Baeb Rxxth is the New York-based duo of Devon Craig Johnson and Nasimiyu Murumba. Johnson is a guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, DJ, remixer, model, event producer, and video creative who met Murumba at one of his own Chinatown dance parties in 2013. But his resume isn’t the only impressive one; Murumba self-released her debut full-length Rules Aren’t Real in 2012 and followed that up with 2014’s Dirt, an EP that earned accolades from the likes of Vogue, Nylon and Rookie. The EP was co-produced by Swedish producer Andreas Gustafsson and New Orleans-based Ben Lorio. Murumba is half-Kenyan and half-Scandinavian, and was technically born in Minneapolis, but cites New Orleans as the first place she really called home. Her work certainly reflects Louisiana’s prism-like ability to filter various disparate cultures into one warm, boiling mass of music. She casually cites influences as diverse as Atmosphere, Etta James, and Kurt Cobain, and there’s elements of dream-pop, folk, jazz, soul and in her sound.
“Gutter” is the very first inkling we’ve gotten of what the two sound like together as Baeb Rxxth, and though Murumba’s voice is front and center, the two emphasize that they helm production duties together: “I think of us as a production team,” Murumba says. “We’re side-by-side on drum machines, samplers, and synth bass keyboards, building these big fun, sound houses to shelter what had begun as just my weird little singer/songwriter piano demos.” The track bubbles and struts with glitchy samples and a cacophony of high soprano harmonies, before turning the corner into a clatter of deep electronic fuzz. “You messed with the wrong one,” Murumba belts with almost staccato pronunciation, driving the condemnation home with a strike on each word. Of course, anyone who’s hung out in the gutter — or whatever euphemism for rock bottom you prefer — knows that there’s nowhere to go but up. Listening to Baeb Rxxth’s wobbly, golden stutter-funk assures that their trek toward self-empowerment is a much longer journey than this song covers, but “Gutter” is nothing if not a victorious first step. Listen.
The OMW EP is out 11/14.