Is James Acaster’s ‘Temps’ the most unexpected musical project of 2022?

You might know James Acaster from his appearances on shows like Eight Out of Ten Cats or his comedic take down of comedians who make jokes about transgender people, but he’s also behind one of the year’s most unexpected musical projects.

Temps, a 40-strong international music collective devised, curated and produced by Acaster. Ahead of an album due out next year they have shared first single no,no featuring Quelle Chris, Xenia Rubinos, Seb Rochford, NNAMDÏ and Shamir.

An innovative fusion of atmospheric alt rock, unorthodox hip hop and loose jazz time signatures, the track comes accompanied by a video featuring Acaster in his Party Gator guise visiting a theme park.

When the first UK lockdown was announced, Acaster found himself in the fortunate position of having recently released a book and a podcast about modern music, for which he’d interviewed countless musicians, all of whom he was a massive fan of. And he still had their email addresses.

So he spent the next two years sending tracks back and forth, between himself and his heroes, as they gradually discovered an album together. Genres were disregarded in favour of tightly-packed experimentalism and everyone was given free rein to do as they pleased then Acaster would cherry pick his favourite bits, “a DIY Gorillaz” being the methodic touchstone.

With each contribution the songs would morph into something new and uncalculated, informing what came next. A freeform rap might encourage a sax solo, a baroque guitar line might prompt a choir of recorders – whatever the track was asking for, it got.

This collaborative, transient approach led to the group’s name, Temps. During a time where everything felt weirdly temporary, they’d made something permanent and formed a collective, somewhere between a side project and a supergroup.

“I became completely obsessed with this project,” states Acaster, “it was all I focused on for two years and we ended up making my favourite thing ever. I hope people enjoy it.”

Take a listen to their first single. 

OIP Staff

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