Kaytranada’s ‘99.9%’ From Uno to 100

Louis Kevin Celestin, aka the producer, re-mixer and dj, Kaytranda serves up another brilliant aural treat with his album ‘99.9%‘ released days earlier.

It’s strange that despite the fact that Kaytranda’s discography is impressive with numerous projects, EP’s and mix-tapes, that he has never actually had an official album out. So with that in mind this debut sets his album stall out tightly from the opening disco funk jam ‘Track Uno’ which slowly but surely morphs into a house come garage vibe.

It’s been a long wait in truth for a full body of work from the Montreal native who signed with XL Recordings in 2014, and since had the internet buzzing with the wait. We were suitably teased with singles like ‘Leave Me Alone’ featuring the soulful vocals of Shay Lia – a bouncing house vibe a tidy club jam for sure but it’s not till 2016 that we finally see the full body of work.

It’s a collabo heavy album including names like Anderson. Paak and Craig David. Going on a slight tangent the Craig David addition is a massive look and proves that success is temporary but class is permanent. At a time where he is in a resurgence, David’s clean vocals over the top of a smooth chilled R&B vibe on ‘Got It Good’ is on-point and for me is probably the best out of all the vocal collaborations. It’s a track that could well feature on the legendary back in the day compilation CD R&B Central.

While ‘Got It Good’ is a personal favourite, with such a stellar line-up we are talking infinitesimal small margins of ‘best’ and ‘not as good’. Aluna George’s input on ‘Together’ featuring bars from US rapper Goldlink, is a more commercially viable track – rich bass again sees Kay delving into his inner funk-images of a glittering disco ball while people roller skate comes to mind.

Phonte one half of Foreign Exchange shows that before Drake started to drop that whole singing and rapping flex Phonte was doing it WAY before and doing it WELL. ‘One Too Many’ to that end features that clean production (similar of course to Nicolay the production engine behind FE). Phonte’s playful bars towards the end are engaging  and again there is a strong feel of a club jam.

For that harder edge (which Kay does visit) look no further than ‘Drive Me Crazy’ featuring Vic Mensa. It looks like Kay had a ‘f#’k it’ moment and just turned the bass up to full because it literally tears up the bass bins. Mensa’s bars keep it contemporary as he fully delves into that almost lazy rap style which is popular right now.

The forays into funk, disco and hip-hop are welcomed and of course show his huge versatility but many love Kayranda for his beautiful ability to make that soulful jazz sound so evocative. ‘Bus Ride‘ is just such a track featuring the drumming excellence of Karriem Riggins who has worked with names like Slum Village and Erykah Badu. The title of the track is totally apt as waves of soulful jazz melody guide you beautifully into this track so you can marvel at Karriem’s intricate drum riffs – love it.

As if to prove once and for all his ability to draw in the cream of talent, the sign out track ‘Bullets’ with the totally supreme Little Dragon is like that moment when you lose a fiver and find a fifty pound note. It’s a track where you can clearly hear Kay building the track; a drum riff intro,  delicate high hat sounds, rich sub-bass, slowly melt into the killer drop where the beautiful Yukimi Nagano lead singer can bring the track to life and close out an album confirming that Kaytranda cooks up some of the best beats and should be awarded a Michelin Star, should their be one for a cooker of beats!

Following Friday’s release of his debut ‘99.9%’, Kaytranada added some moves, taking it all up a notch to 100, with the visual for ‘Lite Spots’. Bringing on a spot of direction from Martin C Pariseau, and production by Evren Boisjoli, Romeo & Fils, Kaytranada is in full innovation mode creating a robotic dance partner, who takes their funk from his garage to a bus stop, basketball court, and beach. Check out the video for “LITE SPOTS” above, and check back in for our coverage of his live London gig on Friday night.

In a sense, Kaytranda’s pursuit of perfection has possibly not left him feeling quite complete as the title of this debut states, but I think its fair to say listeners will be a hundred percent on it – it’s a Nation favourite.