AM & Shawn Lee
Celestial Electric - EIGHTEENTH STREET LOUNGE
FILTER Grade: 83%
By Tamara Vallejos on September 7, 2011
AM, with his incredibly un-Googleable moniker, is an L.A.-based musician with an ear for the past. Shawn Lee, anchored in London, is a multi-instrumentalist with a willingness to explore any musical territory, from jazz to electronica, in his compositions. The two artists recently discovered each other and, thanks to the Internet, virtually crossed the Atlantic to create Celestial Electric. Lee laid down the beats—funky, slick and especially prominent in the album’s first few tracks—with AM tailoring the melodies before emailing back the goods for more of Lee’s flourishes. The combination of their open-minded efforts has led to an album that boasts playful throwbacks to the groovy ’60s and ’70s—like an electrified, piano-pop cover of Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ biggest hit, “Jackie Blue”—as well as a sashaying, quasi-Brazilian number (“Down the Line) and a trippy, moody, instrumental closer (“Callahan”). Celestial Electric can feel a little freewheeling and exploratory at times, but it also hints at great potential in future collaborations.