This week’s episode features Solange Knowles talking about A Seat At The Table cut ‘Cranes In The Sky’ and its long gestation process, where you hear a cappella vocals from the song, learn that the cranes were inspired by the Miami skyline and how producer Raphael Saadiq lost the stems:
Primavera Sound has just announced its lineup for the festival in 2017 in Barcelona from 31 May to June 4th next year and it’s ridiculous.
Headliners on the lineup include
Run The Jewels
Also present and correct:
Flying Lotus, Mac Demarco, The Magnetic Fields, Angel Olsen, Teenage Fanclub, Seu George plays the Life Aquatic: A Tribute to Bowie, Grandaddy, Tycho, Swans, Bicep, !!!, Badbadnotgood, King Krule, Glass Animals, John Talabot, Fatima Yamaha, Henrik Schwarz, Joy Orbison, Julia Jacklin, Sinkane, Skinny Puppy, Operators, Weyes Blood and Tuff City Kids.
Solange Knowles’ new album A Seat At The Table, which was surprise released at the end of September arrived at a bitter time in the U.S. where race relations are at boiling point. Where in the election to lead the country, hate, misogyny and racism are spouted all too frequently (and accepted and tolerated). Where people are shouting opinions at each other without listening to responses across political, class and racial divides. Where black people continue to suffer.
“I’ve got a lot to be mad about,” she sings on the Lil Wayne-featuring ‘Mad’. So you wouldn’t be a surprise if her music had some elements of anger in it.
“When they go low, we go high,” Michelle Obama said. Solange Knowles may have already decided to do that earlier this year on her new album. Where her sister Beyoncé makes flashy statements, Solangé is much more understated. Living in a divisive country bellowing at each other, Solange takes the softer, more restrained approach on an album which demands repeated listens.
A self-described “project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing,” A Seat At The Table is an album about race and being black in America. It’s personal and political. It’s informed by black culture, family and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Musically, A Seat At The Table is made of soul, R&B, pop and funk. Its gossamer style is delicate and rich. Spoken word interludes frame the album: encouraging words from Master P of No Limit about how he got to where he is, Solange’s father talks about racial threats and her mother about how being pro-black doesn’t mean anti-white. These statements allow Solange to write less directly from a black woman’s perspective for others like her.
Production is by Raphael Saadiq. Guests include Sampha, Lil Wayne, Kelela, Andre 3000, The Dream, Sean Nicholas Savage, Q-Tip and the likes of Kwes, Kindness, Chairlift’s Patrick Wimberly, Nia Andrews and Dirty Projectors Dave Longstreth contribute. There are multiple highlights from the Andre 3000-featuring synth funk of ‘Junie’, the synth drawl of ‘Don’t Wish Me Well’, the woozy R&B of ‘Weary’, the piano soul of ‘Mad’, the vulnerable vista of ‘Cranes In The Sky’ and the subtle power of ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’.
“Be leery ’bout your place in the world,” she sings on ‘Weary’, yet Solange keeps it serene in defiance of what seems right and wrong around her. A Seat At The Table isn’t something to be unpacked in a week, or even two. It’s an album of defiance, empowerment and beauty.
Recent Polaris Prize winner Kaytranada is a frequent dealer of dancefloor edits and he’s come through with two edits that were needed of two of the best tunes of the year – Chance The Rapper’s ‘All Nite’ and Solange’s ‘Cranes In The Sky’. Both available for download too.
We talk about Oisin’s New Jersey upbringing, grown men crying over beautiful songs stuck in traffic, what it’s like to support Grandmaster Flash, the beauty of a basso profundo voice – the lowest you can get, a Hard Working Class Heroes highlight, the tune Oisin would like his kids to associate with him and a couple of Belfast bangers.
I’ve seen Solange play two different shows/festivals this year – South By South West in Texas and Glastonbury in the UK and while she’s a great performer and ‘Losing You’ is an absolute JAM, I don’t think she’s quite ready for the big-time, or what she’s aiming for at least, yet. A lot of her sets were lacking in songs to match that track. Fortunately Solange’s new single ‘Lovers In The Parking Lot’ was one of the couple that did match it. It’s still a very understated track but it’s a memorable one from last year’s True EP. The video was shot in her hometown of Houston by Solange, Peter J. Brant and Emily Kai Bock.