The Basquiat-inspired collaborative project including 18 artists over 7 tracks is finally here and I am psyched! Untitled was a project born out of love for music and love for Basquiat, and asks how the experience of visual arts can inspire the creation and development of collaborative music, particularly when oriented around urgent social commentary. Many of them went to Boom For Real, the first large-scale Basquiat exhibition in the UK at the Barbican (myself included) and took that inspiration and brought it to life throughout these 7 tracks spanning 30 minutes in length.
We-Lu, Lex Amor and Ego Ella May collaborated on “Legend,” a soulful and dominant cut on the compilation, that features soothing guitar notes, Lex Amor’s beautiful vocals and poetry, as well as backing vocals from the others. The track changes tone throughout the latter half, with explosive drums, dominant guitar and basslines with Lex Amor and Ego Ella May providing dominant and beautiful vocals, making it a highlight.
The collaboration between LayFullstop, Moroka and AJ Kwame features some eerier, darker guitar tones and samples throughout that provide a menacing, unsettling character to the record and a great, introspective verse from LayFullstop.
“Know Ways,” the collaboration between Lord Tusk and Roxanne Tataej is an 80s new wave-inspired record featuring thick synths and basslines that are complemented by Roxanne’s hypnotic, glowing vocals.
The Kojey Radical, Shabaka Hutchings and KZ collaboration features a beautiful, inspiring verse from Kojey, with Shabaka giving us a usually stellar performance on the saxophone.
The Mala, Joe Armon-Jones and Nubya Garcia collaboration on “Scratch & Erase” is hard-hitting and dubstep-inspired, with stunning keys from Joe and incredible saxophone leads from Nubya.
=CoN+KwAkE= (Confucius MC & Kwake Bass) connect on “Same Ol Samo,” a warped out electronic vibe with an introspective verse from Confucious MC.
Finally, Maxwell Owin and Coby Sey set a moodier tone to the final track “Response to Michel,” with an electronic and abstract piece of music that is emotive and beautiful. It reflects South London perfectly in my opinion, but with the artistic depth of Jean-Michel Basquiat. This makes it the perfect closer to a densely textured project.
What I love about Untitled is the fact that each collaborator gave so much heart to it. You can tell that through not only the quality of the music itself, but the true depth in character and soul each artist put forward on this textured and deeply moving body of work. It is a stellar project, and a big thanks goes to all the artists involved as well as Anja Ngozi, Lexy Morvaridi and The Vinyl Factory and Arts Council England for making this happen. Also major shoutout to Fabrice Bourgelle who provided the artwork to this project.
You can listen to Untitled below via Spotify, but more importantly please go over and cop a vinyl over at The Vinyl Factory, because this needs the support!