Tartelet are proud to introduce the blissful, psychedelic electronic soul sound of ABUNAI on his sophomore album Chrysalis out May 20th.
Across 11 songs the Oakland, CA-based multi-instrumentalist lays down a dreamlike style which should chime with fans of Tame Impala, Khruangbin and James Blake alike. As well as the sun-soaked surrounding of his Californian home, ABUNAI’s family connection to Hawaii casts its influence over an album which has all the makings of a crossover success.
Look no further than early support from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Don Letts, and Wayne Snow for further proof this album is set to blow up.
“My sound is definitely influenced by the live music I grew up with in the Bay Area,” says ABUNAI. “There's plenty of musical legacy here, including the '60s psychedelic and counterculture movements, the '90s rave scene, and the hyphy movement. "I'm always trying to connect the dots and blend all of my influences
ABUNAI has been playing music most of his life, starting out with piano and moving onto sax before falling for the sultry tones of bass guitar, which you can hear slinking under most tracks on Chrysalis. From a five-year stint through his teens playing every weekend in a jazz-funk outfit to exploring music production (in the band Paper Void) and embracing his own singing voice, the sound ABUNAI has reached is the natural product of a life spent honing and refining his skills across a full spectrum of sounds, styles and tools. His time is also divided with his work as a neuroscientist – a career path that emerged from his fascination with the effect music has on the brain.
Chrysalis was, like so many recent albums, a project made largely in isolation during the pandemic, although ABUNAI did reach out to close collaborators Gravity and Raquel Marie to contribute some guest vocals, Kevin Farzad from Sure Sure for the acoustic drum parts and a few additional production touches from Tartelet regulars Glenn Astro and Max Graef. He bills the songs as an exercise in therapeutic self-care through lockdown as much as a balm for others. “It's music for healing,” ABUNAI explains, “for the listener to be able to marinate in the slow tempos, the dreamy textures, the swirling vocals, and the lush synthesizers. It’s very much about growth, re-emergence, and dreaming of a better future.”
As well as dealing in ear-catching pop melodies and sweet vocals, there’s an underlying theme of the ocean, which stems from his coastal surroundings and his family roots in the Pacific.
“I think the album is aquatic,” he reflects, “and it feels like a voyage to me, or like a long shower, being reborn in the water. I played the album for my grandpa, who's a veteran sailor and pilot from Hawaii, and he said it was the perfect music to play when you're sailing on the open ocean at sunset.”
Cast in nostalgic, soft-focus tones and endlessly soothing for the soul, Chrysalis is your new favourite record for tender moments, hazy days and starry-eyed reveries alike.