TheKunig: “Urban Album” skillfully blends hip-hop, electronic, and jazz music




Featured many times on BBC Introducing and as well as on BBC Radio 6, TheKunig’s music has also been played regularly on radio stations across the globe. TheKunig skillfully combines jazz, synth sounds, samples, his own vocals and those of talented featured singers into very smooth and groovy compositions that are as alluring to the dancefloor as they are to a set of headphones. Rap music is not generally equated with atmosphere and transcendence, but TheKunig provides a great example of how rap can be just as otherworldly as other genres. He provides the experience on tracks such as “What?” and “From Lovers To”.

“Urban Album” is TheKunig’s most accessible album, but it is also his weirdest. The album is 10 + 1 bonus tracks of jazz infused electronics that create a dense and unique atmosphere. The album has many standout songs and provides one of the most unusual listening experiences of the year. TheKunig jumps from style to style within his electronic jazz core sound while creating the most colorfully vibrant chillout-ambient album that I have heard this year. This album can best be described as an experience.

The reason why TheKunig is who and where he is today is because he has never been afraid to do things differently. The fact that albums like this exists at all is testament to TheKunig perseverance, raw talent, and prophetic direction with which he steers his music to the richest musical waters; plucking out those worth bringing along on his musical voyage and creating records greater than the sum of their parts. More than any other recording before it, “Urban Album” feels like a milestone in the music of TheKunig.

The musical polymath who flits so lightly between jazz, electronica, hip-hop and ambient as to render the boundaries indeterminable, has cast his net even wider on this album, as he moves from the urban beat of “Droplets of Faith” to the surreal soul beauty of “Testify” and the retro swing of “Timeless Boundaries”. In between you’ll also find mainstream standouts like “No Glory” and “The Birthday Party” and the funky “Drive Me Crazy”.

There’s always been a sense that TheKunig was stretching for a new musical vernacular, one that would continue the lineage of his free jazz elements into new worlds. This album suggests he might have found it. As each song merges into the next, as one style succeeds another, the sensation is that of being in an urban dream.

To accomplish that transcendence, TheKunig implements the tricks of handfuls of different musical languages. Sometimes it’s the ecstatic energy of hard bop, other times the slow sway of astral ambient, and even others the communal hooks of hip-hop. Sections of the album verge on the mystical while others pulse with the visceral.

This is a TheKunig album, which means the number of musical stones he leaves unturned is negligible and the amount of emotion coursing through the album’s veins is immeasurable. TheKunig doesn’t play well in the grey area, because he understands that to be grey is to compromise. With the “Urban Album” he has composed one of this year’s most likeable albums and blended hip-hop, electronic, and jazz music more skillfully than many before him.

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Author: Jacob Aiden

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