Above Top Secret is the trio of Toronto sound powerhouse Ayo Leilani (of the operatic soul project Witch Prophet, whose shows I still can’t make it through without tearing up), together with Brandon Valdivia (Not the Wind, Not the Flag, Mas Aya) and designer, artist, and producer SunSun. Together, the trio gels with infectious chemistry.
“Nah” is a ruthless tribute to dropping your baggage and tripping light through the universe while never looking back, and director Federica Ronchetti’s DIY psychedelics and sunny day aesthetics bridge the song’s otherworldly reverberations to its chilled out confidence.
“We’re doing just fine without you,” the band croon through the dark sunglasses necessary for a summer jam this fiery, then rap cooly “you dug the grave, now lay in it.” Ashes, it’s 35 degrees and all haters are ashes. The snake reference also carries an eerie timeliness. What do ATS know that we don’t?
Earlier this month Above Top Secret dropped a self-titled 14-track album featuring the devastating “BANG,” a track addressing missing and murdered Indigenous women (featuring fellow Toronto whirlwind creator Lido Pimienta), and their less political but still biting track about ghosting, “GHOST” (featuring Tee Fergus). You can listen to the whole thing below.
This band is one of the most interesting sound projects coming up in the city. Go forward and feel the heat.