Albums of 2020: Moses Sumney- Græ

“Græ” was a record I came to with little knowledge of, other than some favorable reviews. From first listen I was stunned by its scope; a twenty track double album that flutters between genre and instrumentation effortlessly due to some incredibly talented and bold production.

I was perplexed by the albums aesthetics but after some research I realised I shouldn’t be. The albums credits feature some of the people at very cutting edge of music over the past decade. Acts who’s own work I have adored. Daniel Lopitan (Oneohtrix Point Never), Ian Chang (Son Lux), Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet is Coming), James Blake, Thundercat, and the list goes on. They all manage to put their unique styles on individual tracks of the album, as a whole proving in this instance that too many cooks can make an exemplary broth, a full tasting menu, and win a Michelin star.

With all this input it would be easy to think the album would be sporadic and yet, throughout all its changes in genre and influences, it still manages to hold together as a complete work. Jazz, Folk, Alternative Rock, neo-classical and experimental electronic genres all weave with each other, creating an adventurous but unified listening experience.

It’s a testament to Moses Sumney’s vocal ability, which manages to unify the production further, weaving between styles that could easily derail a performance. Its quite a feat when tracks on an album that are so complex when analysed sound effortless when in general listening.

The only weak point on the album falls on the listener. If not given the correct amount of attention, the album can be easily missed as a modern classic.

During the finalising process for my albums of the year, I shortlist a collection of possible contenders and put them on a playlist for further analysis. When the music wasn’t my full attention e.g. when driving to work or playing in the background when cooking, Græ can conceal its qualities and complexity. But if you shine the light of your full attention on the record, it reveals a kaleidoscope of audible treats that continue to impress throughout its entire play through.

TOTW: Moses Sumney- Colouour

 I’ve really been enjoying the album “Græ“ over the past week. Lush, dense music underpins Moses Sumney’s amazing vocals on this gargantuan double album, which mixes many genres together with bold ambition.

 It was no surprise to realise that, on further research, Daniel Lopitan (aka. Oneohtrix Point Never), a regular in my TOTW lists, was a co producer on this album.

Looking deeper into the album’s liner notes, you will notice a who’s who of some of the people at very cutting edge of music over the past 5 years.

Its impressive to see this much collaboration from so many strong identities. They have all come together to create something that manages to stay sounding “popular” throughout all of its experimentation, without compromising on any of its artistry.

 Colouour features Keys for both Danial Lopitan and FKG, who also provides saxophone along with Shabaka Hutchings (the saxophone player on my album of the year recommended The Comet is Coming).

It opens with washes of layered saxophones and electric piano. These build to the halfway mark, before fading away to a more sparse arrangement. Moses smooth vocal delivery over an e-piano and deep 808style bass/kick is reminiscent of many a traditional neo-soul track, but it is then peppered with experimental electronic SFX that slightly warp the track into new territory.

Colouour is one of many interesting and enjoyable tracks on an album that is well worth a listen. It could easily be re-appearing in many lists at the end of the year, including mine.



TOTW Playlist: