When you listen to as much new stuff as I do, the moments when you hear something truly new and unique are few and far between. The new San Francisco septet The Seshen perform that rare magic trick of doing something fresh without ever sounding like they're trying to. They blend so many sounds and ideas so seamlessly that picking it apart is like analyzing the ingredients in a seven layer cake. Just accept that the combination of parts is way better than eating 4 raw eggs or a teaspoon of baking powder on it's own. (Frosting by itself is the exception because it's always a good idea.)
The band is fronted by co-lyricists Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Orr with drummer Julian Pont, keyboardist Mahesh Rao, percussionist Mirza Kopelman, sampler Kumar Butler, and bassist/producer Aki Ehara. Drenched in icy reverb but backed by brawny dance beats, they're simultaneously chill and danceable. The dense production; melding of live instruments and synths, rides the line between mechanical and soulful. Or maybe it finds the soulful in the mechanical. Either way, their debut self-titled album (available below) is required listening for the miles deep groove of lead single 'Oblivion,' the swirling violin solo in 'Canvas,' and of course the surreal poetry of Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Orr. Sample lyric: “unshakeable my faith / untameable my rage / 'cause collared and chained / a lion is still a lion even when covered and caged.” And if St. Juste and Orr's vocals don't reach inside your soul then your ears are broken. The Seshen's biggest problem is that you can never experience the thrill of hearing them for the first time again.
- Contributor: Nathan Leigh