Toronto-based jazz maestros BadBadNotGood are well and truly back for 2016, having announced that their upcoming album IV is set for release on July 8. It’s their first solo album which is set to incorporate guest vocalists. It’s also the first to see an expanded group, with the original trio recently introducing fourth member Leland Whitty, on violin, sax, guitar and more. This marks an interesting shift forward from their previous three instrumental efforts, in terms of incorporating both new sounds and guest vocalists, no doubt influenced by their remixes, many collaborations in and around hip-hop, and of course last year’s full length collaboration with Ghostface Killah, Sour Soul.
Today sees the release of Hyssop of Love, the fourth taste of their new album – we’ve previously heard Speaking Gently, Confessions Pt II (ft. Colin Stetson) and Time Moves Slow (ft. Sam Herring of Future Islands). I’m particularly excited that the new single features Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins; I’ll admit that I slept on Jenkins for far too long, but after discovering him earlier this year I have subsequently become obsessed with his releases The Water[s] and Wave[s].
Hyssop of Love is certainly my favourite so far. The eerie, flute-laden instrumental layers evokes an understated groove, with atmospheric trills and softly intricate rhythms and percussion, each layer contributing to the delicate, woozy atmosphere. Jenkins’ deep flow and clever lyrics hazily slink from bar to bar up above, making for an incredible listen from top to bottom.
Each track so far has been wonderful and diverse, and it’s already clear that a really interesting musical landscape is being weaved together on what is sure to be a stellar release. Drummer Alex Sowinski spoke to Linda Marigliano when Triple J premiered the song, explaining that Jenkins “came to Toronto, in our home space to literally vibe with us and work on some songs and I believe this is the first thing we ever did with him. I remember when he came in, different people have a different presence and feel so we were like, ‘let’s get into it’ and this is what came about.”
He went on to talk about the album’s progression, saying that it “is a complete revelation for us in terms of production work, song writing and studio creation. We did all our songs with vocalists, producers or instrumentalists from our home state in Toronto… Being big, avid music fans and loving song writing and having chord progression and arrangements in our tracks, this was the time to seep more into those ideas and work on strings and horns and how you can produce someone’s vocals and make them sound cohesive over our ideas and chord progressions. This album is a reflective manner of where we are at- half a year ago when we recorded it. We are just happy to be recording and making music.”
Listen below via Spotify. The track can also be found on Apple Music.