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Brooklyn native Taja Cheek makes dreamy, genre-blurring music as L'Rain, reflecting on grief, change, joy, and resistance through a collage-like mixture of soul, psychedelia, gospel, musique concrète, and numerous other genres. First appearing in 2017 with a self-titled debut partially created in reaction to the passing of her mother, L'Rain returned in 2021 with Fatigue, a similarly experimental work exploring the emotional effects of personal and societal change.
Born and raised in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, Taja Cheek taught herself bass and played in several musical projects in high school. She studied at Yale, where she served as music director at campus radio station WYBC and founded Anti-Fling, a series of underground concerts. Moving back to Brooklyn after graduation, she became a curator at several well-known New York art institutions, including MoMA PS1. She continued playing in bands, and started working on solo material in 2015, performing several instruments (including guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion) and manipulating tapes and samples. Cheek’s mother, Lorraine, passed away during the production of her first album, and she named the project in her memory. The self-titled debut L'Rain was issued by Astro Nautico in 2017, and a deluxe edition, with remixes by artists such as Eartheater and Glasser, was digitally released the following year. L'Rain’s second album, Fatigue, was recorded at multiple studios in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, incorporating parts played by 20 musicians as well as voice recordings of Cheek and her friends from throughout her life. A meticulously assembled work that emotionally processes change while asking the listeners what they’ve done to change, Fatigue was released by Mexican Summer in 2021. ~ Paul Simpson