition pop tropes with the same logic. The radio is an ocean, and Khalil's longing a hydrating force.