the guest apartment: kele
  • THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2010

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Kele Okereke is a musician who has no problems casting himself in a variety of roles. The one most folks are familiar with sees him fronting Bloc Party: one of the most enthralling rock outfits to slip out of Britain over the last decade or so. With Okereke at the helm, the band have crafted a variety of aesthetics over the years, with each musical personality revealing itself via Bloc Party's three full-length albums.

With the band on a much deserved hiatus, Okereke's newest part is that of the solo musician...and he's got the album to prove it. Released last month, The Boxer finds Kele pursuing an extravagant new sound; one that's the product of a new fascination with samplers, synthesizers, and a well to do studio environment. The result is a robust collection of songs that seem the perfect companion to late night forays into electronic/dance culture.

And yet, when he arrived at The Guest Apartment last month, he did so with nothing...save his vocal accompanist, Lucy. The synthesizer and amp that were reserved for the session were apparently lost in the endless traffic grid of New York, with little to no hope for an on time arrival. Yet Kele, adventurous as always, took to the roof of The Guest Apartment, sporting nothing but the spare acoustic guitar we leave kicking around in the event of such emergencies.

The result is a session that presents Kele in yet another new role; one I imagine most folks have never seen or heard. The crooner, the singer-songwriter, the guy with the guitar: this performance takes unlikely steps towards this terrain, and in doing so, sheds Kele in an earnest and endearing light, stripping two of The Boxer's cuts ("New Rules " and "Unholy Thoughts") down to their most skeletal parts and pieces. Cut with candid conversation about his work, our latest segment of The Guest Apartment showcases a familiar star in an surprising new way. Don't fight the urge to encounter The Boxer in this exciting, yet unlikely new ring of performance. - David Pitz

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The Guest Apartment: Kele

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