|Album Review: GRiZ – Say It Loud|
Say It Loud
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Since festival season last year the sax master GRiZ has been teasing us all with performances of new material. Songs like “A Fine Way To Die,” featuring lowtemp singer Orlando Napier had funk fanatics fending for more at Electric Zoo in NYC and he and iDA Hawk had people at North Coast Music Festival eating out of the palm of their hands when they debuted their collaboration, “Stop Trippin’.” Sweat would pour from his brow and he delivered sax solos over electrifying productions that would make John Coltrane fidgety with excitement.
It is evident in every production that GRiZ poured his heart and soul into the album and the final product is far greater than we could have every anticipated. His use of live instrumentation is an impressive feat in itself and his carefully crafted tapestry of funk, soul and bass is pristine. What is most impressive is his ability to seamlessly incorporate sounds of the old with the throbbing bass sounds of the new era. Each track is unique in it’s own way, boasting sax riffs that are reminiscent of the Charlie Parker era, with big band brass sound that would make James Brown say “Good God,” and driving bass sounds that would have the ultimate basshead Bassnectar thrashing about. From gripping bars from prolific rapper Talib Kweli to captivating gang vocals from the L.A.’s Children’s Chorus, GRiZ certainly stuns with his fourth studio album Say It Loud.
GRiZ is a firm believer in getting his music to the people through whatever way he can with no costs. You can download it for free on his website, stream it on Spotify or Soundcloud and purchase it on iTunes or pay what you want on Bittorrent. Either way you will want to have this funk in your life and will definitely want to catch him on tour. You can find dates to the Say It Loud tour here.
The album starts of with a bang, delivering a sucker punk of funk with “The Anthem,” the appropriately title collaboration with Mike Avery and the L.A. Children’s Choir. Funk melodies that would make Mark Ronson hot are paired with pounding bass hits and swanky guitar riffs. Mike’s vocals soar of the beat like warm molasses, touching every crevice of the production.
Following the very anthemic lead into the album, GRiZ sets the album ablaze with the playfully title “Funk Party.” There is a percussion line that sounds like “Trashin’ The Camp,” that sets the tone before shit really takes off and turns into a party. This track is more bass heavy and the kind tune that will have sweaty heads bangin’ and bobbin’ to every brutal down beat.
The next rack “Get Down” is an upbeat track that implores you to get the funk down. Frenetic bass melodies lead up to an eventual release that will have you swirling about like a whirling dervish. An appropriately placed sample from the Fugees perfectly speaks for us all as GRiZ strums our pain with his saxy fingers.
The Floozies collaborated with GRiZ for the fourth track “Need This,” which is a glitchy crunch banger with a strong horn section, sexy guitar riffs and a bass that would give Optimus Prime a chubby. Even with the heavy bass notes he is still able to keep an element of funk alive in this heater.
Next up is a soulful revival that will make your soul yurn to dance. Soul singer Jessie Arlen shines in “It’s All Good” as swirling synths and bass remind us that it’s all good, baby.
Following the soulful electricity, “A Fine Way To Do,” is vibrant with elements of funk and soul music prominent in the James Brown era. Tightly picked guitar riffs, bouncy bass melodies, and Orlando’s smoky vocals soother in every robust measure.
One of our favorite tracks off the record is his collaboration with Talib Kweli, “For The Love.” GRiZ slows things down and elevates the heart to take a ride along side Talib’s bars he spits. His sax pierces through the smooth jazz and is rich enough to make Kenny G weep. Definitely a stand out song amidst a pile of glistening diamonds.
Following the soulful mood of For The Love, he turns the heat up a notch with his iDA HAWK collab “Stop Trippin’.” The duo proclaims their independence and confidence in direction with this record, telling off the haters because they know who they are and they do what they want. Groovy staccato melodies bounce about as iDA’s voice explodes through the ether surrounded by ferocity and tenacity.
As the album nears it’s end GRiZ trips out the listener with his soulful and melodic track “Headspace (Time Is On Our Side).” Melodies effortlessly move and blend with one another, creating this ethereal journey through sound and space that transports the listener to another dimension. It’s the perfect song for a mid-set cool down as you stare up at the stars and wave your arms about, skin tingling with euphoria.
The second to last track on the record “Turnin’,” sees another appearance from Orlando Napier who showcases his soulful abilities in a more downtempo production. The overall vibe of the song is sultry and smooth and fit for smoke jazz clubs with all the cats pontificating over their whiskys as Orlando spills his heart over GRiZ’s seductive and self-reflective melody brooding with contemplation and desire.
Closing out the album GRiZ ends on a high note with “Take It High,” featuring Ivan Neville. Driving bass strums carry the melody before a strong horn section flutters in under Ivan’s jubilant vocals. The song has a playful melody similar to “Uptown Funk” but rooted in the soul of Detroit. This is the perfect ending to a diverse album rich in flavor and color.
As a growing and constantly evolving artist, GRiZ proves time and time again why he refuses to follow trends and lets his music speak for his ability. Say It Loud is the perfect representation of his years of work and experience, blending soulful sounds of the 60’s and 70’s with the driving bass sounds of today. His ability to carefully orchestrate and record this album and conscious for thinking outside of the box is breath taking. Say It Loud is a milestone and merely a catalyst for a rich and promising future ahead. Show him support on his Say It Loud tour for an extra dose of folk and until then, vibe out to this masterpiece.