Motor Function by binki album review by Adam Williams for Northern Transmissions


Motor Function EP


Life can take many twists and turns, especially when you set out on one path that eventually forks and sends you traipsing off on an entirely different direction. Baraka Ongeri aka binki, knows this all too well. Ongeri left the University of North Carolina with a theatre degree in 2018, with the expectation of delving into the world of acting. However, after working dead-end jobs, attending bad auditions and rejections from casting agencies, the artist opted to make a left turn and pursue another creative outlet: music.

The focus was to embrace a DIY ethic and a desire to personify ‘bedroom pop’ with the Pennsylvania-cum-New York artist first drawing the attention of music lovers’ with a slew of singles ‘Marco’, ‘Sea Sick’ and ‘Heybb!’. Having whet the appetite with that trio of standalone tracks, Ongeri has readied the ‘Motor Function’ EP. The four song collection twitches and writhes with a youthful energy that straddles the sonic realms of punk, hip-hop, indie-rock, electronica and pop. It’s probably easier to say that as far as genre is concerned, binki doesn’t subscribe to any.

‘Motor Function’s core is built around hissing drum machine loops, lolloping bass and Ongeri’s sung-spoken vocal delivery. This foundation is then layered up by synth tones and other curious, sometimes indistinguishable noises, which just fuels the EP’s staccato, off-kilter dynamics. ‘Clay Pigeon’ kicks things off, an ode to youthful vulnerability, as Ongeri slurs “I’ve grown accustomed to the sad scene” and the direct “so naked/so sadistic”. The opening track’s mid-paced beats and bass are then sped-up on ‘Landline’ which bounces with an awkward, stop-start stride. Wiggling with a disjointed hip shake, our protagonist murmurs the repeated line “I wanna be the only one you need”, while a cyclical riff rotates like a whirlpool. ‘Revolve’ ups the ante even further, with a punk-ish sneer and a propulsive oomph, that’s again propelled forward by an almost drum ‘n’ bass rhythm. Ongeri’s vocals sound like a toned down Julian Cashwan Pratt (vocalist for NYC hip-hop-punksters, Show Me The Body), which gives the song an extra helping of grit. Although a fleshy underbelly is exposed by the contemplative lyric “whenever I’m alone I meet you in my mind”. ‘Revolve’ acts like’s ‘Motor Functions’ apex as far as an intensity barometer goes, as closing track ‘Invisible Fence’ caps off the EP in a more laidback, less hectic fashion. Although sonically this final number is still raw and leans heavily on bass and drums, it’s the deployment of vapour-like synths and melodic gang vocals that brings out the pop element to Ongeri’s DIY endeavours.

It would appear the acting worlds loss is the music community’s gain; ‘Motor Function’ is the start of something very special from a beguiling talent.

Order Motor Function by binki HERE


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