Photo Credits: The Fader

Despite its humble withdrawal from the spotlight of "popular" music in the ’60s and ’70s, jazz continues to evolve offstage in the hazy, smokey recesses of the music scene. Artists like BadBadNotGood and Kamasi Washington proudly carry on this musical tradition with their masterfully experimental exploration of the genre.

Archy Marshall, who also goes by King Krule, has been experimenting with a uniquely dark and harsh jazz sound. The 23-year-old English musician released a short EP in 2011, followed by a full-length commercial release in 2013. Krule’s music has elements of post-funk, jazz fusion and indie rock. He’s stated that some of his biggest inspirations are artists like Donny Hathaway, Chet Baker, and J-Dilla—unchallenged figures in jazz and jazz-related music.

The King has recently graced his subjects with the release of "Dum Surfer," a bizarre yet strangely addicting fever dream of a track. 

The piece is a plunge into a surreal world of the gritty and grimy. Krule utilizes deep drums, which carry a surprisingly crisp punch, and pairs them with a thick, murky bass-line to lay the foundation for the song. Both of these elements impregnate the cavernous expanse created by Krule's tribal-like chanting. "DUMB SURFER!" he shouts. "What does that mean?" I continue asking myself.

The pit continues to expand with the introduction of Krule's signature groovy, twangy guitar riffs. Krule rests his visceral and demonic vocal performance on this bed of jazzy guitar strumming. The jazz influence is made more evident with the introduction of a mournful yet seductive saxophone melody in the latter half of the song.

The lyrics only further disorient us in the sludgy grotto we were cast into by the instrumentals of the track. Krule vividly describes unappetizing gravy and vomit-stained sidewalks—perhaps there’s a relationship between the two?

The dark energy of “Dum Surfer” is a contrast to “Czech One”: the slow, somber and melancholy ballad that Krule released only a few weeks prior. Both pieces offer an exciting glimpse into the refreshing diversity of musical approaches Krule will (hopefully) be exploring in his upcoming album. Titled The OOZ (2017), the full-length project is set to release on Friday, October 13. 

With midterms creeping around the corner for many people, we can empathize with Marshall’s state of mind: “my brain’s diluting; my brain’s potato mash.”

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