29 Sep 2023

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K'Shore - Album Review: Grief Sessions

14 Sep 2023 // A review by Daylen Schmied-Pape
I had no idea what I was getting myself in to.

When I agreed to review K’Shore’s 5-track album Grief Sessions, I believed I would be reviewing a short hip-hop album.

What I didn’t realise is that not only would I be taken on one of the most profound sonic journeys I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing, but that I would be tasked with dissecting not just music - but a vulnerable expression of some of the most painful emotions that we as human beings can experience.

Perhaps I should have been tipped off by the title.

Describing this album as simply hip-hop, or jazz, soul, or R&B, or any one genre at all simply does not do justice to the soundscape that K’Shore has created. Seamlessly blending influences from contemporary, and classical sources, Grief Sessions manages a timeless sound that would find itself at home in any decade, past or future.

K’Shore’s extensive training as a drummer, and a musician is evident through the intelligently crafted rhythms and melodies showcased in this project.

The vulnerability displayed through the lyrics sits with the listener long after the album is done and begs for you to listen again.

Here We Are Feat. Lepani stands out as what I believe could easily be a charting single, with its funky organ groove grabbing attention from the first moment it plays, catchy chorus with light-hearted lyrics singing that “it’s a new season, and baby I’m feeling so fine tonight” and incredibly clever lyricism in the verses, that paints a picture of kids making youthful mistakes in the summer, and touches on themes of healing from past trauma, but also on emotional repression, which we find so commonly in men. This song is a Summer anthem for a generation seeking self-betterment.

Grief Sessions, the track for which the album is named, speaks openly on substance abuse, and its role in the experience of grief, which this project centres on. Its angry delivery, layered over dark jazz beats captivates as much as it frightens. This is undoubtedly some of the best rap coming out of New Zealand today.

This album belongs in the same vein as jazz-rap heavy hitters like Anderson .Paak’s Malibu, and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Its only shortcoming might be the length of some of the tracks. Both Grief Sessions, and Maybe Feat. Lepani and Hales push the 6-minute mark, and I have to wonder if they will be able to find purchase with the Tik Tok generation - but only time will tell if the captivating sonics and storytelling can prevail over today’s diminished attention spans.

Grief Sessions is one of the best albums I’ve listened to this year, and I expect it to put both K’Shore, and New Zealand on the world stage.

Listen for yourself here.

About K'Shore

Off the back of a "magical debut", (Hypemedium) that received critical acclaim and international radio play, the Auckland-born and raised "Beast from the East" continues to ride the wave of momentum and excitement surrounding his unpredictable, palatable and sumptuous sounds.

Passionate about collaboration and working with a plethora of homegrown artists, every new song by K’Shore is an unpredictable amalgamation of influences and styles. Each new release is an opportunity to embark on a journey into the unfamiliar.

Expect to hear many of your favourite artists, and potentially many you’re unaware of, work in tandem to create a sound that reflects the massive melting pot that is the beast’s hunting grounds.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for K'Shore


Grief Sessions
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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