There was a couple-week stretch at the end of last summer when I saw iLoveMakonnen perform three times. The first was in a cramped, rowdy Manhattan nightclub called Westway; Elliott Wilson, A-Trak, and Mike WiLL Made-It were all in the crowd. A week or so later, he made a surprise cameo at MoMa PS1's final Warm Up of the season, dropping in on a lineup that included Doss, Evian Christ, Sophie, and Skrillex. The third—and weirdest and maybe best—was at Silent Barn, a DIY arts and music space in Bushwick, where he put on a secret late-night show with his Phantom Posse, the vaguely genre-less collective founded by Eric Littmann, aka Steve Sobs, in 2012.
Littmann remembers the night fondly. "The only promotion was word of mouth, but by 12:30 the place was totally packed," he told FADER over email. "We played through some of our favorite Posse songs and dedicated part of the set to a solo Makonnen performance. I think for the most part, people were pleasantly surprised to see this different side of an artist they thought they had all figured out." Today marks the release of the new Phantom Posse full-length, Home, which was recorded in Littmann's NYC apartment, with various elements coming in over email. The album, which features a wealth of contributors, will be available as a free download soon, but for now, you can stream the whole thing below (Plus, check the complete list of Posse members and info on the record's release show).
"I think Eric, maybe without knowing it, found this certain creative shade," said Chris Masullo, aka Nicholas Nicholas, who contributed keys, synths, and vocals to the record. "We all kind of enjoyed how we looked in that light." Makonnen, though, only had a few words to say about Home, and his work with Phantom Posse in general: "It's my favorite type of music to make." The record itself is collection of slow, atmospheric pop songs that are as free-flowing as the hyper-collaborative spirit of the project would suggest. My favorite is probably "I'm Stranded," a moody—but ultimately optimistic—spoken-word ode to being broke in New York, with no way to get home. It's alright, because I've always wanted to be here, Makonnen intones over Littmann's shimmery guitar chugs. So I can't really be mad, because I don't really feel stranded. I'm at home now.
Phantom Posse is:
Eric Littmann (aka Phantom Power aka Steve Sobs)
Renee Anderson (1/2 of Private Life)
Cale Israel (aka Cherry Tuna aka member of Cult and Leper)
Nadia Hulett (1/2 of Nineteen)
Chris Masullo (aka Nicholas Nicholas)
Tom Beddoe (aka Cheetah Lamp)
Makonnen Sheran (aka ILoveMakonnen)
Tyler Andere (Creative Director of Portals)
Jay Kineke (aka Moonlight Mischief Club)
Sandra Seminara (our resident artist)
Home Release Show:
1/19 - Silent Barn - Brooklyn, NYC