Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SXSW 2012 Preview: Robert Glasper Experiment

Houston's Robert Glasper Experiment has released the best album of 2012 and chances are this is the first time you're hearing about it. Released on Blue Note Records just last week, Black Radio is already a must-have album for anyone who loves music. It combines hip-hop and jazz in a way that I haven't heard since Madlib's Blue Note remix record, Shades of Blue. With guest vocals from the likes of Erykah Badu, Mos Def and Musiq Soulchild Black Radio is a powerhouse that you can not overlook. You can listen to the whole thing on Spotify but we have it on vinyl at our house and it brings a whole new dimension to the dynamics of the album. Black Radio is the fourth release from Glasper but it is the first to push the boundaries of jazz so far into the world of hip-hop and certainly the first with such a bevy of guest vocalists.

Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Yasiin Bey - Black Radio video via YouTube

The Robert Glasper Experiment appears to only have one scheduled performance during SXSW and, unfortunately, it's on Thursday night the 15th. This is unfortunate because there are so many great showcases happening on Thursday night already. However, most of the other artists I want to see that evening are playing more than once during SXSW whereas there is only one chance to catch Glasper. On the bright side of things, Glasper is playing Austin's only true Jazz venue The Elephant Room, which will be an amazing space to experience his music in. It is also a pretty small venue so it could end up being tricky to get in to for his 10:30pm performance.

Keep your eyes peeled for the possibility of extra performances from the Robert Glasper Experiment or at least listen to Black Radio even if you don't think you'll see the performance at SXSW. Show List Austin, Do512 and SXShhh are my go-to resources for all things unofficial.