‘Ekuté,’ the new single from legendary bassist Pino Palladino and celebrated songwriter and producer Blake Mills, is out today. The track is from their forthcoming collaborative album ‘Notes With Attachments,’ due 12th March via New Deal / Impulse!; pre-order + pre-save HERE.
Initially conceived as a solo record for Palladino, ‘Notes With Attachments’ quickly evolved into a fully collaborative work centred around the two artists’ love for experimentation. ‘Ekuté’ follows debut single ‘Just Wrong,’ which Stereogum praised as “a warm, hazy jazz instrumental that takes its time and gives Palladino’s bass plenty of room to move” and Aquarium Drunkard called “the sort of song that tempts you to restart it before it even finishes,” along with live recordings of ‘Just Wrong‘ and ‘Man from Molise.’
WATCH AND LISTEN TO ‘EKUTÉ’ HERE
Palladino notes that ‘Ekuté’ began as an idea he had at home in London with drummer Chris Dave, a fellow “huge fan” of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. “It just came from a one-chord jam that I liked the feel of,” he says. “The next thing we did on it was in New York, with Ben Kane, an engineer friend of mine who worked on some of D’Angelo’s stuff. We had Marcus Strickland come in, who had the idea for that multitracked bass-clarinet horn section.”
Not long after, Palladino invited Mills to add something to the track. The experience was Mills’ first encounter with Palladino’s original music and a seed that led to their collaboration on ‘Notes with Attachments.’ “It was eye-opening to hear something that was repetitive, but still had so many different [directions] that it went in,” says Mills. “It was kind of a revelation, to work on the song on those terms.” That process touches every song on the record, which typically began with Palladino’s own melodic and rhythmic language and developed outward with references shared by the two musicians from West African and Cuban music, funk, jazz and English folk.
Recorded in stages over two-and-a-half years, ‘Notes With Attachments’ brings together a preeminent group of musicians from the worlds of jazz, R&B, pop and beyond: the drummer Chris Dave (D’Angelo, Anderson .Paak); the innovative saxophonists Sam Gendel, Marcus Strickland, and Jacques Schwartz-Bart; the keyboardist Larry Goldings (James Taylor, John Scofield); and others. It is both a producers’ album and a players’ album, exploring bits of musical vocabulary common to the two musicians, then defamiliarising them.
Two-time Grammy Awards ‘Producer of the Year’ nominee Blake Mills has released four solo albums and produced and recorded with artists such as Bob Dylan, Phoebe Bridgers, John Legend, Perfume Genius, Moses Sumney, Laura Marling, Cass McCombs, The Killers, Weyes Blood and Randy Newman. His most recent album ‘Mutable Set,’ released last year, was praised by Pitchfork as “a hushed collection that floats through the subconscious like a tender dream” and earned their ‘Best New Music’ title.
Pino Palladino is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer and bassist who helped create the rhythm-section sound of D’Angelo’s Voodoo and Black Messiah’ and over a four-decade career has worked with artists, including Keith Richards, Adele, Elton John, The Who, Richard Ashcroft, Erykah Badu, Eric Clapton, Nine Inch Nails, Questlove, Paul Simon and Herbie Hancock.