BADBADNOTGOOD are sometimes dubbed "alt jazz," a quick and easy tag, but not without truth. It was at a jazz program at Humber College in Toronto where the band came together and discovered a mutual affinity for hip-hop. Two early albums, BBNG and BBNG2, reinvented well-known rap songs as post-bop and lounge jams, connecting the two great American institutions from the opposite direction as jazz-head rap artists like Guru and Freestyle Fellowship.
Since the release of their debut LP in 2011, BADBADNOTGOOD has always been associated with modern hip-hop culture, releasing Gang Starr covers, working with Post Malone producer Frank Dukes, and collaborating with artists like Mick Jenkins. But somewhere along the way, the band became less known for their rich and rubbery soundscapes and more for their beats and rhythms. On their fifth LP, Talk Memory, BADBADNOTGOOD reconnect with their early jazz-fused influences for an album that shows the trio impressively finding the groove in the most intricate and intensive manner.
Thanks in equal measure to their technical precision and canny collaborations with Tyler, The Creator , Ghostface Killah and the late, great, MF DOOM , BADBADNOTGOOD came to leave an indelible mark on contemporary alternative hip hop during the 2010's. It's this mark that has made the group's ultimate return such a keenly anticipated event. BADBADNOTGOOD have been on something of a protracted absence since the release of IV all the way back in 2016 and whilst they've contented themselves with a string of production credits and the occasional feature, their output has been pretty sparse when compared with their work between 2010 and 2016.
BADBADNOTGOOD have made a name for themselves as the go-to jazz band for listeners looking to hear a jazzy take on their own genre; whether it be hip-hop, trap or indie. 'Talk Memory' though, album number six, sees BBNG in full jazz mode, a nine-track opus of gorgeous musical exploration on their own terms. Their work with non-jazz musicians and appearances on indie festival stages however means that they keep things orderly, structured, and away from self-indulgence; album opener 'Signal From The Noise' may be the longest track on the record, but its jittery and unrelenting apex is tightly bookended by a sombre and simple melody Mogwai would be proud of.