This past weekend, I was busy covering the fourth edition of The New Colossus Festival. I managed to cover roughly 32.5 — 32.5! — sets of music in some way or another and interview two up-and-coming artists. And for my efforts, I managed to catch a terrible cold that has knocked me on my ass for the past couple of days. I’ve had odd bursts of energy here and there, and when I’ve had one, I’ve tried my best to get some work done. The show must go on, right?
So let’s get to the business at hand.
Harrison Robinson, best known as the mononymic Harrison is a 27-year-old, acclaimed Toronto-based jazz and R&B composer, musician and producer got his start making beats and uploading sample-heavy songs on SoundCloud, where he found a following and global community of like-minded producers and collaborators including Ryan Hemsworth, Star Slinger, and a list of others.
His first two critically applauded albums, 2016’s Juno Award-nominated Checkpoint Titanium and 2018’s Juno Award-nominated Apricity, which revealed his versatility as a musician and producer, lead to him producing for some of Canada’s most forward-thinking, boundary-pushing artists including al l i e, Daniela Andrade, DijahSB, Sean Leon and Juno Award-winning artist TOBi, among a list of others.
Over the past couple of years, the Toronto-based musician, composer and producer has been busy: He has released a string of standout songs, including last year’s “Outta This World” with TOBi. He also released a couple of instrumental singles, “Around You’ and “Like When We Were Kids,” which amassed over 3 million combined streams globally. The acclaimed Torontonian has also been busy with compositional work with Nintendo Switch’s LOUD and commercials for NERF and Play-Doh.
Harrison started off 2023 with two singles:
- “Float,” feat. Kahdja Bonet, a slow-burning, Quiet Storm-meets-throbbing funk number built around tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap-like beats, a sinuous bass line, glistening synths paired with Bonet’s ethereal and sultry cooing. Fittingly, “Float” is a seemingly effortless love song that captures the dizzy swooning of new love but while subtly acknowledging the inherent uncertainty and fear we all feel.
- “A View From The Sky,” a J. Dilla beat-tape-meets-bop jazz instrumental rooted in a swinging arrangement of twinkling keys, stuttering yet propulsive drumming, fluttering synths that’s simultaneously meditative and head banging.
Both tracks see the acclaimed Canadian musician, composer and producer boldly pushing his sound into new directions while retaining the elements that have won him acclaim. Fittingly, the Canadian producer, composer and musician’s highly-anticipated, self-produced, third album Birds, Bees, The Clouds & The Trees, which is slated for an April 28, 2023 release through Last Gang Records, will reportedly continuing to demonstrate the evolution of his sound and approach over the past couple of years. .
Drawing from his artistic roots, love of old cartoon and musical influences ranging from instrumental hip-hop beat tapes to American jazz piano, like Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown scores, the album is reportedly a nostalgic ode to the music that Harrison dreamed about making as a kid. But much like his previously released work, the forthcoming album sees a collection of guests seamlessly stepping into the acclaimed Canadian producer”s technicolored world.
Yesterday, Harrison shared two more tracks off the album:
“Bump,” a funky pimp strut built around twinkling Rhodes, a soulful and strutting bass line and stuttering boom bap that’s roomy enough for MED and one of my favorite emcees Guilty Simpson to trade coolly swaggering bars focusing on the endless hustle, keeping hackstabberrs and deceitful people out of your life, and so on.
“‘Bump’ Is a love letter to some of my favorite rappers growing up,” Harrison explains in press notes. “MED and Guilty have been huge influences on me since I was 16. Understanding their beat choices on producers they worked with was a really helpful growing tool. The instrumental for ‘BUMP’ was actually originally different. They found the pocket I was looking for on this new joint. I’m floored that they were kind enough to join me on this album.
“Inthecoupe” is strutting and funky bop with a playful air. Rooted in layers of fluttering and brassy synth arpeggios and twinkling keys, “Inthecoupe” recalls Dam-Funk and Cy Gorman‘s Carmen, “‘Inthecoupe’ is a reminder to myself to not be so serious all the time. My love for jazz is very deep but I still love making fun dance music. A playful song revolving around a brass synth and a bounce.”