7/28/17 – Bastien Keb “22.02.85”

Bastien Keb is a UK based multi instrumentalist who works mainly in TV/film score composition, he also releases full length albums, this being his second. 22.02.85 is a very Jazzy R&B album, with lots of experimentation with rhythm. The overall mood set by this album is very urban, especially night scene. It’s got erratic song structure and the mood it sets reminds me a lot of Flying Lotus, despite there not being as much strict sampling.

The off tempo Pick Up is fascinating, with the bass line and drums never quite matching up completely, the song limps along as it progresses. It’s got a very catchy chorus urging Marianne to pick up the phone. Bastien Keb’s bandcamp says this album was originally meant to be a concept album about a stripper lost in the city, presumably it’s Marianne. Instead, as the album comes together, it’s the listener that’s lost in the city. Cashmere is like Bon Iver after a night of drinking downtown, a very fun and trippy listen. The city’s sexiness is laid bare on a number of track on this album, most notably on Night Hustle, a slow jam that suddenly breaks into a sprint before calming down once again.

There’s also a tenderness to this album, with songs like My Lovely Wool and Town slowing things down to an intimate and quiet level. Fit Rare is a funky song with some interesting synths that fade as it turns into a Hip-Hop track with a guest appearance by rapper Cappo on the second half of the album. His rapping is a nonstop barrage of pop culture references, and didn’t it really click with me. Nocturnal / Midnight Shift (Serious Thumb) is intensely relaxing, and a very fitting name – it fits those night drives going under street light after street light.

This is a thick and varied album that you can easily lose yourself in to, but there’s just something that’s keeping me back. Maybe it’s just my personal taste that R&B doesn’t grab me like other genres do, even though this is also a Jazz album. It was a fun and interesting listen, but I don’t find the urge to come back and listen to it over and over. You might though, check it out.