At 24 years young, the porkpie fanatic and so-called 'British Frank Ocean' - aka Azekel – is on the brink of dropping his debut EP, Circa. We've been a fan of the East End crooner for a number of months; we described his debut single ('That Feeling') as Azekel showcasing "a penchant for screwy acoustics, with cagey, echoing guitar riffs beneath bullwhip cracks of snare. He's got that brutal, sensitive honesty which slashes through some of the pageantry of R&B." You can draw lines between Ocean and even Toronto's PBR&B idol The Weeknd, but Azekel doesn't follow in their footsteps, he treads a path entirely his own.

The EP's lead single, 'Be Mine '03', skitters across a landscape of tropical lagoons and white sands bleached by beating sun. Azekel nurtures a soulful '80s vibe, a sort-of afterparty dance streak intended for a private, sultry rendezvous during a lengthy St. Tropez sojourn. Blacksmif's fizzing off-kilter beats bounce around like a pinball, igniting the tapers on satin synth harmonies and a rich sonic millefeuille layered with crispy rhythms, candied vox and a sumptious emotional core.

Azekel has cultivated a powerful emotion brand of quiet storm R&B in his music, but it's not all weeping ballads. 'In The Zone '13' sees the pop demon within get a look-see - it's glossy and club-poised with beefy chunks of dance synths. It's almost Usher-esque. 'Official '07', with it's narcotic pitchshifted vocals and urban hymn synths recalls James Blake or kwes. or Deptford Goth. It's a distinctly London post-dubstep/noir&B noise; the standout factor here is Azekel's delirious voice. Sometimes he sounds wide-eyed and intense, but within sentences he can shift to Sunday-morning weariness. It gets to a point that the words don't really matter - you can understand Azekel's themes merely through his tone and inflection.

Azekel sauntered onto the scene as an impressive artist. Now we've had time to digest and appreciate and dissect his first substantial release, it's obvious that first impression was spot on. Circa is based on a "collection of memories" assembled over the past decade and put to music, which brings us up to date with Azekel's emotional side and his influences (and explains why each track has a clear-cut timbre). It's a fantastic introduction to a musician with mighty talent.

An introduction by the artist...

The Circa EP is a collection of memories from 2003 – 2012, felt it was great to introduce my first EP showcasing moments that me who I am today.

The writing process was cool, made the EP in between jobs and any spare time really. Recorded everything in my living room-studio. I tend to write alot when travelling, I remember dope lines and melodies that come to me. The process took like 4-5 months from writing and the production process to the tracks being mastered.

I wanted each track off the EP to stand apart and be different form each other - that's one of the reasons I worked with other producers. The EP is a collaborative effort where I worked with four others producers ( Vincent Perez, Adelight, Youan, and Blacksmif). Working with different producers helped me gain different sounds to portray a nostalgic feeling through each track.

'In The Zone '13 is a song which was inspired most recently during making the EP. I used to stay up real late trying to zone in and be creative, sometimes it would scare the people close to me of the lack of sleep I was having. Yeah it's about being in the zone, despite how strange it seems to others around you.

Official '07 - Inspired by a time some years ago where I wanted to take a thing I had with a girl to the next level. Also the sax solo on this is like butter... shout out to Joseph Oyelade for laying it down.

No Ordinary '10 - A reflective song about the relationship between my father and I; the Sade sample works so well with the subject mater of the song.

Be Mine '03 - It was based on a memory back when I was a kid. I had a big crush on a girl, it didn't end well.

Dockland Blues '05 - I must of found a video clip off youtube, it really brought back some memories when I heard it. I sampled the audio and me and Vincent Perez did the rest. It ends the tone of the EP so well, it's so soulful.