The myth of Jay Electronica has long outweighed the music—in part because there was so little of it. He’s been: touched by Erykah Badu juju; cozy with a Rothschild; a Nas ghostwriter. He got a thousand beats from J Dilla, was anointed by JAY-Z, and was the last man left standing after Kendrick Lamar put the rap world on notice during “Control.” He is a homeless drifter turned enigmatic spiritual guru who accepted a co-sign from notorious Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, met super-Christian Chance the Rapper halfway on Coloring Book’s “How Great,” and worshipped at Hindu and Buddhist temples in Nepal during personal pilgrimages. But he’s only officially put out one mixtape, two singles, and a handful of other songs since 2007, occasionally appearing out of thin air to guest on songs seemingly at random.
And so with time, the myth grew. What was real and what was fiction began to blur, and what was real mattered less than what was interesting. The ghostwriting claims were disputed, he has never released a song with an original Dilla beat, and many count him as a footnote left in Kendrick’s wake, but he did actually end up between two of the wealthiest families in England. The selection of songs Jay Electronica has released over his career has drawn from all of this, only he’s put out as many of them in 13 years as some prolific rappers put out in a few months. The wait for his debut album has been so long that it became more of an ancient prophecy than a movable release date.
After this fourth album and second for Warp, we are still none the wiser about exactly who or what Yves Tumor is. Opening track ‘Gospel For a New Century’ comes in on a bed of scratchy horns, rolling drums and stoned vocals, but with a clear sense of forward momentum. It is a single, a standalone tune, a bastion of focus and thrust that has not been typical of Tumor’s previous work. Could this be, we ask ourselves, a sign of a more straightforward RnB record?
Our questions are answered within seconds of following track ‘Medicine Burn’, with its squalling, compressed guitar tone and nonsensical, pain-ridden lyrics. We are firmly back in the deregulated zone where confusion is king. This is the pattern of Heaven to a Tortured Mind; a give and take between challenge and payoff.
The payoffs don’t come bigger than on ‘Kerosene!’; a five-minute slick, seductive two-way between Tumor and an unnamed female singer that launches into ecstatic, skyscraping, Prince-esque electric guitar solos at multiple points. It is an irresistible track, the biggest moment of his career to date and proof that he could be a major overground star one day if the notion were ever to interest him.
But evidently, as of now, that is not the plan. There are too many simultaneous ideas, too much comfort in saturating the sound palette throughout Heaven to a Tortured Mind for it to have mass appeal, and yet it is that very freewheeling experimentation that makes it such an intoxicating listen. A little like the moodboard records of recent years by Thundercat, King Krule or Gonjasufi, the power here comes from the constant ambush of new ingredients, all unified by the connective tissue of its auteur’s musical personality. Genre identification is redundant in the face of this level of artistic freedom.
Together with 2018’s Safe in the Hands of Love, this album represents the imperial phase of Yves Tumor’s career, him out at the vanguard of the world that he himself created. Only he can know what happens next.
“I’m Not Your Dog” arrives after previous singles “Slumlord” and “Carla’s Got a Boyfriend”.
Dury says of the new release, “It’s meant to be Kubrick-esque like 2001 where there’s lots of space but it’s also very claustrophobic. It’s the strange area that is occupied by those who want to show themselves candidly on social media for example and by those who get caught believing that it’s ok to watch for too long. And all the innocent and less innocent misinterpretations that occur.”
Baxter Dury has shared new single “I’m Not Your Dog”, a third taster of his forthcoming record The Night Chancers.
The Night Chancers will arrive after 2018’s collaborative album with Delilah Holliday and Étienne de Crécy, B.E.D.
The new record was recorded at Hoxa studios West Hampstead throughout May 2019, and is co-produced by Dury and his longtime collaborator Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, John Grant, Artic Monkeys).
Speaking about his new LP, Dury says, “Night Chancers is about being caught out in your attempt at being free, it’s about someone leaving a hotel room at three in the morning. You’re in a posh room with big Roman taps and all that, but after they go suddenly all you can hear is the taps dripping, and all you can see the debris of the night is around you. Then suddenly a massive party erupts, in the room next door. This happened to me and all I could hear was the night chancer, the hotel ravers.”
It’s time to let out a collective sigh of “FINALLY!”, because North London’s Sorry have announced their debut album and shared our first glimpse of what we can expect.
After the success of their previous mixtapes ‘Home Demo/ns Vol I & II’, alongside March’s brilliant track ‘Jealous Guy’, new cut ‘Right Round The Clock’ is another glisteningly dark rock number, centred around Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen’s hypnotisingly sardonic vocals. And it even plays on Tears For Fears’ hit ‘Mad World’ at one point.
Accompanied by a video too, the visuals were directed by Asha and frequent collaborator Jasper Cable-Alexander, and produced by Conny Elmy-Martin. Talking about the vid, Asha explains: “The video is supposedly a daydream hallucination we did with our friends Jasper and Connie. Bit sexy bit silly, make what you like of it hope you enjoy!”
The first taste of their forthcoming debut album, ‘925’ will be out via Domino Records next Spring.
If you’ve been listening to The Weeknd’s long-awaited fourth studio album, After Hours, you should know there’s more heartbreak where that came from. A little over a week after releasing the enigmatic collection of breakup songs — presumed to be predominantly about his ex-girlfriend Bella Hadid — the singer surprised listeners on March 29 with three new bonus tracks: “Nothing Compares,” “Missed You,” and “Final Lullaby.”
Available in a deluxe After Hours edition on several music streaming sites, the songs appear to be another effort to profess both love and remorse. In “Nothing Compares,” The Weeknd expresses filling an emotional void with vices. “Missed You” touches on his incapability to move on from his past love, while “Final Lullaby” is a singsongy goodbye to said love, but something tells us this won’t be the last time we hear of this. Listen to the trio of songs ahead if you’d like to start your week with, well, The Weeknd.