Brijean – the Oakland-based duo of Brijean Murphy and Doug Stuart – announces their new album, Feelings, out February 26th on Ghostly International, and shares the lead single/video, ‘Day Dreaming.’ The forthcoming album and lead track draw on Murphy’s experience growing up in a family immersed in jazz, Latin, and soul music, and arrive after working extensively within Oakland’s diverse music scene and as one of indie’s most in-demand percussionists (Poolside, Toro Y Moi, U.S. Girls). In 2018, Murphy began recording songs with multi-instrumentalist and producer Doug Stuart, who shares a background in jazz and pop in bands such as Dougie Stu, Bells Atlas, Meernaa, and Luke Temple.
Album opener ‘Day Dreaming’ is a dynamic celebration of newness: the excitement in finding deeper understandings of yourself as you get to know someone, something, or somewhere new. The track is guided by a lush mix of charismatic keyboard chords, grooving bass lines, and radiant conga-driven rhythms. Produced by Stuart with vocals and percussion by Murphy, the track also includes Chaz Bear who engineered and played keyboard. The accompanying video was shot on an iPhone in Los Angeles by Murphy and Stuart and then transformed by flatspot ___• into an immersive and psychedelic world.
Brijean states, “We had been wanting to work with flatspot ___• for a long time – both circling around each other at shows, collectives, and studios for years and finally got to collaborate on this project. His work with Smart Bomb has been a visual anchor and inspiration for Oakland creatives.”
flatspot ___• adds, “I try to leave space in the editing process for the unexpected. It is essential for me, when using analog gear and video feedback, to allow the eccentricities of the electronics to bring out new character. I send the footage through the wires and circuits and experiment with different settings until the desired outcome reveals itself. What is revealed to me by the old gear is just as important, if not more than any plan I may have made.”
Following the duo’s first sessions, which resulted in the mini-album Walkie Talkie (released in 2019 on Native Cat Recordings), Brijean continued collaborating in Oakland, inviting friends Chaz Bear, Tony Peppers, and Hamir Atwal, who all would end up contributing to the album. “We improvised on different feels for hours,” says Murphy. “Nothing quite developed at first but we had seeds. We re-opened the sessions a couple months later, after returning from tours, and spent a month developing the songs in a little 400 square foot cottage.”
The leap from 2019’s Walkie Talkie to Feelings is marked by a notable expanse in range and energy. Brijean’s signature sound — a golden-hued dream pop tropicalia of dazzling beats and honeyed vocals — elevates with the addition of live drummers, strings, and synths. The album also finds Murphy fully trusting in her strengths, not just as a percussionist, but as a songwriter and collaborator. “Valuing myself as elemental instead of an ‘aux’ percussionist, and the undoubted support and talents of Doug, encouraged me to both make this project andcollaborate with many different people.”
Brijean wants you to move, physically, mentally, dimensionally; this is dance music for the mind, body, and soul. With Feelings, they’ve manifested a gentle collective space for respite, for self-reflection, for self-care, for uninhibited imagination and new possibilities. The album cultivates a specific vibe, a softness Murphy has come to call “romancing the psyche.” In nebulous and verdant worlds of hazy melodies, feathery hooks, and percussive details, Feelings simply want us to feel alive. The songs radiate in wonderful abandon and with a sense of devotion to the self.