When Harrison (Harrison Robinson) began working on his third album in his modest Toronto studio in 2019, the producer and composer felt a strong desire to honor his artistic roots. “I knew I wanted to just make what I thought was cool, regardless of it being cheesy,” he says of the piano-centred compositions that would become Birds, Bees, The Clouds & The Trees. “Chick Corea had a quote along the lines of ‘you have to find what sounds beautiful to you’ and that really struck a chord with me.”
At only 27, Robinson has accomplished more than many artists twice his age, all while not being afraid to take himself too seriously. He got his start making beat tapes and putting sample-heavy songs on SoundCloud, where he quickly found a following, and a global community of like- minded producers and collaborators including Ryan Hemsworth, Star Slinger, and more. With two critically acclaimed albums to his name, 2016’s JUNO Award-nominated Checkpoint Titanium and 2018’s Apricity, his versatility has lead to him producing for some of Canada’s most boundary-pushing artists including al l i e, Daniela Andrade, DijahSB, Sean Leon, and TOBi. On top of this, he’s also composed music for video games (LOUD on Planet X) and more recently, commercials for NERF, Play-Doh, and more.
Growing up in a musical household, the self-taught producer fell in love with acts including Japanese producer Nujabes and American jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi (best known for his work scoring A Charlie Brown Christmas and other Peanuts specials), and sought to capture the same warmth and childlike sense of wonder with Birds, Bees, The Clouds & The Trees. Previously released singles “Around You” and “Like When We Were Kids” both clock in under two minutes, but are expansive and playful, full of twinkling keys, gently shuffling drums, and bright melody loops.Despite being created in a state of isolation, tracks like the funky “inthecoupe” (inspired by Robinson’s brief ownership of a 1991 BMW convertible) and the meditative “A View From The Sky” beg to be played with the windows down and the sun streaming in.
Like his previous two albums, Birds, Bees, The Clouds & The Trees sees a handful of guests seamlessly stepping into the producer’s technicoloured world. “Outta This World” pairs Robinson with Toronto singer and rapper TOBi (the two first teamed up on the 2019 single “Beige”) for a lighthearted, soulful ode to art, music, and the pursuit of romance, inspired by their mutual love of R&B. Elsewhere, the jazzy glide of “Bump” evokes vintage J Dilla with a fitting assist from veteran emcees MED and Guilty Simpson (their first reunion since 2006’s The Shining), while “Float” with Kadhja Bonet, and “Blue Sky” with Nanna.B leave plenty of room for the honeyed vocals to breathe.
To help complement his artistic vision, the producer enlisted the help of illustrator Elijah Anderson, whose single artwork recalls classic Blue Note covers and classic Saturday morning cartoons like Schoolhouse Rock!. The pastoral album cover comes courtesy of Tokyo-based illustrator Kento IIDA. “It’s the happiest I’ve ever been with the visual aesthetic,” says the producer. Taken as a whole, Birds, Bees, The Clouds & The Trees is an assured and joyful statement from a young artist evolving and finely honing his craft. Or as Robinson himself puts it, “It’s the music that I dreamed about making as a kid.”
Publicity Contacts: Zoe Hines & Jaclyn Ulman