Some of the greatest artists in the 20th century have been multi-instrumentalists – cue Prince, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Todd Rundgren and Paul McCartney. That expansive understanding of composition, technique and sound changes how artists approach musicians has inspired Leland Whitty’s approach on his new record Anyhow. BADBADNOTGOOD’s Leland Whitty has also worked with artists including Charlotte Day Wilson, Kali Uchis, Kendrick Lamar, Ghostface Killah, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Earl Sweatshirt, and Kaytranada.
Whitty’s current solo project is a departure from the improvisation focused collaborative band that has made his name. Anyhow began in 2020 after Whitty had finished working on several film score projects including Disappearance at Clifton Hill (Albert Shin) and Learn to Swim (Thyrone Tommy). That focus on narrative fed into his own work, which combined elements of cinematic composition with jazz and rock like he has created in the past.
His latest album Anyhow features Whitty on guitar, synthesizer, woodwinds, production, composition and strings. Narrative is built into each of Whitty’s tracks in some way. Rather than a specific story, he drew from photographic or cinematic sources. The aim was for the production and arrangement to imply the kind of structural narrative found in jazz improvisation. Whitty’s compositions emerged from voice notes and short loops, for example guitar riffs that he would feed into Ableton and flesh out into larger arrangements.