25-year-old multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Miles Shannon, known professionally as Cassowary, has released his self-titled debut solo project via Fat Possum.
Cassowary is full of fun, memorable left-turns and plenty of impromptu jazz breakdowns. It’s an infectious artistic introduction that’s vibrant and full of life. It could have been easy for Shannon to get lost in all of his influences; track inspirations range from Los Angeles’s thriving beat scene circa the Low End Theory era, jazz fusion and throwbacks to the days of funk. But instead, he manages to expertly blend them all together while making his vocals float above it all.
Cassowary premiered his first single, “She Funked Me”, back in November of last year and continued to showcase his versatility with a music video inspired by the barren wasteland of dating apps with “Belt Notch!”. He played the keys and saxophone on the track. On the instrumental “Moth”, he added a modern twist on traditional jazz elements, focusing on his saxophone once again to deliver an addicting groove.
Then on the mellow and jazz-infused “Starlight”, Cassowary programs lo-fi drums as the perfect basis for something you’d find on the lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to YouTube channel until he cuts through with dream-like vocoded vocals.
“I wanted to challenge people, sonically,” Shannon said of his debut album, “I want people to go in there and be surprised… I really wanted to make a record that I would listen to. I want people to listen like a musician, with that intent. It’s clearly not just a pop album with pop songs. I wanted to challenge people, sonically. I want people to go in there and be surprised.”
The young artist also premiered his latest music video for “Cyclical” alongside emcee Tyler Cole with the album launch. There’s hints of traditional 90s West Coast hip-hop here, but the track never goes full on g-funk thanks to his airy half-whispered melodies. It’s full of confidence and charisma.
Watch the music video above and stream the full LP below. For more of Cassowary, check out HYPEBEAST’s NEW GEN: Spring 2020 edition which features the multi-instrumentalist and other new voices to pay attention to in the coming months.