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The Seshen Flames and Figures

(Vinyl LP)

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Item: LDS57331

The Seshen is a San Francisco Bay Area-based seven-piece led by singer/lyricist Lalin St. Juste and bassist/producer Akiyoshi Ehara. Their forward-thinking sound combines synthesizers, drum machines, live percussion, and entrancing harmonies to create an unmistakable fusion of R&B, synth-pop, and electronic music. This chemistry is complemented by St. Juste's stirring vocals and soul-baring lyrics – the meditations of a self-emancipated spectator who explores worlds, both real and imagined.

St. Juste and Ehara are joined by five remarkable bandmates to create their multidimensional music: vocalist Kasha Rockland, drummer Chris Thalmann, keyboard/synth player Mahesh Rao, percussionist Mirza Kopelman, and sampler Kumar Butler. They take inspiration from across the musical spectrum; their individual influences range from recognizable artists (Erykah Badu, Jai Paul, James Blake, Radiohead, and Broadcast) to genres and eras that don't initially appear to fit together (hip hop, indie rock, early electronica, and 70's dub).

The band's second full-length offering, Flames & Figures, has been two years in the making and marks an evolution in The Seshen's distinctive sound. Narrated by St. Juste's lyrical stream of consciousness, Flames & Figures explores themes of femininity, power, illusion, and loss, as she draws on both her personal experiences and the world of her imagination. The result is an irresistible quest of self-discovery: a raw and earnest journey to overcome the distance between people, a rejection of artifice, and a relentless search for the true self.

Echoed by an austere piano and light supporting pulse, the title track's gentle vocals intone, "Winter comes, but it doesn't stay." As the band joins, the light opening strains blossom into an enormous, lilting wave of sound. The intro to "Colors Collide" begins with hazy mellotron flutes, which call to mind the psychedelia of an early Os Mutantes song, and then opens into The Seshen's signature full, driven, layered rhythms. A balance of hope and longing come together in lead single, "Distant Heart." The lyrics explore a sense of loss felt when someone fades from your life, while its infectious bassline and wash of synths beg the listener to dance.

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