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Brooklyn-based producer, composer, pianist, DJ and live musician Taylor McFerrin is set to release his first full length LP, Early Riser, in June 2014 on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder record label. Taylor’s musical style is equally influenced by the legends of 60s/70s Soul, the kings of the Modern Beat Generation, Golden Era hip hop, free form jazz and electronic music. By playing all of the instruments on his productions, while also relying heavily on sampling and chopping up his live takes, he has found a sound that seamlessly bridges myriad musical worlds and draws the listener into a constantly shifting audio soundscape.
If McFerrin’s own voice on a track like “Florasia” adds a genuine neo-soul emotion, his guests are sensational. From Nai Palm of Melbourne’s Grammy-nominated Hiatus Kaiyote on “The Antidote”, through Emily King on “Decisions” (“one of the best singers alive in my opinion” – McFerrin) and on to labelmate RYAT’s collaboration on “Place In My Heart”, each adds a different mood and lift to the music they’re involved with. Taylor’s father, the legendary Bobby McFerrin, teams up with Brazilian master Cesar Mariano on “Invisible/Visible” for one of the jazziest moments on the record. Robert Glasper, Thundercat and Marcus Gilmore also provide their substantial jazz chops to “Already There”. But the key to the whole record is the balance which McFerrin keeps throughout – between his guest’s individuality and his own vision, between the styles of music he loves, between a feeling of intense, sunlit joy and a deep aching sadness, which, it could be argued, is a definition of soul.