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As Night Beats, Texas-born, LA-based artist Danny Lee Blackwell creates music like one might assemble a puzzle. The Western psychedelic auteur builds his work from one moment, an initial spark, that must fit a certain criteria: it must give him goosebumps. If that sensation arrives, Blackwell will pursue the idea relentlessly until he has a new song; if not, he moves onto the next moment, constantly looking for the perfect molecule of a song.
On his new Night Beats album, Rajan, the songwriter is at his strongest, creating works that shine with captivating melodies and hypnotic rhythms, but are underscored by subtle choices of craftsmanship that can only be achieved after countless hours in the studio. Blackwell creates a work that lands somewhere between Spaghetti Western film score and psych-pop opus, a career-defining album that reveals much about Danny Lee Blackwell’s artistic philosophy while keeping that ever crucial air of mystery intact.
Album opener “Hot Ghee” not only sets the stage for where the album will head, but establishes Rajan as a scalding-hot take on the intersection of psych-rock, jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, and more. It’s a wildly diverse and thrilling album, yet remains remarkably cohesive in Blackwell’s deft hands. “Hot Ghee” is built around sultry guitar chords, layers of interacting vocals, swinging drums, a small army of tambourines, and subtle piano runs that gives the song a melodic edge.
“Hot Ghee,” and all of Rajan, is such a special record because it simultaneously showcases Danny Lee’s chops as a world class songwriter, while showcasing the types of music he loves as a fan. Blackwell is one of our most impressive musicians, but he’s also an obsessive listener.
Night Beats’ new album Rajan is an ode to great music. Danny Lee Blackwell enters the canonical halls of music past and confidently inserts his voice into the conversation. It’s an album both indebted to its influences and wildly innovative in its originality. Above all, it finds Night Beats pursuing every whim imaginable. “I'm here to explore. I think exploration is the underlying reason in a way, of why we do the things we do,” Blackwell explains. “I feel lucky. What can I say? I feel blessed.”
Due to the nature of making a vinyl record, each record is one of a kind. The vinyl you receive may look different from our photo. Colored vinyl is more prone to surface noise and imperfections.
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