10 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Olympian is one of those albums that could only have come from the studio. It revels in the analogue wash of vintage equipment, stacks of electronic keyboards, peculiar sound effects, mercurial rhythms and unexpected edits. Best known as the leader of Seattle funk/hip-hop/jazz outfit the Mackrosoft, Aja West is fashioning an identity for himself as a modern-day George Clinton or Sly Stone (with a little Maurice White thrown in): a songwriting eccentric whose lush, layered songs reveal a passionate obsession with the possibilities of the recording studio. With The Olympian, West amalgamates sounds from the last thirty years of hip-hop, funk, and jazz: fatback drums and vocoders mesh with gurgling synths and West’s own convincing falsetto. Many have tried, but few have been as successful in refashioning elements of our musical past into something that is entirely unique and of its time. West has chosen some formidable shoes to fill, but the warmth and surprise of The Olympian is an indication that he has learned well from his heroes.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Olympian is one of those albums that could only have come from the studio. It revels in the analogue wash of vintage equipment, stacks of electronic keyboards, peculiar sound effects, mercurial rhythms and unexpected edits. Best known as the leader of Seattle funk/hip-hop/jazz outfit the Mackrosoft, Aja West is fashioning an identity for himself as a modern-day George Clinton or Sly Stone (with a little Maurice White thrown in): a songwriting eccentric whose lush, layered songs reveal a passionate obsession with the possibilities of the recording studio. With The Olympian, West amalgamates sounds from the last thirty years of hip-hop, funk, and jazz: fatback drums and vocoders mesh with gurgling synths and West’s own convincing falsetto. Many have tried, but few have been as successful in refashioning elements of our musical past into something that is entirely unique and of its time. West has chosen some formidable shoes to fill, but the warmth and surprise of The Olympian is an indication that he has learned well from his heroes.

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