oddCouple is the moniker of Chicago producer Zach Henderson, who's worked with Jamila Woods, Chance The Rapper, Saba, Joey Purp, and more, and today he releases his new album Reflections, which features Jamila Woods, theMIND, Kweku Collins, Fatherdude, Elijah Blake, Melanie Faye, and others. It's an album that connects the dots between '70s soul, '90s R&B, modern hip hop and electronic beats, psychedelia, and much more, and oddCouple does it in a way that's both innovative and endlessly listenable. There's a little something for everyone on this record, and I highly recommend giving it a listen. You can stream it below.

Ahead of the album's release, we asked Zach about the music that influenced this album, and he picked six albums/songs, ranging from R&B visionaries Frank Ocean, Solange, and (recent) Tyler, the Creator, to psych-pop pioneers The Beach Boys, to current-day psych-pop torch-carriers Tame Impala, to the great 2000s rap duo Little Brother. Zach also told us a bit about the ways in which each one impacted him. Read on for his list...

Solange - A Seat At The Table

It’s all about vision, and imagery with this album. Solange paints the super vivid portrait of a Black woman’s life and perspective, but does it in this way that makes it immersive - I really wanted to push myself to paint pictures with Reflections and to world-build with the music. A Seat At The Table feels like an album built on thought-provoking statements and deep existential sentiments (thinking “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “Mad”) that are tied to a more complex nuanced perspective, which is the genesis of my project.

The Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations"

I genuinely love The Beach Boys and I love how weird and beautiful their music is - this one in particular. “Good Vibrations" is a masterpiece in balancing dynamics, textures, and tones, from section to section. There’s so much care, ingenuity, and creativity in every layer of arrangement and production. I looked to it for inspiration in finding the dusty, analog tones, and the unique arrangements I tried to incorporate throughout Reflections.

Tyler, The Creator - IGOR

A beautiful album about finding and proclaiming yourself. Honestly I could have picked any Tyler album because they all go as a set to me. The progression itself is an inspiration, but this album specifically was an opus of its own genre. Tyler mastered the tones of each sound, the space in and around records, crackle and dust, and placed each vocal intentionally. Every drum, every line, every synth sound is 100% Tyler in personality, and that’s what makes it so unique - that hits with me.

Frank Ocean - "Biking" & "Swim Good"

Again, I probably could have picked a bunch of Frank songs, but these specifically hit home during the creation. On “Swim Good” buddy is pouring his soul out and going through it, and on “Biking” he’s reclaiming his freedom and strength like he’s a child all over again. There’s this through-line of passionate and vivid songwriting, with drums that power his vocals... I wanted to bring both feelings to life in Reflections.

Tame Impala - Currents

The progressions and sequencing on all Tame albums, Currents in particular, are second to none. You never know what’s coming next as a listener, giving each song different moments to feel and experience. I love it and from the first time I listened to Currents, I started to see music differently. I started producing and moving tracks in nonlinear directions, with unpredictable transitions. The vocals throughout Currents tell a beautiful story too; tracks like “Eventually” really hit home with the arrangement itself bringing the feels. The crazy sequencing switch up in “Let It Happen” was huge inspiration for some of the trippier moments in Reflections.

Little Brother - The Minstrel Show

I bet you didn’t see this one coming!! But I love Little Brother, and always have. As much as they are the boom-bap “conscious rappers,” they were outside-the-box thinkers, and nothing was more unconventional than The Minstrel Show. The way they approached Black topics through a satirical network and wild characters.. *chef’s kiss*. It was the perfect mix of soulful commentary and world building, backed by some of the best 9th Wonder beats ever. They found a groundbreaking and witty way to approach topics that are deep and super personal for a lot of people. That’s pretty much the driving force behind Reflections.

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Stream Reflections here...

 

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