PREMIERE: Hôy la’s “Resist” is a Meditative and Sensual Trip Hop Fantasy

The Norwegian musician and producer's latest takes the broodiness of Lamb or Portishead and makes it fully her own.

Photography by Tommy Frost

As a teenager, I went through a bit of a trip hop phase. I say “a bit” because I found a lot of the trip hop producers rather inconsistent in terms of quality: it seemed to me that apart from the genre’s legends like Massive Attack, Portishead and Lamb, many others working with trip hop had difficulty teetering between messy moodiness and, well, cheesiness (Morcheeba, I’m looking at you.) And in a way, who can blame them? Good trip hop happens when over-exaggerated vocals work in tandem with cacophonous production and textbook melancholy—a combination that’s quite the feat to pull off. Even today’s creatives rooted in hip hop – Holland’s Sevdaliza, Norway’s Pieces of Juno, even FKA Twigs – seem to forever be teetering between sonic hit or misses. Which is why I’m more than pleased to premiere Norwegian producer and musician Ingri Høyland Kvamstad aka Hôy la‘s latest track today: “Resist” is a carefully calculated and 100% compelling piece of trip hop which manages to harken back to the genre’s finest elements without falling into camp.

According to Kvamstad, her project is about “creative restlessness.” And you can definitely tell from listening to “Resist”: throughout the track, production swells and flows turbulently, with organic live loops and acoustic elements circling each other to create an atmosphere that’s sensual, dark and seductive. The unpredictable quality of it partially comes from Kvamstad’s collaboration with The Entrepreneurs’ Jonas Wetterslev, who co-produced the track: it feels like their different musical backgrounds melt into each other to create something expansive, explorative and daring.  Kvamstad’s vocals tie the track together, too: crystallized into the forefront with a slight layer of reverb, her breathy emphasis on the lyrics and almost nonchalant delivery lends a layer of longing and drama to the whole track. And despite the almost wild quality to the production, the track never unravels or starts to seem like a mimicry of trip hop’s finest. Somehow, Kvamstad’s united juxtaposing elements into a track that sounds completely her own—and makes us very excited indeed to hear more from her soon.