It’s been over two weeks since Louis Kevin Celestin, known by his stage name Kaytranada dropped his fantastic debut album, 99.9%. The album is an evolution of musical progression that blends a diversity of styles into a brilliant cohesive body of music.
“Track UNO” starts the album off with a light and upbeat instrumental drum track that slowly develops into a jazz-inspired house with lots of bass. Its progression is key to the transition from its denouement to the start of the next track, “Bus Ride”, which brings home Kaytranada’s virtuoso ability to craft drum tracks with depth and character. It’s from the first two tracks that we get to hear Kaytranada’s instrumentals which brought him to Soundcloud fame before landing him a contract with XL Recordings.
Choosing to colour beyond the lines and create what others haven’t heard Kaytranada shows zero restraint when it comes to his song writing. He’s consistently experimental and his choices are more than often unconventional. Celestin’s production style perfectly complimenting the various styles of 99.9%, all-star supporting cast (Anderson. Paak, Syd (formerly Syd Tha Kyd), Craig David, AlunaGeorge, Little Dragon, Kariem Riggins, Vic Mensa, River Tiber, Shay Lia and BadBadNotGood). Kaytranada allows each of their vocals to shine and dictate the momentum of the instrumentals. Resulting in lush songs that perfectly blend together showcasing the chemistry between the producer and the artist.
On “Got It Good”, Kaytranada manages to make Craig David relevant again in. Here David delivers his trademarked sultry vocals “describing his lavish, care-free lifestyle while explaining a relationship with a woman who is enamored with his wealth.”
“Drive Me Crazy” features Vic Mensa over smooth, melodic dance music, before transitioning into a certified anthem, closing with a hard knocking trap-laced drum solo that is sadly not found on the radio version of the song. On tracks like “Weight Off” Celestin steps back into the world of instrumentals, by taking a detour to a neo-soul, R&B groove featuring an outstanding baseline courtesy of BadBadNotGood. In “Glowed Up”, Anderson. Paak delivers both his superb Rap and R&B vocals but Kaytranada doesn’t let him steal the show. Instead the final part of the song transitions into a heavy bass, funky neo-soul groove with a marching band’s drum beat.
Kaytranada continues to wow with the albums second half of the album. The listener is consumed with a mellow, happy, care-free vibe which has a semblance to the start of the album. Syd and River Tiber give inspiring vocal performances. Both sound personal and involved in their respective songs, delivering lyrics with lingering emotions that transcend audio and bring the listener to places only found in memories. Following River Tiber’s “Vivid Dream”, is albums standout “Lite Spots” an upbeat rework of Gal Costa’s “Pontos De Luz” taken from her 1973 LP India.
99.9% is an eclectic mix of rhythm, style, and tone. From the moment you press play you will be blown away with it’s unique sound through Kaytranada’s ability to blend genres (funk, hip hop, jazz, trap,neo-soul etc) into a singular cohesive body of work. For me its this constant blending of different musical styles that makes this project so enjoyable and one of 2016’s best albums.
Stream the album via Spotify below and you can purchase it here.