I remember when I first saw The Seshen at the Phono Del Sol music festival. Their sound is so resounding; stumbling upon them was one of those happy accidents that I can’t imagine my life without
People have described the Seshen as “electro-soul” and “spacey synth-pop”, but I do truly believe that they will always be one of those bands whose sounds are so unique that they cannot be captured by a single genre. They derive influences from genres such as traditional West African music, R&B, Hip Hop, nu-gaze, and electronic music to create their own powerful beats and sounds. The Seshen carves out its it’s own sonic journey out of these fruitful genres to create something that is truly unique and irreplicable.
Their newest album has been two years in the making and seems to be a soulful undertaking towards capturing the whims and caprices of living in this chaotic world. They so meticulously layer their samples, beats, and vocals that it mirrors the complexity in the listener’s life, and that makes for deeply poignant music.
The album starts off so goddamn strong with “Distant Heart.” What initially got me hooked to the Seshen was the emotional marriage between the use of traditional African beats and sampling of more modern synthetic sounds. The echo behind the vocals is faintly reminiscent of “Africa” by Toto, while still possessing the forward-thinking experimentation of FKA twigs and the dreamy tone of Beach House. The lead singers, Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Orr, compliment each other in an electrifying and pulsating way. There is no one strong element to their seven piece band. Each piece is as critical to the next in creating depth and complexity in their music, and that’s best exemplified by “Distant Heart”; You don’t consciously notice all of the individual sounds, but altogether, it creates this larger, cathartic whole that makes your mind pirouette to their sounds.
The reverberations of the samples and the syncopated beats create this sonic background for their vocals that is rare in today’s music. It’s hard to find a song like “Distant Heart,” for example, that layers sounds and tracks that work together so well and expresses something deeper than itself. What’s unique to the Seshen is how multifaceted their music is: each sample and layer of music within their seven piece band speaks to something greater when joined together. “Distant Heart” seems to speak to something bigger and deeper than what we’re often given in music. It seeks to expel feelings buried with you. In fact, you find that within each drum hit, parts of you are liberated. But at the same time, “Distant Heart” is a catchy song that you can dance, study, or run to. It’s incredibly versatile. Their monochromic sound in “Distant Heart” is a faint reminder of why we are drawn to music in the first place: sheer captivation and emotional rumination. From the beats that draw you into the vocalizations that pluck your inner chords, “Distant Heart” is only the beginning of what can only be considered a masterful album.
Listen here. Image from here.