If you’ve been following this site since the beginning, you would have come across several posts about the Brooklyn-based ensemble, Superhuman Happiness. Led by the boyishly mischievous Stuart Bogie, the band was originally comprised of a septet of some of the most accomplished local musicians i’ve come across in quite some time. In fact., you can play a rather dizzying game of “six degrees of separation” with the members of Superhuman Happiness as individual members have played alongside TV on the Radio, Antibalas, Iron and Wine, and the Phenomenal Handclap Band. And much like countless other local musicians, we have to add each respective member’s various projects including EMEFE, Invisible Familiars, Beyondo Band, Low Mentality and Cuddle Magic, among others. (Speaking of the six degrees of separation game, I was recently at the Apollo Theater for the Daptone Records Soul Revue featuring Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Charles Bradley, Menahan Street Band, Antibalas and others, and while catching Antibalas, I saw Superhuman Happiness’s Stuart Bogie, Nikil Yerawdekar and Miles Amtzen comprising part of that collective’s rhythm section and horn section.)
Over the last few years, Superhuman Happiness released material while each member was involved in their various projects, and this included a couple of 45s, a 7 inch single, their 2011 EP, The Physical, and their long-awaited and absolutely fantastic full-length effort, Hands last year. And I can tell you that the album accurately captures the unbridled sense of joy, fun and love that radiates from each member of the band during their live set – all while sounding unlike anything that I would have come across within the last two, maybe three years. Superhuman happiness, indeed.
Interestingly, Hands was released just as the band was gaining attention nationally – not only were they getting attention across the blogosphere, they had opened for the likes Rubblebucket, Marco Benevento, Sinkane and Red Baraat.
And in addition to that, after the folks at Red Bull hosted their annual Creation Competition, a competition in which six teams were given 72 hours to create and build something that would change how music can be made and sound. Then Red Bull contacted the folks at Relix to see if they knew an act who would be interested in writing a song using something that one of the teams created. Naturally, that band would have to learn how to actually use this new thing to create music before they set to actually writing anything. Interestingly, the first band that they thought of was Superhuman Happiness — a band that has developed a reputation for playful experimentation. So the members of the band wrote a single with this new instrument, which was called the “Treequencer,” and in some way the new single represented yet another change of sonic direction for the band; in fact, on that single, the band started to employ the use of electronics, forgoing most of the analog instrumentation they had been using before. And as another interesting development, the band has started working with a vocalist, further showing a relentless experimentation.
Their latest single “Middle Ground" addresses the character of a lonesome but altruistic spirit trying to break even with life – perhaps karmically and spiritually. In any case, the track is comprised of pulsating synths, a gorgeous yet ethereal string arrangement paired with equally ethereal vocals floating and cutting through the mix. In some way, the track may be among the more somber and sober tracks the band has released to date – all while being remarkably danceable.