Comprised of Lalin St. Juste (vocals), Akiyoshi Ehara (bass, production), Kasha Rockland (vocals), Mirza Kopelman (percussion), Chris Thalmann (drums), Mahesh Rao (keys, synths), Mirza Kopelman (percussion) and Kumar Butler (sampler), the San Francisco Bay Area electro pop/R&B act The Seshen can trace their origins to when its founding duo St. Juste and Ehara met in Ghana during a study abroad program and instantly bonded over their shared love of music. After returning home and completing college, the duo lived in Los Angeles before relocating to Ehara’s hometown of Richmond CA, where they started to collaborate together on music and gradually built the band through jam sessions with their closest friends.
The San Francisco Bay Area-based act have received attention across the Bay Area and elsewhere for an aestehtic that draws from a diverse array of influences including Erykah Badu, Jai Paul, James Blake, Radiohead, Broadcast, hip-hop, indie rock, electronica and 70s dub to craft a sound that uncompromisingly defies easy categorization while carefully and gently walking the tightrope between sounding remarkably contemporary and retro-futuristic; in fact, to my ears, their sound sometimes sounds as though it were influenced by slick and sleek 80s synth-baesd R&B and pop. And that sound is paired with St. Juste’s soul-baring lyrics drawing from both her own personal experiences and her imagination as the material typically explores femininity, power, illusion and loss. With the release of their 2012 self-titled debut, which was released through Bandcamp, the Bay Area-based octet quickly built a devoted local fanbase. And by 2014, they signed to renowned indie label Tru Thoughts Records, who releaed their critically applauded 2014 EP Unravel, an effort that quickly became a favorite of well-known and highly-regarded DJs and tastemaker media outlets and personalities including BBC Radio 6‘s Tom Ravenscroft, OkayPlayer, Earmilk and The Line of Best Fit. Building on the growing internationally received buzz, the Bay Area based act released the Unravel Remixes EP, which featured remixes from AK/DK, Astronauts, etc., Uhuru Peak, Tru Thoughts Records’ Jonny Faith and Lost Midas; in fact, the Unravel Remixes EP received airplay from BBC Radio 6’s Lauren Laverne, Nemone, Steve Lacmaq and several others.
The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore, full-length sophomore effort is slated for an October 14, 2016 release through Tru Thoughts Records and the album’s material reportedly reflects a band expanding upon their sound and lyrical content; St. Juste sings lyrics in a stream of consciousness fashion and as you’ll hear on the album’s first single “Distant Heart,” as the group pairs cascading layers of ambient, squiggling and shimmering synths with stuttering and off-kilter percussion with St. Juste’s plaintive and ethereal vocals to craft a sultry, sensual song that possesses an underlying heartache at it’s core. And in some way the song manages to gently nod at 70s and 80s synth funk and R&B.
The recently released music video for the song is full of slick, sensual imagery including people moving and grooving at a small, 1920s themed club while the members of The Seshen perform the song; the act’s lead singer, strutting past a car accident to chat with a woman wearing a wedding dress, complete with the wedding veil, who later gets her veil sensually removed by two other woman and so on. Interestingly, the video possesses a disorientating, fever dream-like logic in which events occur in a seemingly disconnected fashion.