free download: roman gianarthur melds d’angelo & radiohead on his mash-up covers album ‘ok lady’ #soundcheck

September 15, 2015

Who knew that the perfect hook for D’Angelo’s R&B classic “Lady” was Radiohead’s “All I Need?” Wondaland wunderkind Roman GianArthur knows. On his latest mash-up covers EP OK Lady, the singer/producer explores the middle ground between D’Angelo and Radiohead for one of the rare mash-up records that’s not only clever, but demands relistening.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor


For starters, this isn’t a mash-up, really. GianArthur re-interprets the songs of D’Angelo and Radiohead, playing most instruments himself and handing vocal duties on all but a masterful “No Surprises.” That frees GianArthur from the producer’s dilemma of imperfect instrumentals and acapellas forcing creative compromises. Instead he’s able to explore the disparate influences through his own lens. The sensual beats from “All I Need” and “Lady” invite the comparison but as the EP progresses, his interpretive lens gets increasingly and compellingly blurry. The melding of “Be Here” and “Paranoid Android” is less obvious, but in hindsight: of course.

It should be no surprise (bad pun alert) that the standout track is the Janelle Monáe duet “NO SURPR:SES.” My all time favorite Radiohead song turns into a stunning duet between Janelle Monáe and GianArthur, giving GianArthur room to flex his guitar skills before morphing into “Greatdayindamornin’ / Booty.” The EP closing-tracks “H:GH&DRY” and “SEND:TON” mark two different approaches to D’Angelo’s “Sent It On.” “H:GH&DRY” is a comparatively straight-forward interpretation of “High & Dry” (albeit with a neo-soul beat), weaving “send it up / send it through / send it right back to you” through the chorus. “SEND:ITON” marks the lone track where the emphasis is placed on the D’Angelo’s melodies over Thom Yorke’s, with Radiohead’s “Nude” treated as a bridge. It’s a testament to GianArthur’s creativity as a producer and performer that the whole set feels like far more than the sum of its parts. It may be built on the pieces of D’Angelo and Radiohead, but it’s a creation that more than stands on its own.