Free of Constraints

Breezes from the south are intoxicating with the nuzzling promise of springtime. Days shine brighter longer. Occasionally, we walkers of the Great Plains can even move about outside without keeping our shoulders reflexively up around our ears, and we can roam free of the constraints of layers of protective gear. Come, spring!

And talking of throwing out constraints – MUCH LOVE to the artists who resist working within the constraints of a particular genre. They make more exciting songs. Check out these two genre-bending artists.

Archy Marshall is King Krule. He is my dude. On the two singles that you may link below, you’ll hear why there is SO much anticipation for the release on 21 February of his newest, Man Alive! At just 25, London’s King Krule is already a full, growling decade into his recording career.

King Krule

Marshall keeps listeners off-balance with a thick and woozy swirl of guitar, bass, and electronic effects. His vocal delivery creates constant drama by mixing tons of restraint with sudden bursts of urgency and abandon. It is like watching and listening to someone who is hypnotized. They grab your attention with steady whispers, then in a flash they shake out of their thousand-yard-stare trance, and they give you the loud, wild-eyed meat of a mystical message.

There are elements of jazz, trip hop, and rock, threaded through with King Krule’s own brand of demented lounge. So many great sonic ideas – all of them shrouded in darkness and even danger. (Listen for the 10CC sample in the second tune below.) Dig it.

Alone, Omen 3 by King Krule from Man Alive! (2020 True Panther Records).

(Don’t Let the Dragon) Draag On by King Krule from Man Alive! (2020 True Panther Records).

The composer/drummer Moses Boyd is also based in London, and he has a wonderful new release called Dark Matter. It is a great example of a jazz artist embracing the possibilities of multiple musical genres. The Guardian calls Boyd’s efforts “cross-pollination,” and “London-hybrid jazz” — those descriptors seem just right. This new record is a powerful cocktail of jazz, dance, afrobeat, grime, and electronica.


Moses Boyd

Boyd and his players give us highly imaginative, super energetic music. There is a half and half mix of instrumental tracks to tracks that feature vocals. Sounds like the future. Get funky.

Y.O.Y.O. by Moses Boyd from Dark Matter (2020 Exodus Records).

Shades of You by Moses Boyd with vocals by Poppy Ajudha, from Dark Matter (2020 Exodus Records).

Thunder Does Dishes

Time for a check-in from you-know-who — Our Thundercat instinctively diversifies the genres he works in — refusing to be pigeonholed. He is as comfortable helping with the dishes as he is with laundry, with sweeping, and making beds. Thunder says, “I am not just one thing. A whole host of amazing talents will not be contained.”

Thunder Does Laundry

Ciao ciao. Meow meow.

20 February 2020

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