Grammy-nominated Reggae artist Matisyahu has officially released his sixth studio album, Undercurrent today! Undercurrent is musically Matisyahu's most courageous release to date and lyrically his most vulnerable. Nearly thirteen years after the release of his first studio record, Matisyahu and his band have done something unmatched in his past repertoire. The album is now available for streaming via Mass Appeal and for purchase via iTunes, Amazon, and PledgeMusic.
Touching on the significance of this new recording experience, Matisyahu explains. "This is the first album I've made that is produced by myself and the band with out any outside forces involved. It's my baby. No compromises, full artistic integrity."
The vulnerability felt throughout the lyrical narrative comes from acceptance in uncertainty. Matisyahu explains, "This record is like, Abraham's walk back down the mountain. After he's made this kind of breakthrough experience, like how does he now come back to life? And that's kind of what this period of time in my life has been all about. Like "Okay, now you broke out of bad relationships, bad habits, religious practices that weren't working for you, philosophical, you know, mental ties that you had to things." And, and then it's like, "Okay, where are you now?" You know? And that's kind of what this record is."
The courage in the music comes from trust. Trust in the band, and only in the band. There are no post-production bells and whistles or litany of special guests on Undercurrent. The band improvised for hours in the studio with Matisyahu watching on as an admirer without singing a single lyric. Out of the improvisations grew melodic themes, rhythmic peaks and valleys, blissful and proto-song guitar passages, deep dub meditations and ultimately an inspired instrumental record until itself. Only once the band had crafted this musical narrative, did Matisyahu begin to work on a lyrical narrative of his own.
The level of interplay between Matisyahu and his band mates on Undercurrent is unquestionable - with each replay, the album reveals a guitar line from longtime guitarist, Aaron Dugan, which elevates a vocal melody that only 15 years of experience together can achieve. Keyboard patterns from BigYuki unrealized in a previous listen connect one song to another and the full band improvisations with Dub Trio bassist and drummer Stu Brooks and Joe Tomino climax with an impressive exploratory section on the record's final track "Driftin'".
With this album, Matisyahu and his band have achieved a musical retelling of the Matisyahu story that explores the forces within that inspire us all, challenge us all, break us down, lift us up, and yet are rarely obvious to the outside observer.
Ultimately, Undercurrent is a fully realized concept album crafted by a band-of-brothers who have learned to hold a conversation that is both comforting and challenging at the same time. It plays like a revelatory session with a great psychotherapist.
The visual component of Undercurrent falls into the same level of exploration and creativity, as Matisyahu explains, "Artist/designer Joey Bayer created the cover art and comic to follow based on fantasy versions of the band members and myself. At times during shows I've found myself lost in trance where the band becomes a unit of spiritual warriors fighting to free the souls of the youth. We've created all of the album art around this fantasy."
Matisyahu's album Undercurrent is officially out today, May 19th! For more information, please visit: http://matisyahuworld.com
01. Step Out Into The Light
02. Back To The Old
03. Coming Up Empty
04. Blue Sky Playground
05. Tell Me
06. Forest of Faith (Emunah)
07. Head Right
Promoted on slideshow