André 3000 Announces Solo Album Of Flute Instrumentals, Out Friday
By any measure, Outkast’s André 3000 is one of the greatest rappers who have ever lived. He’s also one of the most reluctant. Unless you count his half of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, André has never released a solo album. He hasn’t released an album of any kind since Outkast’s Idlewild soundtrack in 2006. In recent years, André has popped up, very occasionally, to rap on other people’s songs, often to dazzling effect. (Most recently, it was on Killer Mike’s “Scientists & Engineers.”) But now André has announced a massive new solo LP called New Blue Sun, and it’s apparently coming out this Friday. But it’s not a rap album. Instead, it’s 90 minutes of flute instrumentals. Really.
In recent years, the André flute sighting has become urban legend on the level of the Bill Murray noogie. People will see André walking alone down a Tokyo street late at night, or standing around in a public Philadelphia part in the middle of the day, and he’ll be playing his flute. Now, NPR reports that André is about to release a new LP of flute music: “New Blue Sun — announced today and set to be released this Friday, Nov. 17 — is a stunning 87-minute mind-bender, minimalist and experimental, tribal and transcendent.”
According to NPR, the album features André playing different kinds of flute — “contrabass flute, Mayan flutes, bamboo flutes,” other digital wind instruments — and doing no rapping whatsoever. The tracks have titles like this: “I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A ‘Rap’ Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time.” No music has been released yet, and the announcement comes as a big surprise. Killer Mike recently claimed that there was a new André album on the way, and then he rescinded that statement. Mike didn’t say anything about a flute record, though.
New Blue Sun came out of André’s chance meeting with the jazz percussionist Carlos Niño at an LA health-food store, and it mostly consists of André and Niño playing with jazz musicians like Surya Botofasina and Nate Mercereau. According to a press release, the LP also features contributions from Deantoni Parks, Diego Gaeta, Matthewdavid, V.C.R, Diego Gaeta, Jesse Peterson, and Mia Doi Todd. André and these musicians would improvise together at Niño’s house, and the album sprang out of that. In an interview with NPR, André says that he played the album for Tyler, The Creator — Frank Ocean was there, too — and Tyler said, “It sounds like you’re chasing a butterfly through a garden.” Here’s how André describes the sessions:
We tried a few different configurations to figure out what works best for me and in producing the album. We nailed it down and we experimented and we found a sound and it ended up being the core four of us — me on different woodwind instruments and digital flutes; Carlos Niño on percussion; Nate Mercereau on guitar, and he hardly ever sounds like he’s playing guitar, but he’s an awesome guitarist, he’s kind of like a magician in a way; and then Surya Botofasina, he’s a keyboardist. And that was the core four…
We’re listening to each other, we’re responding to each other, we’re supporting each other at certain times. And that’s the sound, so it’s kind of mirroring real life. That’s why I say when I describe it, which is hard to really describe, it’s a full living, breathing album because it’s fully alive. We didn’t sketch it out.
André doesn’t rule out the possibility of making a rap record in the future, but that’s not where his heart is right now:
I love rap music because it was a part of my youth. So I would love to be out here with everybody rapping, because it’s almost like fun and being on the playground. I would love to be out here playing with everybody, but it’s just not happening for me. This is the realest thing that’s coming right now. Not to say that I would never do it again, but those are not the things that are coming right now. And I have to present what’s given to me at the time…
I get beats from producers — even like current producers now — all the time. And I still produce myself, but I just haven’t found anything that’s pleasing enough to me to want to present.
In the interview, André also talks about his flute collection, his journey into jazz, and his first ayahuasca trip. You can read the whole thing here, and you can find the tracklist for New Blue Sun below.
01 “I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A “Rap” Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time ”
02 “The Slang Word P(*)ssy Rolls Off The Tongue With Far Better Ease Than The Proper Word Vagina . Do You Agree?”
03 “That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control … Sh¥t Was Wild”
04 “BuyPoloDisorder’s Daughter Wears A 3000™ Button Down Embroidered”
05 “Ninety Three ‘Til Infinity And Beyoncé”
06 “Ghandi, Dalai Lama, Your Lord & Savior J.C. / Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, And John Wayne Gacy”
07 “Ants To You, Gods To Who ?”
08 “Dreams Once Buried Beneath The Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout Into Undying Gardens”
New Blue Sun is out 11/17.