If you’ve ever wondered what Kenny G may sound like if he lived in the hipster Mecca of Brooklyn and grew up on 90s hip hop and R&B while his parents tripped and listened to Captain Beefheart in the next room, wonder no longer. To be clear, I have zero idea what NTHNL’s Jacob Rudin listened to growing up nor what recreational activities his parent took part in, so my above comment is basely solely on speculation and the influences I hear, but… boy do I hear it! Smooth and soulful jazz is at the forefront with a backdrop of Common’s smooth beats, a heaping dash of electronica, some playful free jazz elements, some whirling 70s keyboards from time to time, some mind altering substances at the ready, and the RZA on production… that’s what I hear when I pop on Cosmic Flute Rides Again. And, if that isn’t clear, this is a GOOD thing. To simply call this a blend of electro, jazz, and hip hop would be a sinful underselling of what Rudin and his band of merry musicos have created here.
The lead single, “Our Secret”, is accompanied a Spike Jonze-esque viral-style music video of flute playing in public. The smooth sound of the song, coupled with the slightly wacky but genuine and sincere feel of the visuals seems to capture exactly what NTHNL’s music is all about. There is soul, love, playfulness, and comfort present at all times in the video and on this album, as a whole. While tracks vary in tempo and tone, the overall vibe is exactly this.
You can stream this far our jazz odyssey in full on Spotify, as it dropped just last week and already is receiving rave reviews. For those that want to support the band more directly, you can head to Bandcamp to purchase or stream the album over there, as well. Either way, I highly recommend you follow up today’s SoundByte with a full listen of the album. It’s hard not to have a pleasant experience, even if music in the jazz and electronic genres isn’t typically your thing.
¡Viva la Cosmic Flute!