It no secret Kaytranada has made his impact on the music scene felt in recent years. Perhaps, the biggest of all the new era of producers to rise in the new age of Soundcloud, Basecamp and other DIY platforms.
With the highly antipacted release of his debut album on XL Recordings, featuring the likes of Anderson.Paak, Vic Mensa and Goldlink, it’s a chance to see where the Montreal producer is at musically and, as with any full length, how his music will be remembered.
Indeed, it seems that incredible singles and solid remixes can get you a full touring schedule and notoriety within the industry (Kaytra has rubbed elbows with Pharell & Rick Rubin to name a few), but your artistry is judged on the overall quality of your album output.
I’ve written about Kaytranada’s breakthrough single If as well as the DJ favorite semi-bootleg Remix EP and like any fan I was impatiently awaiting the release of 99.9% to see if it could live up to the standard young Kaytra had created for himself. It seemed he was the local artist every world renowed international DJ that came to town, was the most interested in. After many thorough listening sessions, I can safely say that this album is not only solid and cohesive from start to finish, but it surpasses expectations in the sense it is a truly well put together piece of music, rather than a tight nit collection of club-bangers. This year we got more insight through a great article in Fader, into the prodigious producer’s personal and creative progression and I am glad he really reached 99.9% of his objective by putting out this immersive yet nuanced record.
The album is a tale of 2 Kaytras. On one hand you have the headnod perfectionist, that lifts samples from a wide array of sources and enlists the services of BadBadnotGood and Karriem Riggins to complement his own crispy drum programming and on the other, the wobbly basslined killer that makes bodies sway in unison. He hits the mark on all planes with highlights including a return to form for Craig David on the hypnotic “I Got it Good”, the grimy bass of “Weight Off”, the psychpop brazilian sample on LiteSpot and the refreshing appearance of local vocalist Shay Lia on tropical bass sureshot Leave Me Alone.Ultimately the first and last song tell the story of Kaytranada’s distinctive style and broad appeal. Track Uno is a hybrid with a superb New Wave sample blended to Kaytra’s trademark bounce and Bullets featuring Little Dragon is a upbeat yet introspective closer. Throw in the Paak & Mensa collabo bangers balanced out some more standalone breakneck or smoked out beats and you get a truly complete opus.
Throughout the record, I profoundly appreciated how each song developed and the beatscapes were left to be explored, rediscovered and simply breathe. I am sure Kaytra himself will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the album is finally out and the likes of Swizz Beats and Jazzy Jeff, at the top of their respective spectrums, are showing it love equally. Myself, I am close to giving it a perfect grade and If 99.9% is a sign of things to come we are blessed to eavesdrop on Kaytranada’s musical journey. Needless to say this will be a massive success and we can only hope for more! Montreal stand up!