Image via Jimmy King

Image via Jimmy King

Earlier this week, it was revealed that David Bowie had been listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar while recording his upcoming album, ★ (Blackstar). Speaking with Rolling Stone, Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti said that the album has benefitted from Lamar’s disregard for genre norms: “We loved the fact Kendrick was so open-minded and he didn’t do a straight-up hip-hop record. He threw everything on there, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do.”

Now Bowie’s saxophonist Donny McCaslin has revealed an even more surprising influence—Sacramento’s Death Grips. Speaking with Uncut, McCaslin said, “I was so inspired by how much music and literature David’s checked out; he is constantly looking for new things, to listen to and to read.” He continued, “For instance, when describing one of the first songs we recorded, ‘Somewhere’, David referenced the Boards Of Canada song ‘Alpha and Omega’ as an approach. We’d talk about Death Grips, this band in California [too].”

It’s sounding like Blackstar is gearing up to be an interesting album indeed, returning to that genre-defying brand of musical exploration he built his name on in some incredibly exciting ways, especially if the lead single is anything to go by. Blackstar is due out January 8.