Sunday, February 4, 2024

André 3000, Carlos Niño and Nate Mercereau's "New Blue Sun" released Mar: 22 | Cord Jefferson's "American Fiction" at SIFF Cinema: Jan 4 - Feb 22

Approaching the subject of the new album by André 3000, Carlos Niño and Nate Mercereau, actor Jeffrey Wright spoke on the related themes explored in his and Cord Jefferson's film, "American Fiction", the adaptation of "Erasure" by Percival Everett currently playing at SIFF Cinema. Wright talks on the subject of audience expectation and suppositions about black artists in popular culture, particularly when working within genre and artistic subcultures, "Jeffrey Wright Speaks on Finally Being up for the Best Actor Oscar: ‘I was Frustrated, but I’m Not Frustrated Now’". Considering the example set with André 3000's "New Blue Sun", the collaborative album with Carlos Niño, Nate Mercereau, Surya Botofasina, and Matthewdavid, the album itself expressing a sense of being, "A Conversation Between Carlos Niño, André 3000, and Nate Mercereau". Wright highlights this work as a prime representation of the freedom of an artist to work outside of preconceived alignments with genre and form; “What I’m suggesting is there’s a level of toxicity that exists now that I don’t think existed then … just the nature of the tone: there’s violence, there’s misogyny, there’s self-orientation, there’s a materialism that is so intense now. Maybe that’s reflective of the times but there’s also an absence of originality. It seems so conformist to me. There was a lot of weird backlash when André 3000 put out that flute record. Weird commentary, like, ‘What is he doing?’ But God, you know, how beautiful for him. He got to play and put out what he felt within. That’s what it’s all about". In this bold turn down a new stylistic avenue, André 3000 adorned his exploration of a new music and instrument with his jazz contemporaries gathered from the 21st century body of musicians who are currently "Rewriting the Rules of Jazz". This specific set of contributors for "New Blue Sun" were sourced largely from the International Anthem label, and the sound heard on a series of collaborations by Carlos Niño & Friends. Most recently represented by his albums "More Energy Fields, Current", and last year's "(I’m Just) Chillin’, On Fire" to which The Guardian responded, "What is this? A full orchestra? A small string ensemble? An Indo-jazz fusion band?". Expressed on a variety of drums and cymbals, triggering real-time effects and electronic tones and textures, Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist and producer Carlos Niño has created a chameleonic electro-fusion voyage with jazz rigor. On the eve of their current US tour, "André 3000 Brings His Solo Album 'New Blue Sun' to the Stage, and There Are No Words", the artist speaks with NPR on the liberating effect of the music and the sources of its inspiration, "André 3000 Opens Up About 'New Blue Sun,' his Daring New Solo Album". The trajectory to this destination further mapped in conversation with The Guardian, "André 3000 on His Surprise Flute Album: ‘It’s Pure Excitement’".