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André 3000|New Blue Sun

New Blue Sun

Andre 3000

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While he's widely considered one of the best rappers of all time, this distinction often overshadows André 3000's tendencies for the absurd. In OutKast, his partner Big Boi's strong and steady presence often grounded the group when André's wordplay veered toward the psychedelic or his musical ideas wandered. When they ventured down individual paths on 2003's groundbreaking Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Big Boi stuck mostly to party funk and rap bangers, while André went off the rails completely, bending pop, swing, jazz, electro, and anything else that suited him around songs whose flagrant ridiculousness was an integral part of what made them so incredible. New Blue Sun is André 3000's first official solo album, and though it's made by one of the world's most gifted rappers, it contains no rapping, no singing, no beats (though some percussion happens), not even the genre-hopping he's previously indulged in. Instead of the rap masterpiece he's no doubt capable of, 3000 instead turns in an entirely instrumental album of meditative soundscapes centered around woodwinds. When you take into account his proclivity for the surreal and the ridiculous, releasing a nearly 90-minute-long collection of ambient flute jams is one of the most André 3000 things André 3000 could do.
If you can get past the premise (and overlook the goofy song titles, most of which are too long and silly to dignify here) and tune in to New Blue Sun as an album of contemplative healing sounds, it's pleasant and sometimes even sublime. Carlos Niño co-produces, bringing the same soft warmth he's cultivated on his own transcendental pop albums for the International Anthem label. The songs wash by in waves of airy synth pads, gentle wind chimes, electric piano, or absent-minded guitar lines. 3000 is joined by a host of players including Nate Mercereau, Diego Gaeta, Surya Botofasina, Mia Doi Todd, and others, all of whom fold new textures effortlessly into the stream of sounds. Opening track "I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a 'Rap' Album But This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time" is among the most structured pieces, moving in patient ripples similar to Pharoah Sanders and Floating Points' majestic Promises. Most of the eight tracks meander past ten-minute run times, wobbling in and out of focus as André burbles along on various woodwinds. "Dreams Once Buried Beneath the Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout into Undying Gardens" is one of the album's blurriest excursions, but also one of its best. Niño's metered gong swells and swishes of arrhythmic percussion dance with synths, flutes, and other opaque ambiance for just over 17 minutes. It's hovering and aimless like Emerald Web's or Alice Coltrane's most new age material, vibrating constantly but never bubbling over. New Blue Sun is probably not the André 3000 solo debut most OutKast fans had expected or hoped for, but it does continue the integrity and spirit of his creative journey, in a way that's fittingly bizarre and beautiful.

© Fred Thomas /TiVo

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New Blue Sun

André 3000

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1
I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A "Rap" Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time
00:12:20

Andy Kravitz, Mastering Engineer - Andre 3000, Composer, Producer, Mixing Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlos Nino, Composer, Producer, Bells, Chimes, Drums, Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Gong, AssociatedPerformer, Cymbal - Ken Oriole, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Fab Dupont, AdditionalStudioProducer - Nate Mercereau, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, Guitar Synthesizer - Surya Botofasina, Composer, Keyboards, Synthesizer

(P) 2023 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

2
The Slang Word P(*)ssy Rolls Off The Tongue With Far Better Ease Than The Proper Word Vagina . Do You Agree?
00:13:50

Andy Kravitz, Mastering Engineer - Andre 3000, Composer, Producer, Mixing Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlos Nino, Composer, Producer, Bells, Chimes, Drums, Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Gong, AssociatedPerformer, Cymbal - Ken Oriole, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Fab Dupont, AdditionalStudioProducer - Nate Mercereau, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, Guitar Synthesizer - Surya Botofasina, Composer, Keyboards, Synthesizer

(P) 2023 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

3
That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn't Control ... Sh¥t Was Wild
00:10:29

Andy Kravitz, Mastering Engineer - Andre 3000, Composer, Producer, Mixing Engineer, Pedal Steel Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, Contrabass - Deantoni Parks, Composer, Drums - Carlos Nino, Composer, Producer, Bells, Chimes, Drums, Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Gong, AssociatedPerformer, Cymbal - Ken Oriole, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Fab Dupont, AdditionalStudioProducer - Nate Mercereau, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, Guitar Synthesizer

(P) 2023 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

4
BuyPoloDisorder's Daughter Wears A 3000® Shirt Embroidered
00:13:05

Andy Kravitz, Mastering Engineer - Andre 3000, Composer, Producer, Flute, Mixing Engineer, Pedal Steel Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlos Nino, Composer, Producer, Bells, Chimes, Drums, Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Gong, AssociatedPerformer, Cymbal - Ken Oriole, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Fab Dupont, AdditionalStudioProducer - Nate Mercereau, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, Guitar Synthesizer - Surya Botofasina, Composer, Keyboards, Synthesizer

