An obscure hit in June, 2019, Sun Atlas dropped their single “Grand Theft,” on limited-release vinyl via Mocambo Records. Quickly selling out, the mysterious band returns to their mystifying single as the jumping off point of their new record, out this time via Bloodstream on Nov. 5.
“Little is known about the ensemble that is Sun Atlas. It’s not certain whether you’d find them in Los Angeles, New York, Addis Ababa, Marrakesh or in outer space. Maybe non, maybe all of the above. Their only proof of existence is banned on this 45. Their razor-sharp mixture of afrobeat, ethiojazz, surf, cinematic soul, crime jazz & funk/hiphop breaks speaks for itself.”
”Grand Theft” is a high energy, high speed tumble through razor sharp drums, horns and whiplash guitar and keys. Gritty, commanding and relentless, the instrumentals fall and rise in glorious crescendos.
Although there is little to go on, Sun Atlas strike a memorable chord. Sonically, they are a whirlwind of grandiose sound and dramatic instrumentals with sweeping orchestral production that would serve as the perfect soundscape for a 1960s heist movie or an international film set in the dusty desert. Essentially the ideal caper song, it evokes a harrowing and urgent tone.
Visually, the band is as cryptic as their digital and physical footprint; the focal point of their “Grand Theft” music video is two shrouded figures wandering through the desert, along the oceanside and in various other natural settings. In between, a hodgepodge of time lapses, story captions and stylized visuals fade in and out.
A combination of garage rock vibes, Afro-beats, soul music, trip hop, jazz and abstract instrumentation all weave in and out in perfect contention creating a mysterious, all encompassing sound that is both polished and raw. While it’s hard to pin down this band down to reality, their music conjures a palpable, insatiable energy. And, though fans only get traces of the band here and there, it is hard not to recognize them when one comes across their music.
Words: Patti Sanchez
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