Funk is alive and well in the soul of Kaytranada’s new album, 99.9%.
The 23-year-old electronic music producer, also known as Louis Kevin Celestin, hails from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but was raised in Montreal. A renowned producer, he began his music career as a disc jockey at age 14. It was not until the following year that he began producing, when his brother introduced him to FL Studio, a music production software. At age 18, Celestin took the name Kaytradamus to begin his official career. Two years and two projects later, he became Kaytranada.
Since the beginning of his career, Kaytranada has released 13 projects and 41 remixes. His production credits include the ever-famous tracks “Girl” by The Internet, “Only Girl” by Kali Uchis featuring Steve Lacy and Vince Staples and “Involved” by Towkio featuring Vic Mensa.
Yet, these pieces pale in comparison to what Kaytranada has compiled for his first studio album, which was announced in 2014 and has finally made it to the ears of long-awaiting fans.
Let’s start with the cover art. Kaytranada could not have chosen a better visual to tie in with the sound of the album. The dimensionally abstract portrait of Kaytranada himself was created by Ricardo Cavolo, an artist whose work holds a lot influence from his hometown of Salamanca, Spain. Each single released from the album included a particular animated piece of Cavolo’s beautifully eclectic work.
Kaytranada does not waste a single second of the listener’s time with 99.9%. Starting with the opening track, a five-minute, 44-second long beat titled “Track Uno,” he embarks on a journey to fill every gap of his 15-track album with the perfect level of sound. The opening song is the perfect introduction for the tone he is about to set for the rest of the album; it is smooth and intricate in a simple way and just an all-around solid track.
AlunaGeorge and GoldLink teamed up for “Together,” a collaboration that seems both completely unsystematic yet perfectly matched. Their vocals add the perfect top layer on this go-go-style cake.
It is impossible to feel like anything less than royalty after hearing Anderson .Paak on “Glowed Up.” The song is a leveled and euphoric piece about being the best version of oneself. Following .Paak’s second album, Malibu, which featured a similar style of jazz-tinged R&B, this track is the perfect follow-up for his fans.
If you aren’t paying attention, you may not even notice the flawless transition between Syd Tha Kyd’s “You’re The One” and River Tiber’s “Vivid Dreams.” The funky synth in those tracks pulls the listener back to the ’80s simplicity and musicality. Together, they feel like a portal you unknowingly get sucked into and don’t want to leave.
Pointless interludes seem to be a thing of the past with 99.9%. Kaytranada, seems to have no interest in wasting your time. Every sound he puts in front of the next feels wholeheartedly intentional, and transitions between tones in the album seamlessly. It is just as easy to enjoy “Lite Spots” and “Despite The Weather” as any of the tracks featuring vocalists.
Perhaps the star track of the album is “Got It Good,” a jazz-influenced piece featuring Craig David, a British R&B singer with the perfect vocals to match the hollow flow of the song. The snare is perfectly timed to create a tempo that never inhibits the production.
Are all of these phenomenal tracks still not enough? You’re in luck. Kaytranada released a video game called 99.9%: The Game on his website prior to the album. It rewards anyone who beats it with a bonus track, “Nobody Beats the Kay,” which is not featured on the album.
Kaytranada seemed to know what he wanted to accomplish with 99.9%, and he created exactly that: a funky and incredibly well-composed album that transcends genres. He has created a series of tracks that establish an untouchable vibe for any kind of mood, and alone are remarkable pieces of art. With 99.9%, Kaytranada has placed himself and his music in a world of their own.