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Kaytranada - 99.9% [Album Review] - acid stag

Kaytranada – 99.9% [Review + Stream]

words by Bernie Bolger

Kaytranada finally takes the step into album territory releasing his debut full-length 99.9% through XL Recordings/Remote Control Records. Long been discussed as an oddity in electronic music producers’ direction – an album allows him to here collate 15 polished songs, each with its own vibe yet all underpinned by what has become the signature Kaytranada instrumentation and groove.

If you’ve followed his arc, nothing here will surprise you. Luckily, his sounds’ uniqueness in the oversaturated electronic music scene is enough to hold these tracks in a certain ‘cut above’, and anything coming from his mould is music worth hearing.

The connotations of loudness in the capital letter titles may seem contradictory for the most part, however some tracks do shout for your attention. The rap features on the album definitely pack the most punch – and are hence the most memorable – flipping what would be a subdued kick and snare into a much more belligerent affair. This includes singles ‘DRIVE ME CRAZY’ and ‘GLOWED UP’, featuring Vic Mensa and Anderson Paak respectively. Both tracks utilise space and a thinner texture in the hook, which compliment the rap verses wonderfully.

Part of what makes these songs great it the beautiful switch ups which tune into a whole new vibe within the track run time. These, along with a few small audio skits are very Kendrick-esque in style. The outro for Drive me Crazy has a killer, dark vibe that runs against the albums general feel and is deserving of a track in itself.

There are a fair few people involved in this project. In fact, only 4 tracks are without a feature from a friend. Those being ‘TRACK UNO’, ‘DESPITE THE WEATHER’, ‘BREAKDANCE LESSON NO. 1’, and ‘LITE SPOTS’. Aside from ‘TRACK UNO’ (which excels in its titles definition as the opener), these tracks feel like they lack a dimension. They are all incredibly funky tunes, each quite distinctive. But when he works so well with a range of artists, the more repetitive dance tracks on the album feel more like the lesser of the types. They definitely have the potential of being incredibly catchy and possibly more disposable because of this.

On that note, this is how you fill a track list with collaborators without relying on their star power/talent to lift the album (take note Disclosure). It may be the case (and I think so) that they DO improve the project, however, it’s more of a tribute to his talent that he fits so well into multiple sub-genres brought along with the features. A great example is the track ‘GOT IT GOOD’ featuring Craig David who merges his RnB style and vocals wonderfully into the mix.

The varying smooth sounds of River Tiber, Phonte, SYD and Little Dragon work beautifully with the chilled out sonic landscape. YOU’RE THE ONE shines more than the others; a sequel of sorts to The Internet and Kayranada’s ‘Girl’. Her voice sounds great on a track that is a lot more upbeat that what she would normally be lending vocals to.

In it’s entirety, the album is a great collection of safe, bumping tunes which are so very recognisable and a pleasure to listen to nonetheless.

Rating: ★★★

Get yourself a copy of 99.9% through XL Recordings/Remote Control Records.

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