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Kunzite is a duo who blend rock guitars, hip-hop beats, and bubbling electronics while adding soaring, dream-like vocals on top. Formed by Mike Stroud of Ratatat and Agustin White of White Flight, the project’s two albums, especially 2021′s Visuals, answer the musical question of what would happen if Ratatat started dropping acid instead of slamming PBRs.
The band formed long after the duo met while they were in their early twenties, when Stroud was playing in a band called Cherry, and White (then known as Justin Roelofs) was playing in emo-pop group the Anniversary. Stroud went on to form Ratatat, and after leaving the Anniversary, White started White Flight to further investigate his love of trippy electronics. In 2013, White teamed up with the other half of Ratatat (Evan Mast, aka E*vax) to form ABUELA, who released a single that year and an EP titled True Colors in early 2014. After meeting up with Stroud at Coachella in 2015, White switched allegiances and they started playing together under the name Kunzite. The duo combined their talents for guitar and production on a series of sessions recorded around the globe (India, California, Iceland) and at home in Hawaii and New York. Kunzite’s first album, Birds Don’t Fly, showcased a sound similar to Ratatat, only with White’s soaring vocals and a more psychedelic feel. It was released in 2018 by Sol Systems Records. Work on the duo’s second album, Visuals, began in White’s Hawaii studio and was finished off at Stroud’s barn studio in New York. Featuring a similarly large and expansive sound, the record also sported a guest appearance from Lee "Scratch" Perry on one track. It was released in 2021 by Lowly Records. ~ Tim Sendra