Culture, Music

Kaytranada – 99.9% review

Kaytranada is only 24 years young, but already this Canadian whiz kid has been become one of the most sought-after producers of the moment. His debut album, 99.9%, includes features from GoldLink, AlunaGeorge, Syd tha Kyd, Anderson Paak, Vic Mensa and others. It’s a moreish album held back by some slight, but noticeable, structural flaws.

Kaytranada’s instrumetal beds are lush and psychedelic. It’s all warped soul (‘Track Uno’), dizzying, up-tempo electro (‘Breakdance Lesson N.1’) and jazzy percussion (‘Despite the Weather’) that brings the work of People Under the Stairs’s Thes One, Jnerio Jarel and Tall Black Guy to mind. Not all of the guests bring their A-game to his party, but when they do – as with BadBadNotGood on ‘Weight Off’, Craig David on ‘Got It Good’, Shay Lia on ‘Leave Me Alone’, and Syd on ‘You’re the One’ – the result is delicious.

However, though Kaytranada often layers his tracks with additional patterns or rhythmic changes, he hasn’t ensured that the songs on the album flow as gracefully as he could have. Some end too abruptly (‘Together’, ‘Glowed Up’) and others lack the extended breathing room that the album format can, and should, afford them. In this regard, Kaytranada could learn a thing or two from elders like Paul White and SBTRKT.

Listening to 99.9%, it’s clear to see why Kaytranada has been in such demand: his music blends rare grooves with the wild psych that we’ve all fallen for so hard this decade. His debut doesn’t have the polished sheen of albums by, say, Tall Black Guy or Disclosure, but it is nevertheless one of this year’s sharpest electronic releases.

99.9% is out now XL Recordings.

Image: Liam McCrae/PR