Premiere: Bo Keeney – “Up In Smoke (SpectraSoul Mix)”

“And if I die tonight, I will not be afraid/And no I will not cry or try to hold it back in vain…”

Pointless genre-blending has grown increasingly tiresome as Logic Pro and Soundcloud have made it increasingly possible for wannabe innovators to jam together sounds no one asked to be combined into new subgenres that probably should remain nonexistent. That’s not to say “don’t experiment! don’t blend genres.” More so it’s a reminder that, much of the time, so called “genre-defying” music arrives largely without demand for such defiance, a product of wanton tinkering and sonic collisions.

With a voice reminiscent of a more delicate Alex Clare (and occasional hints of Fiona Apple in his inflection) and a sensibility that recalls Guero-era Beck, singer/songwriter/producer Bo Keeney’s blend of folk, soul, hip-hop, and electronics is one that feels as natural as it is broad, a well-mixed brew of sounds and styles that ends up if not quite far greater than the sum of its parts, certainly a fulfilling product. Single ”Up In Smoke,” a collaboration with producer SpectraSoul, bears a satisfying thump and darkness that draws on the influence of the Dust Brothers, pointing to the promise of Keeney’s particular genre melting pot. Keeney’s Versus EP–the artist’s second release–comes out on 8/26.