AS TOLD TO G/D THYSELF
When LA-based saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington started making 2018’s Heaven and Earth, he knew it was more than just a double album. The Kendrick Lamar collaborator’s follow-up to his hugely ambitious triple-length debut, The Epic, adds elements of funk, kung fu flick soundtracks, and fusion to his signature style of grandly orchestrated spiritual jazz. “The music felt very visual,” Washington tells Apple Music. So before the record was completed, he reached out to cinematographer Bradford Young (Selma, A Most Violent Year) to start developing ideas for what would become the experimental short film they would direct with Terence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, and Marc Thomas—the five of them forming the collective now known as The Ummah Chroma. "It would be almost like there was a fourth part to the record,” he says, referring to the two sides of Heaven and Earth and its compendium EP, The Choice. Like those recordings that provide its soundtrack, As Told To G/D Thyself is inspired by “the journey to understanding that you can shape the world into what you want it to be,” Washington says. But as an imperative, it invites all kinds of interpretation. "I wanted it to feel loose enough that people could create their own story within the story. It's kind of like pieces of a puzzle that you can rearrange in different ways.” Experience the film now, and explore its music below.