Review of Early Riser EP by Taylor McFerrin

Taylor McFerrin is the son of the great Bobby McFerrin - and my oh my has he done daddy proud. His latest album, 'Early Riser', rises from the ashes of his 2011 EP 'Place In My Heart'. Seemingly more commercially viable with it's pillow-beat, shoe-box, dance pop vibes, it's not to say McFerrin hasn't really gone to town on digging up new ground on 'Early Riser'. Of course, allied with the likes of Flying lotus and the acclaim of Gilles Peterson, these 12 tracks will have your head spinning.

Taylor McFerrin Early Riser EP

The opening track, 'Postpartum', being a fitting pastiche of imagery for his work, creates an irresistible taste for the rest of the album. Chewing on everything from soft ambient keys, moody guitar riffs and solemn choirs bellowing across shuffles, to spiralling synths arpeggiating into the unknown. Then, of course, coming back for more of this freshly dug ground McFerrin has inhabited.

The title track of the 'Place In My Heart' EP also features on 'Early Riser', and understandably so. 'Place In my Heart' Ft. Ryat is without question 'one of those tunes'. The epitome of the aforementioned pillow-beat vibes. "When I say heart, keep on stomping"; the vocals are reminiscent of Bjork with perhaps even a tortured Feist lost in there somewhere. With its blue melody and patient, driving beat, 'Place In My Heart' really does bury itself in deep. The dynamics of this album are just perfect and McFerrin has successfully devised a balanced recipe of futuristic sentimentality. Ryat is also signed to Flying Lotus' label Brainfeeder so it will be interesting to see who McFerrin may collar with from the roster next.

With almost everything just short of spaceships and time machines, 'Early Riser' becomes true to a journey through evolving future sounds. Without the essentials for space and/or time travel, McFerrin has utilised mixing desks and condenser microphones to the point of creating the ultimate space-age bachelor pad beats. A long way to come from a 3 track EP in under 3 years you might think, but McFerrin is undoubtedly heading to infinity and beyond. Keep the eyes a' peeled for this Brooklyn based mastermind.


Alister Roberts

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