The Roots have released their latest album, undun, today, marking a couple of firsts for the group.
undun is the first album with bassist Mark Kelley, who replaced Owen Biddle earlier this year. The release is also the group’s first concept album, “retelling of the short life of of Redford Stephens (1974-1999)”.
Before joining the Roots, Kelley performed with Meshell Ndegeocello, Christian McBride, Jason Moran, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton and others, and the band says he’s “a super cool dude”
For undun the group’s focus has shifted as the band evolves in their approach to music and recording.
“At this point in our career we’d like for our work to have a unifying theme, and an experiential quality,” said drummer ?uestlove. “We’ve been intentionally making our albums shorter in length so that they can be experienced as a continuous work. The music is band-oriented with an eye on the moody cinematic. As a DJ, I am the King of playlists, but I don’t want our albums to feel like a playlist or a mixtape for that matter. We want to tell stories that work within the album format and we want the stories to be nuanced and useful to people. Undun is the story of this kid who becomes criminal, but he wasn’t born criminal. He’s not the nouveau exotic primitive bug-eyed gunrunner like Tupac’s character Bishop in Juice… he’s actually thoughtful and is neither victim nor hero. Just some kid who begins to order his world in a way that makes the most sense to him at a given moment… At the end of the day… isn’t that what we all do?”
The band has released a free companion iPhone app for the album. Check that out on the App Store.
Preview and download undun:
undun Track List:
- Make My
- One Time
- Kool On
- The OtherSide
- I Remember
- Tip The Scale
- Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou)
- Possibility (2nd Movement)
- Will To Power (3rd Movement)
- Finality (4th Movement)