The recent news of the hip-hop / R&B legend André 3000 releasing his debut solo album this weekend just sounded too good to be true. I mean, who would've seen it coming that he'd put out solo material again, but this time with an interesting catch:
It's a instrumental flute album. Yeah, you read that right. It's just wild to imagine this even happening, but at the same time, it's really cool to see that he's doing what he wants to now and we get to experience his craft in full. Let's dive in and see what surprises he's concocted with New Blue Sun:
I'm honestly shocked at how beautiful this album sounds, with such simple melodic textures that are put to great use. Most notes carry the same type of key tone throughout but André knows how to play around with them and keeps the track flowing at a steady pace.
The sounds of the woodwind and flutes are rather serene, providing a sense of tranquility, the kind that makes you imagine relaxing out in the backyard on the hammock on a lovely spring afternoon as the wind blows against the trees & the chimes hanging near the doorstep.
There's a few additional instrumental components that are introduced throughout each track as they progress, whether it be cymbals, background noises of rustling or chimes. One might assume it'll be chaotic in terms of how they'll be introduced but in all honesty, it all fuses together rather nicely. I just find myself wanting to meditate to this since it made me feel calm after a not so great day today.
The pacing on this album is rather slow but that's perfectly fine. It's a well crafted spiritual jazz album that has a gorgeous ambience to it that had me floating but also just surprised. This almost brought me to tears with its closing track "Dreams Once Buried Beneath The Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout Into Undying Gardens" sounding like the equivalent of a childhood memory returning
I guarantee this change of direction will not be for everyone, probably some hardcore OutKast fans might find it hard to adjust to it all, but I'd suggest going into this album with an open mind and you'll be pleasantly surprised. To see an artist evolve like this and create something they want is great.
New Blue Sun is a massive surprise to us all with how André has taken on a new style and managed to surpass expectations and deliver a sobering 87min journet that's simply blissful on the ears. Definitely gonna be listening to this on repeat for a while.