New Sounds: Listen to The Roots ‘undun’ Album

Have a listen to The Roots' first concept album, and arguably best work to date.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

While The Roots' new album undun doesn't arrive until Dec. 6th, listeners can get a sneak preview in courtesy of NPR, today!

The sounds truly are unique this time around from the dynamic collective that moonlights as Jimmy Fallon's house band. Opening with ghostly effects and a quickening pace that leaps into a downright gorgeous architecture around Black Thought's gimmick-free storytelling and remarkable discipline. This one's going to win some deep awards. Mark my words.

But first, listen.

The 39 minute album is arranged by drummer and producer Questlove,, whose recent projects include the "Philly Paris Lockdown," a reinterpretation of the works of the French impressionist composers Erik Satie, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Undun will be the Roots’ first concept album, detailing the life of Redford Stevens, a man who died at the age of 25 in 1999. 

In a recent interview with Spin, Questo said that Sufjan Stevens played piano for the closing track on the group's upcoming concept album undun. As he tells Spin, the Roots actually named undun's central character Redford Stephens after a Sufjan song from Greetings From Michigan.

Questlove told Spin:

"We've always loved the song 'Redford' from Michigan. So we close the new album with a cover of 'Redford'. We stretched it out into this four-part movement. Part 1 is Sufjan at the piano performing it. And then Part 2 is a string quartet that we had interpret it. Part 3 is myself and D.D. Jackson, who is an avant-garde piano player. He's probably one of the most dangerous pianists — I don't know how he doesn't have carpal tunnel now. But he just destroys, literally, destroys the piano. The final movement, which ends the record, is essentially the beginning of the story. But it's the last thing you hear. It's a very powerful piece of work."

undun arrives on Dec. 6th. Check for our review next week!