(P) 2023 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

5
Ninety Three 'Til Infinity And Beyoncé
00:03:49

Andy Kravitz, Mastering Engineer - Andre 3000, Composer, Producer, Flute, Mixing Engineer, Pedal Steel Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Matthewdavid, Composer, Electronic Percussion - Carlos Nino, Composer, Producer, Bells, Chimes, Drums, Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Gong, AssociatedPerformer, Cymbal - Shabaka Hutchings, Composer - Ken Oriole, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Fab Dupont, AdditionalStudioProducer - V.C.R, Composer, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Diego Gaeta, Composer, Keyboards, Synthesizer

(P) 2023 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

6
Ghandi, Dalai Lama, Your Lord & Savior J.C. / Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, And John Wayne Gacy
00:10:15

Mia Doi Todd, Composer, Vocal - Andy Kravitz, Mastering Engineer - Andre 3000, Composer, Producer, Mixing Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlos Nino, Composer, Producer, Bells, Chimes, Drums, Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Gong, AssociatedPerformer, Cymbal - Jesse Peterson, Composer, Pedal Steel Guitar, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Ken Oriole, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Fab Dupont, AdditionalStudioProducer - Diego Gaeta, Composer, Piano

(P) 2023 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

7
Ants To You, Gods To Who ?
00:06:42

Andy Kravitz, Mastering Engineer - Andre 3000, Composer, Producer, Mixing Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlos Nino, Composer, Producer, Bells, Chimes, Drums, Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Gong, AssociatedPerformer, Cymbal - Ken Oriole, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Fab Dupont, AdditionalStudioProducer - Nate Mercereau, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, Guitar Synthesizer - Surya Botofasina, Composer, Keyboards, Synthesizer

(P) 2023 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

8
Dreams Once Buried Beneath The Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout Into Undying Gardens
00:17:11

Andy Kravitz, Mastering Engineer - Andre 3000, Composer, Producer, Mixing Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlos Nino, Composer, Producer, Bells, Chimes, Drums, Percussion, Mixing Engineer, Gong, AssociatedPerformer, Cymbal - Ken Oriole, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Fab Dupont, AdditionalStudioProducer - Nate Mercereau, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, Guitar Synthesizer - Surya Botofasina, Composer, Keyboards, Synthesizer

(P) 2023 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

Album review

While he's widely considered one of the best rappers of all time, this distinction often overshadows André 3000's tendencies for the absurd. In OutKast, his partner Big Boi's strong and steady presence often grounded the group when André's wordplay veered toward the psychedelic or his musical ideas wandered. When they ventured down individual paths on 2003's groundbreaking Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Big Boi stuck mostly to party funk and rap bangers, while André went off the rails completely, bending pop, swing, jazz, electro, and anything else that suited him around songs whose flagrant ridiculousness was an integral part of what made them so incredible. New Blue Sun is André 3000's first official solo album, and though it's made by one of the world's most gifted rappers, it contains no rapping, no singing, no beats (though some percussion happens), not even the genre-hopping he's previously indulged in. Instead of the rap masterpiece he's no doubt capable of, 3000 instead turns in an entirely instrumental album of meditative soundscapes centered around woodwinds. When you take into account his proclivity for the surreal and the ridiculous, releasing a nearly 90-minute-long collection of ambient flute jams is one of the most André 3000 things André 3000 could do.
If you can get past the premise (and overlook the goofy song titles, most of which are too long and silly to dignify here) and tune in to New Blue Sun as an album of contemplative healing sounds, it's pleasant and sometimes even sublime. Carlos Niño co-produces, bringing the same soft warmth he's cultivated on his own transcendental pop albums for the International Anthem label. The songs wash by in waves of airy synth pads, gentle wind chimes, electric piano, or absent-minded guitar lines. 3000 is joined by a host of players including Nate Mercereau, Diego Gaeta, Surya Botofasina, Mia Doi Todd, and others, all of whom fold new textures effortlessly into the stream of sounds. Opening track "I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a 'Rap' Album But This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time" is among the most structured pieces, moving in patient ripples similar to Pharoah Sanders and Floating Points' majestic Promises. Most of the eight tracks meander past ten-minute run times, wobbling in and out of focus as André burbles along on various woodwinds. "Dreams Once Buried Beneath the Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout into Undying Gardens" is one of the album's blurriest excursions, but also one of its best. Niño's metered gong swells and swishes of arrhythmic percussion dance with synths, flutes, and other opaque ambiance for just over 17 minutes. It's hovering and aimless like Emerald Web's or Alice Coltrane's most new age material, vibrating constantly but never bubbling over. New Blue Sun is probably not the André 3000 solo debut most OutKast fans had expected or hoped for, but it does continue the integrity and spirit of his creative journey, in a way that's fittingly bizarre and beautiful.

© Fred Thomas /TiVo

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