First things first, let’s meet the band. Erin Rioux is a New York producer specializing in the psychedelic side of dance music. Normal enough. And Stephon Alexander is a Dartmouth professor and celebrated theoretical physicist specializing in the cosmology of the early universe. Gulp. To be fair, the latter also plays sax, keys, and percussion, but their project Stephon Alexander & Rioux is indeed meant to be a merging of science and music.
Before you go on, watch them jam above. We’ll wait. Good? Okay.
The pair’s album, Here Comes Now, is out August 4 via Connect and aurally offers a wild mix of “cosmic jazz, electro funk, and mutated digital disco,” as the label perfectly puts it. And as the first taste thereof displays — “A Brief History of Time,” streaming below — these songs also incorporate spoken word courtesy of the Trinidad-born super-genius himself. “We are nothing more than stardust, my brethren,” Alexander says partway through this wild and wooly dance track. In addition to a tribute to Ornette Coleman (“Ornette’s Vortex”) and a guest-appearance from Arto Lindsay (“I Guess We’re Floating”), expect the album to deliver mind-expanding screeds on dark matter, string theory, and quantum mechanics.
Do you need any more excuses to hit play? Ladies and gentlemen…