The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind

by: Lando Chill

The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind is the second full-length by Lando Chill, a Chicago-born, Arizona-based rapper and poet (born Lance Washington) whose deeply personal songs draw from gospel, jazz, folk, and other genres. His 2016 debut, For Mark, Your Son, reflected upon his lifetime spent without his father, who died of a heart attack when Washington was four years old. Following the Madera Canyon EP, which reworked some of For Mark's selections with help from the live band Washington performs with, The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind (which was already in production by the time For Mark dropped) appeared in 2017. The album was chiefly inspired by Paulo Coelho's novel The Alchemist, with many of the song titles being direct references to the book, and the album similarly plays like a quest for self-discovery. While every bit as soul-searching and spiritual as Lando Chill's debut, the album is also more socially conscious, with verses about gentrification, police brutality, and the lack of a public voice for minorities. The album's innovative production branches off from the golden age boom-bap and post-Dilla mellowness of his debut, heading into more abstract, ethereal waters. Beats are often fractured and off-time, and there are tracks which slow the tempo down considerably, while Washington himself raps more aggressively. "O Almquista" contains floating guitars, swelling strings, and the faintest hint of a beat scraping along, while Washington sings and raps about laboring for someone else's profit. The two-part "Falou Com o Vento" is stunning, with smeared lo-fi synths and choppy, barely-together beats as Washington delivers some of his most upfront, emotional lyrics. As turbulent as much of the album seems, it ends with positive words of encouragement, as Washington states that "Love is that force that transforms us into something better." ~ Paul Simpson

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