Sault’s Untitled (Black Is) is the soundtrack for the 2020 revolution | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Sault’s Untitled (Black Is) is the soundtrack for the 2020 revolution



Sault are an anonymous UK trio who create music grounded in the tenets of Black rights and Black freedom, and there’s never been a better time than now to hear their message. Last year they put out their debut album, 5, and an almost immediate follow-up, 7, and this summer they released their third record, Untitled (Black Is)—like its predecessors, it came out on UK label Forever Living Originals without the fanfare of a typical promotional campaign. Though the band omit biographical information from their liner notes and website, the metadata buried in the digital versions of these songs reveal that they were written by Forever Living Originals labelmates Dean Josiah Cover (aka UK producer and singer Inflo) and Cleopatra Nikolic (better known as singer Cleo Sol). And if the voice on tracks such as “Black Is” sounds familiar, that might be because it belongs to fellow Forever Living Originals artist and Chicago native Melisa Young, aka Kid Sister, who’s listed in the metadata as a writer on six of the album’s 20 songs. Sault announced the release of Untitled with a short statement on their website that suggests the album is the first in a series and provides context for its release: “We present our first ‘Untitled’ album to mark a moment in time where we as Black People, and of Black Origin are fighting for our lives. RIP George Floyd and all those who have suffered from police brutality and systemic racism. Change is happening . . . We are focused.” The moving, protest-ready march “Hard Life” and the Afrofunk-infused “Bow” (featuring guest singer Michael Kiwanuka) make it clear that the revelatory jazz-soaked soul music on Untitled is a call to action. Sault have released a new album of freedom songs that we should all sing together as the revolution plays out during this Amerikkkan summer.   v

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