Darkly theatrical, I’d have been less surprised had somebody told me that I was listening to the opening score of a 20th century American thriller. A sparse bass-line and mournful strings make for a distinctly film noir atmosphere.
I Don’t Know is the latest track from the Toronto 4 piece and Future Islands frontman, Samuel T. Herring, and surfaces as part of previously unreleased work from their 2016 album IV. BADBADNOTGOOD are making quite an impact through a number of high profile collaborations, cementing their status not only as an eclectic Jazz outfit but also as producers; their work with Kali Uchis on her debut album being another one of my favourite releases of the year so far.
Samuel’s crooning is delivered with an Oscar winning array of emotion, bringing a range of timbres to his voice. Yet dynamically, each part is cleverly compressed to make for smooth and effortless listening. It’s no wonder I’ve found myself drifting into another world with this track on repeat.
It’s not just the composition that alludes to Hollywood. The cinematography and direction of the video are something to behold, weaving a story that follows lyrics of despair and grief. I can easily imagine it perfectly complimenting the depth and power of a vintage cinema surround sound system; the film flickering on 35mm.
This wouldn’t be a BADBADNOTGOOD track if a slightly detuned and dream-like melody didn’t feature somewhere, in this case thickly layered with tape effect. It finished the song excellently.
So go ahead, give this one a watch and a listen.