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Kaytranada Gets Back in the Groove on ‘Timeless’

The Haitian-Canadian producer picks up as if the pandemic never happened, with help from Childish Gambino and Anderson .Paak
Kaytranada (Photo credit: Jivi Emir)

Kaytranada – Timeless 
(RCA)

Kaytranada’s third album, Timeless, picks up as if the pandemic never happened, as if the idea of a Pride month without dancing were inconceivable. Rushing through 21 tracks that rarely exceed three minutes, the Haitian-Canadian groove god sounds like he absolutely could not wait to get back in the studio and bang out a third barnburner to join 2016’s 99.9% and 2019’s Grammy-winning Bubba. 

Though it’s obviously the product of countless studio hours and phone calls to illustrious guest stars, the album’s momentum is so relentless, its energy so infectious, that it somehow sounds like it’s being made in real time. Timeless is packed with a Met Gala worth of features, from funk polymaths Anderson .Paak and Childish Gambino to cult pop singers Tinashe and Ravyn Lenae. All jump in and out effortlessly, as if delivering their turn on the mic at a freestyle session. 

Kaytranada’s signature beat, halfway between the pulse of house and the drunken lope of J Dilla, rarely lets up. Even when he puts Charlotte Day Wilson in front of cascading baroque-pop textures on “Still” or Channel Tres over breakbeats on “Drip Sweat,” these curveballs seem to emerge naturally out of the music, as if they’re rare-groove deep cuts seamlessly integrated into a DJ set. If he were to acknowledge the existence of hyperpop or Brazilian funk or whatever else has dominated the dance-music discourse on the other side of the pandemic, Kaytranada might’ve ended up with a more interesting album—still, it’s hard to imagine he’d end up with a better one. 

Far from a diminishing return, Timeless is the sound of a master getting back into the groove and finding his muse burning bright as ever. GRADE: A-

RCA