Rihanna feat. Paul McCartney and Kanye West: FourFiveSeconds
It’s not every day Kanye West teams up with Sir Paul McCartney, though lately it’s been a fortnightly affair and recent developments suggest the Beatles frontman is producing West’s next album. The latest release in the admittedly odd yet harmonious partnership features Rihanna and a folksy, Western-tinged guitar riff. “FourFiveSeconds” is about as stripped-down as a pop song can get, with bare vocals, a few guitars and a rhythmic chorus that makes the song feel both intimate and stadium-ready. In a world of massively over-produced pop epics, McCartney replaces all of the high-tech studio wizardry with good old fashioned songwriting that will no doubt appeal to a wider audience than West and Rihanna are used to. Plus, it might just mean the second coming of a happier Yeezus, á la 2007’s Graduation.
Eminative + Four Tet: Makondi
Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) continues to push the boundaries of his discography. The difficult-to-categorize English musician spans electronic, house, and drum and bass. Now partnering with drummer Nick Woodmansey, who records under the name Eminative, Hebden expands into interpretive jazz with “Makondi.” Originally performed and arranged by trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer Ed Blackwell in 1982, this contemporary rendition is a minimalist version that nonetheless carries the rhythmic energy of the original.
How To Dress Well + TĀLĀ: The One
The Songs from Scratch series by Adidas Originals and Yours Truly inspires on-the-fly creativity from musicians. The latest installment sees Chicago native (and CH favorite) Tom Krell aka How To Dress Well paired up with eclectic UK garage-electro artist TĀLĀ. Keeping in step with the series, “The One” was produced in just 24 hours. Krell and TĀLĀ each dropped their own versions of the track drawing on a few overlapping vocal and instrument samples. The influence of the opposing artist is felt in each, but the value lies in comparing each track in light of the artists’ previous offerings. Krell’s version is imparted with a dose of London grime while TĀLĀ appeals to—however subtly—the human side of electronica.
Kanye West feat. Paul McCartney: Only One
The imitable Kanye West has just released the full version of the video for his song (featuring Sir Paul McCartney on keys) “Only One.” Directed by Spike Jonze, the video sees Yeezy on a rain-soaked road in the middle of seemingly nowhere, but it perfectly illustrates the contrasting joy and heartbreak of the minimal track. The video—in which West’s vocals fade in and out of studio recordings and a live, breathless version—also shows tender moments with his daughter in a foggy field, and the connection that evidently still exists between he and his mother.
Spacek + Kutmah: Solid Steel Radio Show
Discovering new music is as much about digging through the archives as it is listening to the latest releases. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the access to rare vinyls or the time to comb through them. Luckily, UK-based DJ and producer Kutmah is the master of digging through crates and pulling out what’s relevant. To celebrate the new record from fellow UK producer Beat Spacek (whose production credits include the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Ghostface Killah) Kutmah scoured the Ninja Tune veteran’s catalogue. The result is an hour-plus mix for Solid Steel radio that draws on collaborations, remixes and rarities. Even the most dedicated fans will find unheard tracks and casual listeners are sure to discover new beats that will inspire them to explore Spacek’s vast collection of work.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that rounds up the music we tweeted throughout the week, also found in Listen. Hear the year so far via Cool Hunting Spotify.