Reuben Vaun Smith | Da Cuckoo YaYa

Reuben Vaun Smith | Da Cuckoo YaYa


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Since he made his debut three years ago with sun-soaked first album Warm Nights, Reuben Vaun Smith has grown and evolved as an artist. His aims, objectives and musical output have changed, too – something that’s evident from the opening bars of his third full length, Da Cuckoo Ya Ya, which also marks his first appearance on Californian institution Ubiquity Records. Whereas the summery and colourful Warm Nights was the result of time spent teaching himself music and production, not to mention over a year of daily recording, Da Cuckoo Ya Ya was recorded in less than two months. It not only showcases Smith’s sharpened musicianship and his growing love of Eastern exoticism and wide-eyed psychedelia, but also features guest spots from friends (and fellow Leeds locals) Sakura Murakami (a guitarist who also featured on 2021’s Sounds From The Workshop album), bassist Nial Deravairere (on deliciously dubbed-out and hazy closing cut ‘Beams’) and vocalist Lucy Saddler.

While it shares some sonic similarities with its predecessors – not least a greater reliance on live instrumentation and plenty of audible nods towards Malian musical culture – Smith’s new set is his most confident and dynamic yet, with the Leeds-based producer consciously moving closer to the dancefloor whilst polishing his productions further and showcasing all he’s learned to date.

1 Da Cuckoo YaYa
2 Mama
3 Oumbadougou
4 The Waxing Gibbous Moon
5 Mali
6 Mintaka
7 Milano Caravan
8 No Puedo Esperar
9 Help Me Ride
10 Beams