Midwestern producer/singer-songwriter 1010 Benga SL gets personal on "WindUp Space!"

Most artists don't make a splash or start to transform culture until they're established and a little further along in their careers. 1010 Benga SL is already turning heads and changing minds, only three songs deep into his career. Benga's first song, "Hell Is Others," was a racially-charged evocation of the Tulsa race riots of 1921 featuring an interview with Olivia Hooker, the first African-American woman in the United States Coast Guard. The song has since been removed from Soundcloud due to its controversial nature.



Clearly Benga's got his fingers on the pulse. He's also not afraid to tackle tough subject matter. He's turned his attention to more personal matters, which still sound just as timely. It tells a tale of loss, regret, and longing for something different, with Benga's smooth vocals cresting over a neoclassical tapestry of woodwinds and brass. The orchestration gives way to something more futuristic, backwards electroid synths and beats made to sound like shooting stars. It all builds to a truly grandiose climax, sawing swooning strings and elegiac brass. Pitchfork compares "Wind Up Space" to "Michael Jackson singing a song by Bjork." To go one step further, if Samuel Barber's Adagio For Strings from the Platoon soundtrack were repurposed to describe the attrition of broken hearts that love can bring, it might sound something like "Wind Up Space."

It's almost absurd 1010 Benga SL hasn't even released an album yet. Talent and ambition like his are rare, to be treasured when they are found. We Are: The Guard are so, so glad we found "Wind Up Space." You will be, too.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.