The Paul Institute, the musical project spearheaded by brothers Jai and A.K. Paul, has released a new batch of recordings today. Dubbed the Summer 2020 EP, it’s more of a mixtape featuring a range of Paul affiliates. It’s not the massive outpouring Paul fans have been hoping for since Jai made his comeback last year, but on first pass the six-song set is as wonderful as you’d hope, a futuristic deconstruction of classic R&B, funk, and left-field pop.
Summer 2020 leads off with “Be Honest,” the new single A.K. released last week, then moves along to tracks by Hira, REINEN, Ruthven, Fabiana Palladino, and Pen Pals. There are some other intriguing names in the credits. For instance, Jai worked closely with Palladino on “Waiting,” which features her legendary father, Pino Palladino, on bass as well Joe Newman on guitar (not the Joe Newman from Alt-J, a rep for the Institute clarifies). Hira’s “Unreal” features British comedian Asim Chaudhry’s fictional character Chabuddy G from the mockumentary series People Just Do Nothing.
A statement from A.K.:
I’m really happy we’re releasing new music with Paul Institute this summer. It’s been a while coming and the last couple of years have been perilous at times for PI, particularly because of a legal fight that set us back. So besides it being sick music, to return with such a strong set of releases feels like a vindication of our rights as artists too.
In addition to the new EP, the Paul Institute aired a special on Beats 1 today called “Magical Thinking.” They’re also asking people to once again register at their site for updates: “welcome to the paul institute. previous enrolees must re-enrol due to new privacy laws.” Stream Summer 2020 below, where you can also find separate visualizers for three tracks and song-by-song notes.
PAULINST0009DS _ A. K. Paul – “Be Honest”
“This is a song about giving up control for a moment, allowing yourself to feel something beyond what you’ve known. It’s a song about liking something you didn’t think you would like, feeling something you didn’t think you would feel – and as you come to your senses being faced with the prospect you’ve only half lived…”
PAULINST0012DS _ Hira – “Unreal”
“The winter of 2018 gave the ice to this song. Lighted in the glow of a person who no longer shines inward, this song was composed in the hashish of an individual who becomes abstract in search of some superficial superstition…”
PAULINST0013DS _ REINEN – “Shadow Knight”
“Shadow Knight is a ritual ceremony, a synchronic chorus of chaos; It’s a twisted night odyssey as seen through the cat’s eye, with his ability to transmute in body and mind for the prowl. The groove surreptitiously moves with his stealth mission through the supernatural, from the back streets to the eTHERjUNGLE. This ominous opera is an homage to my majestic Chartreux, Bluey Dragon Twist via the freaky lens of CatLady3020.”
PAULINST0011DS _ Ruthven – “Have You Decided?”
“It’s narrated in the form of a heart-on-your-sleeve kind of romantic gesture. The narrator doesn’t feel like they deserve love, but in this case, believes they’ve found the real thing. The other is very present throughout the song but stays silent despite giving ‘affection’. Though the song has a romantic feel, the declaration of love remains unanswered.”
PAULINST0010DS _ Fabiana Palladino – “Waiting”
“I wrote Waiting a few years back. I was playing my old Teisco shark-fin guitar a lot and wanted to write my own version of a new-wave guitar tune. I was listening to Joe Jackson, Squeeze, early Police… and then I heard ‘When You Were Mine’ by Prince – a perfect mix of that new-wave sound with the funk he brought to it. Prince’s song is about a love triangle but mine is from the perspective of a broken android left behind in a destroyed city. She’s sick of waiting for her human lover to come back for her. She’s the voice of my own real-life frustrations with that feeling of endlessly waiting for things, both mundane & extraordinary, to happen… for work to pick up, for boys to text back, for life to start!”
PAULINST0014DS _ Pen Pals – “Dynasty”
“When rival values create rivals. Contempt is rising, delusions charge anger, and jealousy is in denial. Dynasty is simple, and its voice preaches against exceeding simplicity”. Pen Pals is the newest recruit to the Paul Institute, a culture fusion between the jungles of Bermuda and streets of Heathrow; a duo comprising Keen Collard and Mahir Mistry. Recorded in its entirety over video conference software, ‘Dynasty’ celebrates the origins of both artists, their fibre optic friendship, and the international sound clash.
Summer 2020 is out now on XL/Paul Institute.