On Monday, blogs began noticing [artist id="1803648"]M.I.A.[/artist]'s growing slate of summer festival gigs, which seemed to lend credence to earlier reports that she'd be releasing the follow-up to her Kala album in the coming months.
And according to producer [artist id="1734678"]Diplo[/artist], who worked on the album, that's very much the case. Though it's looking more like the record will see the light of day in July, rather than June as had been speculated. But that's not all he told MTV News when we caught up with him last weekend in Austin at South by Southwest.
"[The album] is cool. I think that she's just wrapping up the mixing and stuff. I was in New York on Thursday, before I came here, I was mixing down the last single for it," Dip explained. "It's a record I did for her that's sort of ... you can't even [explain] what it would sound like. It's sort of like an Animal Collective/ gospel/ giant-drum record. And she's singing on it. I think you might expect some rap/club music, but nothing on there. It's more of a heavy record. All kinds of different sounds. We did, like, a punk thing. ... It's weird."
That assessment seems to be in line with what M.I.A. told British mag NME earlier this year, saying that her new album is "really odd" and "more musical" and features "no gimmicks." And according to Diplo, those ambitions have made for a very interesting collection of songs.
"It's definitely more 'vibe-y,' I think. We'll see if people like it," he smiled. "My job is to kind of pull it together and make something of it."
Diplo singled out the track he had just finished mixing — a song called "Tell Me Why" — as a favorite, and said that the still-untitled album is very much an ambitious, deeply personal effort for M.I.A.
" 'Tell Me Why' is great," he said. "It's a big, kinda giant-sounding record. ... It sounds like some Wall of Sound, Motown kind of thing. It's just me and Switch producing the album, and Blaqstarr did a couple of tracks, too. There are no surprise producers. No guest stars. It's just her on it. She's got a good attitude about it. She's excited for people to hear it."