Being part of a seven-deep group could be a blessing or a headache. With seven different people come seven different perspectives, ideas and personal influences. For Bay Area based collective The Seshen, who released their self-titled debut in March, their seven members express seven rhythmically harmonious points of view.
Consisting of bassist/producer Aki Ehara, drummer Chris Thalmann, percussionist Mirza Kopelman, synchronizer/sampler Kumar Butler and lyricists Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Orr along with keyboardist Mahesh Rao, The Seshen are an eclectic blend of what’s been missing in music for a while. Not only does the group combine and create music with great lyrics, they also combine and make music with great production with a timeless quality.
The band cite the likes of Little Dragon, J.Dilla, Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus and Beach House as influences. Songwriter Lala also digs Santigold, Radiohead and jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, whilst singer Akasha cites Tori Amos, Nina Simone and Warpaint, percussionist Mirza taking inspiration from Afro-Cuban, Brazilian music, Reggae and Hip Hop.
With their debut album the group have garnered a considerable buzz around the blogosphere, even gaining the attention of acclaimed emcee Talib Kweli for obvious reasons. “The exposure we’ve been gaining is fantastic, fun and exciting,” Mirza enthuses. “We’re always emailing each other or texting with lots of exclamation points.”
The 11-track album has several highlights, including the debut single “Oblivion,” “Otherside,” Night Sky” and “Canvas,” however, a personal favorite comes in the form of “Static” [which almost didn’t make the cut for the album]. The song contains what a French blog called “a percussion massacre” at the end.
“My mind started going into the growing disconnection that goes on with people and I started thinking about my life and just the distance that was starting to grow between me and others, says Lalin. “Then thinking about how we live in our society with this connection, but also not… You can get very familiar with being apart.”
Some of the most eclectic newcomers out, I think The Seshen are on the brink of doing great things musically.