Shad

TAO

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The sixth record of the JUNO Award-winning Toronto rapper, TAO is about deep connection, wholeness, and the various threats to it. “Each song on the album focuses on a different part (or parts) of our humanity that we’ve been losing touch with.” — Shad

Over the course of five records, the JUNO Award-winning Toronto rapper has used an array of old-school tools to tackle modern problems, addressing the indignities...

Over the course of five records, the JUNO Award-winning Toronto rapper has used an array of old-school tools to tackle modern problems, addressing the indignities and absurdities of our world through a shapeshifting mélange of boom-bap breaks, dusty soul samples, jazzy improvisation, and 10-dollar words rolled into thousand-dollar rhymes. But after weaving his myriad musical and philosophical interests into a socio-political song cycle on 2018’s Polaris short-listed A Short Story About A War, Shad began building his sixth record, TAO, from a much simpler concept: an image of a circle. Though, in true Shad fashion, he saw something much more profound within its basic round boundaries.

I’m still very much an album artist—I need some kind of overarching idea to really get me going as a writer,” Shad says. “And the thing that inspired this record was this image in my mind of a circle, but it’s getting fragmented, and then those fragmented pieces start floating away from each other. That felt to me like a picture of what’s happening to us individually and collectively. We tend to view ourselves as being sort of composed of different parts—our work-life being a major one these days, also our bodies and our physical health being another, our spiritual side, our relationship to the natural environment being yet another, our relationship to the past and to our inner child, etc. It seemed to me that what was once a more integrated whole self has become fragmented into these various pieces, and each of those pieces seems to be in some kind of crisis. That’s been on my mind for a while.

To summarize, TAO is about deep connection, wholeness, and the various threats to it. TAO refers to the Chinese philosophy of naturalism and is an acronym drawn from CS Lewis’ highly prescient 1943 book, The Abolition Of Man, that discusses The Tao. The TAO acronym is also found in The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff, another very influential book for Shad during his writing process. “The books were written something like 70 years apart but totally connect on the topic of preserving our humanness against certain threatening ideologies and technologies,” he explains. “Each song on the album focuses on a different part (or parts) of our humanity that we’ve been losing touch with.

Product Details

WAV Files
16-bit/44.1k
MP3 Files
320 kbps
Label
Secret City Records

Production Credits

Recording Engineer
Crispin Day
Additional Engineering
Matthew Johnston / David Plowman
Mixing and Mastering
Dan Weston

Musicians

Adèle Trottier-Rivard
Vocals / Synths / Percussions / Drums / Congas / Backup Vocals
Nicolas Basque
Guitar / Bass / Drum Programming / Synths / Whistle / Backup Vocals
Marie-Christine Trottier
Flute
Lévi Basque
Bells
Noé Basque
Bells
Mili Hong
Drums
Mischa Karam
Reading
Eugénie Jobin / Helena Deland / Robin Love / Safia Nolin
Backup Vocals I
Carmel Scurti-Belley / Camille Delean / Emma Broughton
Backup Vocals II

Composition Credits

Out of Touch
Shadrach Kabango / Rian Hamilton
GOD
Shadrach Kabango 
Work
Shadrach Kabango 
TAO Pt 1
Shadrach Kabango 
Slot Machines
Shadrach Kabango / Mah Moud
Slow
Shadrach Kabango 
Body (No Reason)
Shadrach Kabango 
Storm
Shadrach Kabango / Rian Hamilton / George Elliott Clarke 
TAO Pt 2
Shadrach Kabango / C.S. Lewis 
Black Averageness
Shadrach Kabango / DJ T Lo  
Garçon
Shadrach Kabango
TAO Pt 3
Shadrach Kabango