Obey City returns to LuckyMe this spring with Merlot, an EP that finds the Brooklyn producer (Sam Obey) both intensifying his palette and amplifying his music’s proportions. Last year’s Champagne Sounds EP, which the label calls “a primer” to his colorful, funk-infused style, threw together DX chimes, slap bass, trap hi-hats, jazz brushes, and whack-a-mole vocal samples into a fizzy mix that sounded as indebted to Jan Hammer as to club music. With Merlot, he moves closer to something like full-on R&B. The synths are as buzzy as ever, and the guitar solos can be just as proggy, but the drums are deeper in the pocket, and the spotlight falls squarely on his vocalists: Kelela, Anthony Flammia, 1-OAK, Oliver DaySoul, and Flatbush Zombies.
Obey City and Flammia will be debuting his new live show at the Warp/LuckyMe showcase at SXSW this week; in advance of the party, he’s unleashed a VIP mix of Champagne Sounds‘ “Fallin'” that serves as a bridge between the two records. Flammia’s voice is pushed front and center, the funk has more bite, and harps and synth-flutes bubble up from deep in the mix; even the Rototoms sound way more, uh, rotary. Just like a good merlot, this one’s got serious legs.
Hear the song in full below, and click here to RSVP for the Warp X LuckyMe SXSW Showcase on Wednesday, March 12 (from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.) at the Empire Control Room and Garage, featuring Future Brown, Jacques Greene, Jeremiah Jae, Kelela, Lunice, Obey City, Sophie, the Blessings, DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn, Gobby, James K, Aquarian, and more.