The lovechild of submarine sonar and low frequency midnight moans, Santogold was born somewhere between Bedstuy and Bushwick, Brooklyn and was placed under the care of enigmatic singer and songwriter Santi White. White’s prior musical children have proved more profound than platinum. Songwriter and executive producer behind an album boasting top Billboard singles, and driving voice behind two albums from her uncategorable band Stiffed, Santi White’s familiarity with drawing relevant and enjoyable work from a range of influences makes her a unique figure on today’s musical landscape. Unafraid to wade into currents beyond the mainstream, White’s newest project is Santogold. Santogold’s new album drives dub and 80’s-pop influences from song to song. Sometimes basement rock, sometimes Bananarama-soundclash, Santogold is a vehicle for White’s well drawn late night fight lines and robot-witch scat on the beat. Warbling bass, island upbeat, and deep-south snap provide foundation for White’s whispering lilts and tension-ridden verses.
Though without official band members, the ingredients are many: spaghetti western-outlaw, roots rock and digital street blip are each laced by White’s incomparable breathless melody. While White and John Hill, aka Johnny Rodeo (former Stiffed bassist and member of Sony engineers-turned-production team-turned band, Shitake Monkey) formed the nucleus of this creation, the Santogold landscape is speckled with the flavor of DJ’s and all around underground fly kids who have rallied behind her to deliver a versatile, consistent array of tracks. The late great Disco D, Switch, Sinden, Freq Nasty, Diplo, Radioclit, leadguitarist Clifford “Moonie” Pusey of Steel Pulse, former Bad Brains drummer, Chuck Treece, Naeem Juwan of Spankrock, M.I.A, and professional snowboarder/singer-songwriter, Trevor “Trouble” Andrew. Each participant sculpts the sound around White’s candid verses and vocal melodies pushing the width of Santogold’s scope.
Sitting on the floor at a house party listening to the selector, Santi White might be sharing stories from her childhood. Philadelphia was her city until Brooklyn became home base. Her sky holds no bounds; the streets are her yard and human behavior is her muse. Music is her weapon. Maybe she’s laughing with her head thrown back. Maybe you’re asking her what it is she does with her life. “I make music,” she answers. “Oh,” you reply, “what kind of music, where can I hear it?” She looks up at you, “That was my song the DJ just played.” You might then be stunned. Weren’t you just noticing that song, how it sounded like the voices of your past conversing with your future? Didn’t it just send warmth coursing through your veins? How is it that White’s songs can account for the joy and pain of adolescence rolling into adulthood’s grind? Then again, what did you expect to hear?
“I wasn’t just a songwriter, I was executive producer and pretty much the creative director of the whole thing. That’s a lot to give to something that’s not really yours” cited White in an early interview discussing her experience making Res’s chart topping debut, How I Do. Called “ridiculously gifted” for her work on that third party debut, White has since proven her work ethic unstoppable. She is likely to be writing at this very moment, or maybe she’s recording, or simply napping beneath a table in the studio. Whatever Santi White’s current activity, one thing is clear: the grime scene, the blue punk thing,
even the current female airplay contention have all lacked the flavor-strength that is heard in the work of Santogold. Here is something supreme because it is matchless. Those in the know will come catch licks.
Plus BBC SOUNDSYSTEM feat RONNIE DARKO & PASE ROCK
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