Changing levels x Breaking Standards x Elevating all

06 - 13 - 2016

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KAYTRANADA “99.9%” (ALBUM REVIEW)

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Kaytranada (born Louis Kevin Celestin) is best known as a DJ and music producer. Fans have enjoyed his mixes on Soundcloud for years. However, this electronic-funk artist has now officially made the leap to become a professional musician. His studio debut, 99.9%, released on May 6, 2016.

Now, before I get into what this album is, let me tell you what it isn’t. 

This isn’t an album intended for fans of mainstream music.

To listeners not specifically partial to the underlying beats of electronic and funk music, the synths on this record have the potential to resemble someone hitting various auto-accompaniment keys on an electronic keyboard…

99.9% is not for everyone. It appears to have been made with a specific audience in mind.

But who’s to say that’s necessarily a bad thing?

It is a record which that particular audience will appreciate.

The beats are unique and unpredictable, modeled after rhythms from Kay’s native Haiti. He made great effort to pay respects to his roots on this album.

According to Kay’s own father,  it is clear he has not forgotten Haiti despite having moved to Canada as an infant.

This personal touch creates a uniqueness to the record. Despite its general clarity of genre, the album still manages to be something singularly noteworthy.

The record succeeds as a positive representation for Kay’s skill as a sound mixer and music producer, and he does put a personal stamp on every track with his ever present electronic Haitian-inspired beats.

However, the album falls a little short in terms of truly portraying who Kaytranada is as an artist.

Of the fifteen tracks on the album, eleven songs feature a guest musician.  And each separate track has its own individual presence based on the featured artist’s style and skill set.

Anderson .Paak brings a touch of rap to the record in “Glowed Up” (video seen above). Meanwhile BadBadNotGood adds a taste of jazz to “Weight Off.” 

This variety of influences could possibly broaden Kay’s prospective audience for the album.  But what ultimately seems like a fun mix CD does little to represent the individual artist’s own musical stylings.

After having listened to the record all the way through, I feel I know him as a producer. But I am still left wondering who “Kaytranada the musician” really is.

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