While DC downtempo trailblazers Thievery Corporation always dabbled in dub, 2011’s Culture of Fear LP saw the outfit clearing away extraneous influences like trip-hop and sophisti-pop to focus on the reggae-sourced genre, enlisting their usual slate of guest vocalists to drive this soft pivot home. Among those artists was a vocalist named Ras Puma—who has since rebranded as Puma Ptah—a young songwriter finding his footing while also building a relationship with some powerful allies which he’d maintain up to the present day.
Speaking of the present day, today Puma is once again teaming up with Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton for a pair of soul-tinged and dub-influenced singles packaged together on a limited edition green vinyl 7-inch. “Farewell to Midnight” and “Front Line” mark the first new recordings from Hilton since he ironically released an EP titled Present Past and Future which marked a return to his trip-hop roots. “I love working with Puma—he has an incredible voice, he writes beautiful lyrics, and brings such a good vibe to every performance,” Hilton shares of his collaborator. “His background is in roots reggae, but he’s a real soul singer. ‘Farewell to Midnight’ is my favorite vocal performance by him, and I think we made a really great sounding record.”
“Eric’s solo music is a breath of fresh air,” Puma Ptah adds. “It’s hard—especially as an artist—to be hopeful in these times. But I’m becoming hopeful again. Life seems significantly more stressful post-pandemic, everyone’s mind seems to be full of anxiety. Suffering is symbolized by midnight; midnight is gonna come no matter what, you just have to be ready for it. Things can fall apart or get dark, but good outcomes can come from that.”
Check out both new singles below, and pre-order the 7-inch here.