The music Aaron Valenzuela makes under the name Harriet Brown is stylistically miles away from what the club-kid image he affects might suggest—it has syncopated rhythms and loosely organic instrumentation rather than the four-on-the-floor beats and quantized MIDI tracks. He’s earned every single comparison to Prince that he’s accumulated during his still-young career, and much of his New Era EP has the confidently unhinged quality that helped define the Purple One’s late-’80s material, but it’s far from an exact replica. Like fellow pop auteur Blood Orange, he makes music that’s laced with nostalgia but not reliant upon it, drifting in an ambiguous timeframe somewhere between the near future and the recent past. More importantly, it’s just seriously really funky stuff.
New Era is out tomorrow on the Feel So Real label, but EW has an early look here.