Produced by T.O. beatmaker Frank Dukes (Danny Brown, 50 Cent), the entirely analog-recorded III retains the bop, hip-hop and beat music influences of BADBADNOTGOOD's earlier records while integrating psychedelic textures, the virtuosity of progressive music and the pulsing 4/4 beats of Krautrock. These new sounds creep into the whirring, Stereolab-esque "Hedron" and album highlight "CS60." Single "Can't Leave The Night" pivots on Sowinski's live trap drums, mimicking the tightly sequenced hi-hats of Southern rap. Coupled with Hansen's thudding bass line, it gradually morphs into what sounds like Herbie Hancock covering TNGHT. "Differently Still" is the biggest surprise, a modal/post-bop number led by Tavares that feels all the more subversive for its straightforwardness.
III is not a perfect record; songs like "Eyes Closed" lack memorable riffs and serve more as mood-setting jams. Nonetheless, III's hazy, after-hours vibe is infectious, and these songs reveal fresh nuance with repeat listens. In one album, BADBADNOTGOOD have transcended their reputation for doing "jazz covers of rap." Let's see what happens next.
Read our cover story with BADBADNOTGOOD here. (Pirates Blend/Innovative Leisure)