SXSW 2018: August Greene Talks Venturing Into New Directions With Old Friends
The genre-bending group, August Greene, expresses their appetite for celebration, bonding as a group and love for Dilla during this SXSW Festival chat.
SXSW typifies the marriage of arts celebration and technological innovation. The conversation with August Greene was an excellent example of this holy union. August Greene is a group made up of genre-bending pianist and composer Robert Glasper, drummer, producer Karriem Riggins and Grammy and Oscar Award-winning hip-hop legend Common. The group first came together to provide a song for the Ava DuVernay-directed documentary 13th, and recently released their full-length, self-titled debut album on Amazon Music.
Bonding over their love of the late great beat god J Dilla, the group’s friendship and collaborations goes back decades. However, this outing as a group is a different animal. Not quite a Common album, or a full jazz suite like Glasper’s previous projects — the album bears the marks of all three artists as an equal collaboration. Working previously on Common’s Black America, Again, the trio decided to chart a new direction and find the music as they went, or better put, let the music find them. The closing track “Swisha Suite” is a perfect example of this new direction. The sprawling track features movements and mood changes and, according to Common, was an encapsulation of their recording process, letting the songs form organically while recording.
While August Greene was innovating its sound and process, Amazon has been making moves to change an industry, yet again. Amazon has already revolutionized the way goods are purchased, moved and consumed, and with August Greene, the online retailing giant is looking to disrupt music consumption next. With their new generation of Echo Dots, a song can be searched and found by simply singing song lyrics. As music consumption becomes further personally tailored to the consumer, Amazon is looking for new and innovative ways to distribute original content. Amazon Music has featured August Greene singles as their “song of the day” on their Echo series of digital personal assistants. The partnership has yielded an exclusive album of new material and another avenue for future creators to engage the masses.
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