s.al, fka safari al, is an artist originally from Milwaukee, but now based in Minneapolis. He got started over ten years ago, and he’s been part of the Ruby Yacht crew. We just heard from him this past March, when he dropped two short projects, more than human? and sound water. Now he’s come right back with a full-length album, the butterfly effect.

For this project, s.al is teaming up with Irish producer aux phoenix, a musician who got started in the mid-2010s, first playing bass in the Auxilary Phoenix Trio before focusing more on his solo production career. He notably won the first Ruby Yacht Beat Battle, which explains how he got on s.al’s radar. When you listen to the butterfly effect, you can see why these two might want to work with each other. s.al has always been an artist who blurred the lines between singing, spoken word, and rapping, along with bringing in elements of indie rock and post rock to his hip hop. As it just so happens, aux phoenix is great at blurring these musical lines as well, crafting this soundscape that brings in these elements of indie rock, post rock, jazz, and experimental electronic music under the umbrella of hip hop. This opens things up for s.al on the mic, who then feeds off that energy and delivers some really heartfelt and beautiful songs where he floats between these different deliveries while crafting these narratives that weave together the abstract and poetic with the deeply personal and heartfelt. It all comes together to make a really unique album that you really need to sit with and just absorb all of the interesting and emotional music that these two are laying down. Then you need to give it a moment to sink in, then run it back to catch all of the stuff you missed the last time through.

the butterfly effect is one of s.al’s strongest projects to date. He has amazing chemistry with aux phoenix, and together they have crafted a really beautiful album that doesn’t fit neatly into a box. It packs an emotional punch, and the musical and lyrical work take the creativity to another level.