Coming off his last, Nashville-insprired, countrified solo album Lazaretto, Jack White has apparently decided to flip the musical script almost entirely with his latest project Boarding House Reach. Not only has he spurned some of his famed, archaic recording techniques in favor or — gasp! — Pro Tools, he’s also decided to introduce several new, hip-hop flavors and textures into this album as well. The most obvious example of this is the song “Ice Station Zebra,” which has a frenetic, almost A Tribe Called Quest vibe to it, filled out as it is with steady, plodding drums, and an off-kilter organ and piano harmonies.
Speaking to Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich on his Beats 1 show It’s Electric, White revealed the song’s genesis, and how it was originally intended for none other than Hov himself, Jay-Z. “A couple years ago I had worked on a few tracks with Jay Z we were going to do an album together just never culminated and we didn’t finish,” he explained. “That was something I played drums piano guitar and bass on as an idea for him to maybe spur him on to inspire him and do something.”
While White has been roving around in recent days, playing small, intimate gigs ahead of Boarding House Reach’s debut this Friday, because of his stringent, anti-phone policy, little footage of his new stage show has leaked out. Fortunately, for those hoping to catch White live ahead of his upcoming tour, his album release show at Brooklyn’s Warsaw will be streamed live in its entirety on March 23 over on Twitter.
Check out White’s latest single “Ice Station Zebra” above.