I really gotta applaud Alex Wiley. On February 15, a little less than a month ago, he tweeted, “Dropping a mixtape in the next 30 days,” out of the blue. For the most part, I was thinking something like, “Ok, we’ll see.”
But here we are less than 30 days later, and Alex Wiley’s One Singular Flame Emoji EP has arrived, and it’s actually really, really good. I remember seeing him say that part of the inspiration behind the self-imposed time crunch on putting the tape together was to get into a new creative space that would allow him to let loose and make music for the sake of making music, not over-thinking the strategy behind its creation or release. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting upon pressing play this morning, but I know my expectations weren’t exceedingly high. But maybe that’s the genius of One Singular Flame Emoji, described as “Rare Collectibles” (Wiley appropriately pays homage to Based God in the second track) in the Soundcloud description. We weren’t supposed to know what we were getting with this project, but it was very clear Wiley had fun making it, and he did a damn good job.
The tape really rides clean all the way through. It’s sonically captivating, but never too intricate. “Claire” featuring Pouya is a banger, “Solo” is super creative and flows perfectly into “Spark Something”—probably my favorite track on the tape (and perhaps The Stand4rd-inspired?)—and the optimism of the previously released “Top Of The World” to close out 9-track collection ends things on a fittingly high note.
I’m happy to say that this EP assured me that with Wiley, the best is still yet to come. I’m not sure I ever doubted that, but the fact that he publicly challenged himself with this and delivered in full speaks volumes to his drive and talent. Stream below, and stay tuned for more.