The oxymoron of the album title doesn’t allude to complexity. On the contrary, Kiefer advocates honesty in his art. Following along the lines of his previous work, Happysad can be seen as a journal in musical terms, situated at the intersection of jazz and hip hop. A longtime fan of J Dilla and Robert Glasper, the Californian gravitates towards contemporary greats of today, like Anderson .Paak, Karriem Riggins, Terrace Martin and Kaytranada.
Having first attracted attention through his collaboration with MNDSGN, here Kiefer opts for emancipation. As an experienced pianist, he allows his emotions to roam free, guided by his beats. It’s as nostalgic as one could ask for, totally relaxed, often tinged with optimism—a listening experience to suit every mood. As sampling can often be, it is far from a repetitive process. His written and improvised phrasing enriches the pieces, lending them a totally new texture.
While his music is self-sufficient, he strives for beat making in a traditional sense: stepping aside and letting others express themselves in his music. Sometimes, less is more.
Kiefer, Happysad (Stones Throw records)
Vendredi 28 Septembre 2018, Pop-Up!, Paris, France