Bad Colours – “Always With U” LP
Bad Colours is back with his sophomore album, “Always With U,” out on Bastard Jazz Recordings in November, 2022. The London-born, Maryland-raised, Brooklyn-based DJ, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist – aka Ibe Soliman – continues to build on the well-deserved acclaim from his 2021 debut LP, “PINK,” as well as a slew of standalone singles and collaborations with the likes of Shabazz Palaces, Jarv Dee, and Stas THEE Boss.
“Always With U” sees Ibe further develop his talents as a songwriter and producer, while maintaining the signature balance of banging dance music and dense bars that he’s quickly becoming known for. The album expands Ibe’s role to a collaborator, band leader, and all-around star-of-the-show; it’s certainly still a dance record, but there’s also so much more. Live instrumentation accompanies every track, with the notable contributions of Nigerian bassist Akin-Alade Ogo heard across the album, as well as the saxophonist Carras Paton on the jazzy, upbeat house number, “Heartache + U.”
The lead single, “Maybe I Should Move to LA,” sees the proudly Brooklyn-based Bad Colours contemplate a move out West – an idea that came about following a trip to LA for the 20 Years of Bastard Jazz anniversary party (which he DJed) in November last year. Bright pads, a thumping four-on-the-floor beat, and a catchy vocal line make it the perfect accompaniment to a top-down joy-ride up PCH. The album’s second single, “You Don’t Know,” features frequent collaborator and PNW legend Jarv Dee, as well as KAS and JVDE who have both been making waves in the Brooklyn scene (KAS for his work with Grammy-nominated producer Harmony Samuels featured on BET, and JVDE as the lead-singer of alternative band Blind Benny). “You Don’t Know” turns up the heat with Jarv and KAS trading dense, rapid-fire verses over a high-tempo beat and detuned vocal; the kick cuts out for the bridge, replaced by syncopated keyboard stabs and JVDE’s stacked vocals. “You Don’t Know” is high-energy hip house at its finest: Super catchy and irresistibly dancey.
The two singles are emblematic of the rest of the album, which largely alternates between vocal and hip house, sometimes jazzy, other times touching on R&B or dancefloor influenced pop. Dave Giles II and Cor.Ece (who recently both contributed to Beyoncé’s chart-topping “Renaissance” LP and Honey Dijon’s “Work” single) feature on “Flow,” while Toribio (of the acclaimed Brooklyn band Conclave) provides vocals for “Do Better;” both tracks are on the mellower side, reminiscent of late-90s New York mid-tempo garage. Rising artist N.O.V. features on the second track, “Ready,” rapping over a bass-heavy beat; Marcus Harmon makes a return after appearing on “PINK,” with smooth vocals on the romantic “Come Closer.” Aforementioned JVDE can be heard throughout the album, contributing to “You Don’t Know,” “Flirtation Avenue,” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.”
While Ibe’s career has spanned over a decade – as both a DJ (alongside the likes of James Murphy, Mark Ronson, and Q-Tip) and producer (for Kendrick Lamar, Faith Evans, Keyshia Cole, and Rick Ross, among others) – the Bad Colours name only came into being in early 2020, with the debut LP, “PINK,” being released in February, 2021 on the Brooklyn tastemaker label Bastard Jazz. By tapping into his deep network of artist friends, Ibe compiled a treasure-trove of vocal samples, snippets, sketches, and fresh instrumental loops into a beautiful debut record that touches on hip-hop, house, and left-field electronic, while remaining danceable.
A slew of singles throughout 2020 and 2021 included “Feelin’ Like,” featuring Jarv Dee, has become an underground hit, popping up everywhere from Best Buy ads, Hulu’s “Woke,” celebrity Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell’s playlist, and even as a soundtrack to the Mayor of Madrid’s TikTok video. Most recently, “Feelin’ Like” had a prominent placement in the #1 Netflix film “Spiderhead,” directed by Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy;” “Top Gun: Maverick”) and starring Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and Jurnee Smollett. The breakout success of “Feelin’ Like” further led to a collaborative EP with Jarv Dee, titled “BLAKHOUSE,” which saw additional features from fellow PNW natives Shabazz Palaces (“Clouds,” featured in Hulu’s “Shoresy”) and Stas THEE Boss (“Black Skin”). This year, Bad Colours dropped the early Summer banger “Hit The Breaks,” and served as the musical director for the influential MADE New York festival, a two-day fashion, music, and arts event presented by Public School NYC and Paypal, that saw performances by Nas, Heron Preston, and Bearcat among others.
“Always With U” is a testament to Bad Colours’ versatility as a producer and artist, which has allowed him to bring together such a diverse group of friends and collaborators. Yes, the house and hip-hop roots remain, but “Always With U” shows an evolution of the Bad Colours sound into masterfully crafted dancefloor sounds. It’s a truly stunning follow-up from an artist undoubtedly on the rise. The album is out on all platforms, via Bastard Jazz Recordings, November 11th, 2022.