David D’Angelo observes the natural wonder of the world around him and creates breathtaking electronic soundscapes as a way to express and pass on what he sees to those whose hearts are open and minds are clear of the clutter of modern life. The San Francisco-based producer and multi-instrumentalist has travelled all over the world from clubs in New Orleans to music festivals in New Zealand as he offers up his musical synthesis for anyone within earshot.
D’Angelo’s versatility as a musician was evident from a young age, with him being exposed to many different musical histories as he was growing up — specifically classical music from his mother and Peruvian stylings from his father. Combining these disparate influences with strands of hip-hop, neo-soul, and R&B, he has developed a synth-addled aesthetic as complex as it is uncategorizable. He is currently getting ready for the release of his new EP, In My Own World, which is due out sometime in the near future.
Not just coincidentally released on Earth Day, his latest single, “Priceless Commodity”, is a cautionary tale of trading the green around us for the green in our pockets. Collaborating with rapper MayDay, the track documents the consequences of misusing the Earth for our own selfish interests, as spacey beats, subtle synth atmospherics, and MayDay’s voice tumbles through vicious couplets about natural disasters one moment and Rick Sanchez the next. Among other things, the song details the catastrophe of water scarcity, painting a bleak portrait of a future where water has become rare and people struggle just to find enough to survive.
The accompanying video, directed by D’Angelo and Shay Stifelman, finds MayDay offering verses while standing in a creek and imploring everyone to think of the harm we’re all doing to our world without even realizing it. There are images of excess and disregard for our surroundings — all buffeted by visuals of the desert and hills above Los Angeles. During this pandemic, as we find ourselves cordoned off from nature, it seems fitting that this video is shared today, as we should always be aware of and acknowledge our connection to the Earth and its limited resources.
“The Earth is truly priceless, yet it is being treated like a commodity and destroyed for the short term gain of an elite few,” D’Angelo explains. “Our natural world is more valuable than any monetary figure we could ever assign it. This song is a cry to all the people who feel hurt, injustice, and anger well up inside of them the more our collective home is torn apart. This is for our youth standing up for their future, indigenous peoples worldwide protecting land, water and air, people of color fighting against systemic injustice, and all the people bearing the burden of climate change disproportionately.”
He continues: “Being part of the solution takes action, not just awareness. 25% of all proceeds from ‘Priceless Commodity’ in the first year will be donated to Gravity Water, an initiative providing international communities with rainwater filtration systems. I chose MayDay to help tell this story because his appreciation for the Earth is as honest and deliberate as his word choice. I never expected this song to be released while in the midst of a global pandemic, yet living in this time is exposing deep inequalities while highlighting the need for a clean environment more than ever.”
For more information on Gravity Water, or to become a donating member, visit gravitywater.org.