Sequoyah Murray - Before You Begin LPThrill Jockey Records
At just 22 years old, Sequoyah Murray is crafting the kind of concise, singular musical statements that many artists strive for their whole careers. His mutant brand of modern soul is as deeply eclectic as it is instantly arresting, a quality that drew early comparisons to Arthur Russell. Like Russell, Murray has a boundless, playful approach to composition; an incredible breadth of vision balanced by concise editing. Futuristic electronics, West and North African influenced polyrhythms, gospel vocals and psychedelic Tropicália textures blend seamlessly, anchored by his astounding three-octave baritone.
Before You Begin distills an enormous wealth of ideas, emotion and detail into a stunning debut. Murray’s joyful energy is infectious on his bravely intimate self-portrait, painted with an inventive and unexpected collection of sounds.
The album is influenced by Murray’s experience growing up in one of the world’s music capitals. Atlanta’s hip-hop and trap heritage finds its place in his inventive lyricism, future-seeking sonics and DIY approach to music-making. Although Murray points to rap as one influence, he cites Atlanta’s lesser-known jazz and free-improv scene as facilitating his development as an artist.