Michael Beharie’s Ray Like Morning is a finely sculpted album that sits at the intersection of Caribbean influences from Michael’s Jamaican heritage, pop structures, folk arrangements, granular abstractions, multiple fidelities, and live instrumentation.
Ray Like Morning flips between pop and dub sensibilities. It contains as much acoustic invention (“Drizzle”) as gut-level emotion (“Ballhead”). Sounds oscillate across channels of Michael’s aural ancestry, versioning African polyrhythm (“Before I Fall”), D.C. go-go (“A Stone”), dancehall low end (“One Day feat. Marisa”), anthemic synth pop (“Long Time”), blitzing soca (“Jasmine”), and more.
Michael’s work proudly displays his recombinant aural DNA, splicing sounds across oceans in dramatic new ways. This resulting global music is fundamentally personal, such that only Michael, from his particular aural vantage point in Bedford-Stuyvesant, could have produced it.
Ray By Morning is reinforced by Marisa Beltramini’s vocals, live drums by Yahoteh Kokayi, cello by Ted Rankin-Parker (touring member of Iron and Wine and Primus), and additional live drums and bass by Astro Nautico co-founders Bennett Kuhn (Kuhn) and Sam Obey (Obey City) respectively. Six tracks were mixed by Eben D’Amico. The record was mastered by Heba Kadry at Timeless Mastering in Brooklyn.
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I haven't heard such visceral groove from a drum kit in some time, and it feels new, uncertain and confident simultaneously. All of the imperfections and small touches between ideas all flow together beautifully and chaotically and I love it. Best heard in track order front to back while walking alone at 3am and the world opens up to you. Travis