New Blue Sun came with one of the scariest stickers for a fan to find on a vinyl, “Caution: no bars”. The rapper and half of the legendary hip-hop group Outkast, André 3000, has finally given fans what they wanted: a full solo album.
New Blue Sun opens on the long and slow-developing "I Swear I Really Wanted To Make A “Rap” Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me.” Here André shows off his impressive flute ability as well as the impressive and atmospheric production which begins to tie the album together. The song features a slowly developing flute motif backed up by swelling percussion and synthwork.
Track 2 picks up where the first left off, but without pushing too hard to advance the vibe. Fluttering synths create a still and icy atmosphere without much development.
Track 3, That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn't Control…, offers a significant change of pace to a more foreboding and melodic soundscape, with André’s wandering flute and persistent drums throughout the track. The energy is interesting for a time but does not offer enough development to justify its 10-minute runtime.
By the middle of A New Blue Sun, I struggled to stay engaged. The sound of the record hovers around the same low energy for all of its 88-minute runtime. While new instruments and sounds are introduced they do not often come together and instead exist as a collection of disparate ideas included on the album.
Track 4 changes the energy of the project with futuristic and disorienting synth splashes and a satisfying crescendo in the second half of the song.
The final track on the record, Dreams Once Built Beneath The Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout Into Undying Gardens, is an emotional highlight on the track, with woodwinds and synth patches swelling into a satisfying and intense end to this project.
Overall, New Blue Sun is exceptional for the creativity shown by André 3000, but many other projects execute his ideas better. While André describes this project as a jazz album and wears clear jazz influences, it sounds more like New Age with the deep, wide, spanning soundscapes. Unfortunately, André’s inexperience in this genre shows.
While projects like Max Richter’s Songs From Before or anything Brian Eno has ever had his hands on have impressive and moving swells, New Blue Sun fails to develop for more than a single track. To me, this hinders how interested I can stay in the record by the end of the first hour.
A New Blue Sun is certifiably chill, for better or worse. If you are looking for something to play in the background as you work on homework or fall asleep, I recommend this project.