Oliver Malcolm’s “Helen” Is Cathartic, Contained Chaos


Photo: Riccardo Castano

With each new release, Oliver Malcolm carves out an enthralling niche in a post-genre world. The Swedish-born, London-raised artist has only two singles to date, including his just-released single, "Helen," but in that span, he has already laid the blueprint for his frenetic, unpredictable, and intoxicating signature style.

"Helen" follows closely on the heels of Malcolm's masterful debut, "Switched Up," which we praised as nothing short of a grand entrance. In his sophomore outing, the grit and salvation of London city streets come to life. Opening on what can only be described as a mixture of cathartic expulsion and scat singing, Malcolm sets the stage for "Helen" to enter as a moment of contained chaos that is just ready to burst at the seams.

The frenetic fervor of the entire affair carriers through in Malcolm's animalistic production, which gives way to booming lows, distorted staccato beats, and occasional glimpses at the heavenly breaks that exist beyond the ensuing madness. It is a sonic collage of pieced-together elements that takes on an air all its own. The one anchoring point is Malcolm's sole reoccurring plea. "Rescue me before I go to sleep."

Malcolm spoke further on "Helen," sharing,

"Last year I moved back to England. The song feels gritty and raw because that's how I felt being back home in that environment. This guy owned a small complex behind an automobile warehouse and agreed to let me make as much noise as I want if I paid him 500 quid. I'd ride my bike back & forth every day with all my equipment in my backpack. This is the first song I made there."

In two-singles-time, Malcolm has proven himself to be a different breed of artist. One whose vision seems limitless, ominous, addicting right from the outset.

Listen to "Helen" below: