It was a long time coming for Port-au-Prince born, Montreal-raised producer, DJ and remixer Kaytranada, but he finally made it, thanks in great part to his XL Recordings-released debut LP 99.9% (May 6), a kaleidoscopic sample of where the rising talent has been, is and may be headed with his compositional arrangement skills. Louis Kevin Celestin by birth, Kaytranada has undergone a number of developments with his sound over the years, arriving on the scene now with matured artistic judgement as can be told from his inspired new style of low-key dance music in the album.
Light bass-laden vibes at the start clear up for more of the artist formerly known as Kaytradamus’ crafty electro-jams and IDM. Standard yet harmless topics await fans, but the plus is the diverse variety of features that are offered. A few rappers, including Vic Mensa, Phonte, and Goldlink fast rapping on the love-basted “Together,” experimental cutting edge bands BADBADNOTGOOD and Little Dragon, and singers from both distant and recent memory ensure that no two guests sound the same.
Kaytranada is versatile and never gets too comfortable in any one musical style, but he has no doubt carved out a spot for himself in the hearts of chill, groovy music-loving new-agers. You have to be a fan of purely instrumental tracks going in. Kaytranada is confident to the fullest in letting his creations shine all by themselves, though it also leaves a door open for hip-hop heads to be frustrated with the album’s shortage of sixteen-measure, spoken word, rhyme verses, yet on the other hand it’s also not engineered to be a rap album. Still, 99.9% is appropriately titled since it’s a cool relaxing ride designed by and for real people, not the richest one tenth of one percent.
3 out of 5 stars