Celestial Electric finds L.A.-based indie-pop auteur AM and London-based groovemaster/experimentalist Lee pooling their talents to create a unique brand of electro-soul that achieves seamless pop perfection, while mining a startlingly broad array of stylistic influences. It’s a resulting blend of heartfelt, warmly melodic songcraft and vivid, inventive soundscapes underlying the artists’ abiding love for all manner of vintage genres, encompassing pop, soul, funk, jazz, Brazilian tropicalia, Turkish psychedelia, and soundtracks and library music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
L.A.-based tunesmith AM has won widespread acclaim by merging pop, soul, folk, R&B and psychedelia into highly personalized songcraft. In addition to releasing several albums on various labels (including 2010’s Future Sons & Daughters), he spent practically all of last year out on the road touring with a diverse range of artists including AIR, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Josh Rouse and legendary Brazilian tropicalia icon Caetano Veloso.
London-based composer/producer/instrumentalist Shawn Lee has established a reputation as a mischievous sonic innovator, releasing more than twenty genre-spanning albums of his original material, usually as Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra. He has worked on recording projects with Clutchy Hopkins, Saint Etienne, Arthur Verocai, Greyboy, Coldcut, Tony Joe White, Darondo, Money Mark and Tommy Guerrero and has opened for bands such as Phoenix and Sigur Ros.
The seeds for AM and Shawn Lee’s collaboration on Celestial Electric were planted when AM heard Lee’s Music and Rhythm album on L.A.’s KJazz, and was impressed enough to reach out to him online.
AM & Lee worked on Celestial Electric from their respective hometowns, trading ideas and tracks via email. Lee, armed with an early-’80s four-track deck and other vintage tape machines in his London studio, began by creating beats and sending them to AM, who wrote songs and lyrics over Lee’s grooves, added vocals, guitars, bass and synths, and emailed the tracks back to Lee, who then added keyboards, percussion and a variety of instruments and mixed the tracks. The two commented on each other’s work via email until each was happy with the result.
U.K. DJ and tastemaker mixologist Andy Votel, of Finders Keepers/B-Music fame, provided the album’s cover design and liner notes.
AM & Shawn Lee : Celestial Electric on ESL
- City Boy
- Lonely Life
- Can’t Figure It Out
- Dark Into Light
- Different Forces
- Jackie Blue
- Somebody Like You
- Promises Are Never Far From Lies
- Down The Line
- The Signal
- Winter Sun