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The debut album by Emma-Jean Thackray feels exactly like the sort of thing we’ve been longing for over the last 12 months: a transcendent, human, shared experience. Across its 49 minutes, Yellow draws glowing lines between ‘70s jazz fusion and P-Funk, the cosmic invocations of Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane, and the gorgeous orchestration of the Beach Boys.
“I wanted the whole thing to sound like a psychedelic trip,” explains Thackray. “You put on the first track, it takes you through this intense experience for almost an hour, and then you emerge on the other side transformed.” The result is an album that speaks the language of positivity, as rich lyrically as it is musically. You might best understand what Thackray does through reference to auteur figures like Brian Wilson or Madlib, who straddle instrumentation, arrangement and production in order to bring the sound in their head to fruition.