The 9-track R&B collaboration Blue Hour, a joint venture from Atlanta producer Hazi and Houston recording artist Noel, wouldn’t be possible if a mutual friend didn’t introduce the two musicians to each other. An instant familiarity with one another and compatible approach to music allowed Hazi and Noel the gravity required to make emotionally self-aware ballads like “Alone” and ethereal hip-hop-informed songs like “Satellites.” For an album that materialized without even creating an album in mind, every track seamlessly integrated into the next.

On the album, there are the subtlest Bollywood-influenced rhythms inspired by embedded show tunes from childhood. Noel sounds just as good as any singer working in R&B today, whether he’s laying verses or harmonizing melodies. Hazi supplies production that is at once smooth and ever-changing, providing the right shifts for Noel to employ different flows.


“Some tracks naturally flowed that we completed in thirty minutes. There were others where we hit a creative block and had to revisit. Overall, it was a learning experience that taught us to put our egos to the side for a bigger goal: great music,” Noel told Kajal.

Blue Hour is streaming now.