Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Time To Go (feat. Aloe Blacc)” by Wax Tailor from the 2012 album Dusty Rainbow From The Dark on Le Plan/Lab’Oratoire.
The alias of the French musician Jean-Christophe Le Saoût, the Wax Tailor project is Le Saoût’s outfit for his downtempo and hip-hop-influenced output. Le Saoût began producing music on his own label, Lab’Oratoire, in the late nineties, and by 2004, he had released the first Wax Tailor EP. Now on his fourth album, Le Saoût’s sound has evolved to a point where his influences are no longer his defining characteristics, but rather, his skillful mix is now Wax Tailor’s main draw. His fourth album, Dusty Rainbow From The Dark, is a departure from his recent work, drawing more from his sample-driven origins than his studio musician and symphonic work from the past few years. Featuring Eastern-textured keyboards and distorted flute samples, “Time To Go” is a forward-thinking trip-hop production that melds seamlessly with Aloe Blacc’s R&B traditionalism to create a deft, modern hybrid of both styles. Were it removed from Wax Tailor’s equally modern and retro soundscape, Blacc’s performance would fit right in with the rest of his traditionalist R&B catalogue, but when placed alongside Le Saoût’s film score-ready composition, Blacc’s melodies are given new life, removing any trace of his past work and becoming Le Saoût’s vibrant speakerphone. “Time To Go” shows that if the “trip-hop” tag is a dated term only used by lazy journalists in the late ’90s, then Wax Tailor’s stylistic fearlessness has helped him outlast any of his once-contemporaries to become a fearless, genre-hopping musician that remains as unhindered as ever.
Wax Taylor just played Seattle this past weekend, but if he makes plans to come back any time soon, you’ll be the first to know if you keep an eye on his website and Facebook. In the meantime, check our Live In-Studio Performances archive to listen to the session again, and watch the video for “Time To Go” here: