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Frank Ocean Drops Gauzy New Work, 'Chanel'

Frank Ocean at the White House in October 2016.
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Frank Ocean at the White House in October 2016.

During his Blonded radio show on Apple's digital radio stream last night, Frank Ocean dropped his first new music since the release of Blonde last August with the gauzy, contemplative "Chanel." Also, "Chanel." And "Chanel." An hour of "Chanel."

In the song, Ocean jumps off on the Janus-like logo of the titular French fashion house — "See on both sides like Chanel" — a duality present across his output, the sound of which weaves between velvety elegance and scuffed shoes on ragged concrete.

Throughout an hour of his show, Ocean played several alternate versions of "Chanel," including a slightly chopped-and-screwed take with a guest appearance from the always-narcotized A$AP Rocky, calling to mind Kanye West's The Life of Pablo, which West pruned and shifted behind the scenes well after its release. Ocean put that creative meiosis front and center here, like a conductor leading slightly different orchestras. (At a time when our art is more often than not mediated by mutable, copyable bits and bytes, why chase permanence?)

Regardless of new music from the mercurial star, Ocean's Beats 1 radio show is a fantastic listen. The man has sterling taste that ventures wide; composer Mary Lou Williams and the cloudy, avant beats of Manchester's Andy Stott both have a place here. Hear the episode below.

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