Yes, Yes and Yes Sunday Jammers. Welcome back hope it’s good at your end, and that keeping it together isn’t proving too challenging. If it’s been a trial then I hope this gives you a space to step out and away to take some time to catch your breath and reset.
So last week I got side-tracked by the always sublime 1010 Benja SL, providing the perfect excuse to get stuck in a 1010 groove and haven’t made any effort to climb my way out. Spent this week listening to his early stuff on repeat, re-reading one of the few in-depth interviews with him about his early journey through music, his experiences growing up in Tulsa, his musical sensibilities and so much more.
To call him refreshing feels inadequate; every time I put on any of his music, I hear old landscapes giving way to new terrain. It’s dreamlike but still everyday, abstract in places but always rooted in earth, packed full of feeling and emotion. I love that his work doesn’t shy away from powerful, enveloping feelings, his coolness is a by-product of the craft but it’s never the end goal. Every tune is about engaging with an emotion through storytelling and declaring it, which just makes it even more breathtaking. His ballads are redefining, taking soul-influenced R&B to a new, exciting and unchartered path.
Part of me wants him to go into the stratosphere - beyond the critical acclaim - because that kind of talent should be recognised and honoured, which in turn would give him access to all the musical resources he could ever want to use whilst creating, but the other part of me fears over-exposure. Whichever way it goes, I can only hope he continues to navigate his own path so effortlessly through genres and sensibilities onwards, forward.
This week’s offering was a tough choice, but I settled on his debut release which continues to swallow me whole; the biting but ever beautiful ‘Boofiness’, an elegant, layered and cool-as-hell tune. First time I heard it I was blown away by its seeming simplicity and the grappling, multi-faceted lyrics. In one part a lament about the breakdown of a relationship, the other a declaration of disgust at the superficial and the resulting artifice all told through a surreal poetic lens. So, so beautiful.
Listen in carefully for the layered overlapping harmonies and the ridiculously beautiful piano; the bones beneath everything else, creating a seamless blending of fury, melancholy and beauty. The choral style clapping is almost like the musical equivalent of a mirror creating a vocal and melodic sound loop that runs throughout. Think of a musical hall of mirrors that sends you off balance but keeps hold of your core. Such a stunning piece of music. By this stage I hope you are fully taken in the 1010 universe and if you are not then consider this your entry point and you will not be disappointed. Enjoy and Happy Sunday beautiful ones.