February 13, 2020

Today we have our second guest recommendation from Colin Nagy, who co-writes one of our favorite newsletters, Why Is This Interesting (WITI), along with Noah Brier.

We’re listening to Disco Jazz by Rupa. The album has an incredible backstory: it was a lost project that was discarded for years by its namesake singer, Rupa, but excavated by ardent record diggers. The magic of the Youtube algorithm then propelled it into the ears of Dan Snaith from Caribou and other sound arbiters like Gilles Peterson and Benji B. It is a departure from a lot of the ambient and drone featured in Flow State (and that’s the fun!), sounding at times more like someone DJ Harvey would play to lighten the mood in a 4/4 set at 7 AM in Bali.

There’s a bit of melancholy, there’s a bit of exuberance, and some self-indulgence. It is just a vibe that grabs your attention immediately. There’s Bollywood, there’s Western Funk, and there’s what the excellent Pitchfork deep dive describes as “[what] would now be considered Balearic beat music, with its expansive and hypnotic musical interludes.” And, if that isn’t enough, the story has a happy ending. The music, once abandoned by Rupa, now has so much interest and energy behind it that, according to Pitchfork, “she is practicing every day to get her voice in shape and feeling optimistic about her future as a singer.” So, yes, there are vocals. 

Disco Jazz by Rupa (40m, 🗣 vocals throughout) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Google Play / Tidal

Enjoy your Thursday.