Previously known as SOS, the duo rose to prominence back in 2014 after accruing a fervent following in their native Pacific Northwest and on SoundCloud with the release of their acclaimed debut album. They’ve since rebranded as Black Grapefruit for the release of All My Relations, which also spawned the stand-out singles “Omygod” and “End.” After a brief stint in Brooklyn following the release of SOS, Randa Smith and Brian Dekker escaped the city, settling into a rural house in upstate New York where pre-war means pre-War of 1812; in rooms where people were born and died, All My Relations came together. To start the album they first had to break old habits in the heat of a Lakota sweat lodge and the dirt of their garden.
In researching the sacred feminine for the album’s creative direction, Randa looked to her ancestors for inspiration, drawing on her family tree, especially her matrilineal heritage of medicine and shamanism, to create her own version of divine blackness. This exploration led her to create her own practice centered on water healing and aromatherapy, growing the same herbs and brewing the same teas and tinctures her grandmother used to make on the Caribbean island of Grenada. To achieve the ambitious sounds of their new album, the duo synthesized Randa’s mother’s West Indian roots and the gospel of her father’s American South. Exhilarating, headphone-filling vocal harmonies and syncopated percussion are present, and Afro-Caribbean polyrhythms anchor tracks with impassioned vocal samples and lush string arrangements.
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