. issue V : i .

by barathron

. artist : fat freddy’s drop .
. album : blackbird .
. year : 2013 .
. label : the drop .
. grade : a .

Blackbird

Wellington, New Zealand-based Fat Freddy’s Drop is one of the most unique bands you’ll ever hear. They’re a seven-piece ensemble with no drummer (percussion and bass parts are created on Akai MPC sampler and other electronics by DJ Fitchie, who has more ideas than any 10 hip-hop producers combined), one of the world’s finest soul singers, a skanking guitar/keyboards rhythm section, and a horn section that can honk like an R&B combo and solo like free-jazzers. Like a jazz group or a jam band, they create their songs through improvisation and live performance, then chisel them down to recorded form in the studio. The results are breathtaking: reggae, soul, jazz, electronica, funk and more might flow seamlessly into one another in any song. This is their third studio album, and it has four tracks (all over six minutes long) that will knock you sideways – “Soldier” is mellow soul with undertones of Steve Reich’s motoric minimalism and Augustus Pablo’s spacious dub, “Bones” will remind you of Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder at their most expansive, “Blackbird” is a stunning jazz-reggae fusion, and “Silver and Gold” is a perfect summary of everything this band does so very, very well. Just awesome.

by Bill Lupoletti

Advertisements