by Thomas Bedward September 18, 2021
A multidisciplinary visual artist and musician from Kilkenny, Paul Mahon, better known by his musical moniker of Tanoki, has collaborated with artists as varied as Linkin Park, Lisa Hannigan, Rodrigo y Gabriela and many more, but for his new single, he’s elected to work with the one-and-only Tay Edwards.
Titled ‘It Has Begun’, the new track is the third single to be taken from Tanoki’s hotly-anticipated new album and sees him trading verse and sharing creative space with the celebrated North Carolina rapper. A unique piece, it’s a song that exists on the edge between hip hop, electronica, and jazz, and between fear and adoration of technology.
From the beginning, Tanoki had envisioned the track as being technological, explaining, “After sitting on the instrumental for a while I went looking for a rapper and after some faffing / delays and some ghosting I had the idea of turning to Fiverr to see what might happen. And the crazy thing is Tay was the first person I contacted, and I couldn’t have been more blessed with highly experienced and locally loved North Carolina rapper.”
"We exchanged, in total, about six emails. I sent him the track on Monday. He had it back to me by Thursday. And he nailed it. Just like that. I couldn't believe it."
Fear and wonder are both gently captured by the track, which features swooning brass, along with intermittent guitar licks, a human touch in a sonically electronic world. Tanoki's production has nods to the controlled chaos of Run The Jewels or Hudson Mohawke, as well to the organic, post-rock vitality of Redneck Manifesto. Influenced uniquely by his experience creating visual stories with music through video, 'It Has Begun' showcases Tanoki's knack for cinematic song creation. The track evolves from start to finish, with hardly a loop in sight.
Along with the new single, there is a stunning vertical music video, realised with painstaking detail by Tanoki himself, entirely digitally. “I chatted with Tay about the concept, and he just quickly got it. I told him, think Twilight Zone... and he frowned. He hadn’t seen it. Then I thought for a moment. ‘How about Black Mirror?’ And he lit up. He loves that show, it turns out. And we were off.”
Edwards' words and flow move authoritatively, like bars from a prophet of the dark future. His delivery is confident, and his tone varied and creative, without sliding into melodrama. Tanoki becomes energetic when talking about Edwards' performance on the track. A favourite line stands out for him: “My kid just learned how to ride a bike / From looking at YouTube and I’m just like / Why can’t you wait let me teach you right”
“Technology is beautiful. Stunning. Without it, two artists from across the world never would have made this song. But that same song is also a warning about that power.”
‘It Has Begun’ is produced and mixed by Tanoki, and performed by Tay Edwards, with mastering by Darragh Nolan. It marks the third single release for Tanoki, ahead of his anticipated debut album, 'File New', slated for release in Winter 2021.
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