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Between projects like An Illustrated Mess, CoCec and whoever else he may be working with, Cecil Tso has been working on a new solo album aimed at life, death and grief.

The 27-year-old hip-hop musician/producer says his first album If We Were Gone had an intimacy and maturity to it that he wanted to let stand alone. As such, his new three-song EP Prayers, under a new moniker Whatever Cecil, will be released Oct. 5.

Tso says the name is a way “for people to know me, while being able to make fun of myself.” Driven with wordless beats, atmospheric and ethereal, Prayers maintains a somber undertone.

“After moving back to Flagstaff I experienced a lot of death,” Tso says. “I lost two grandparents, my friend Jake [Hoyungowa] and my dog over the course of a year. That took a big toll on me mentally, and physically which I'm still trying to work through. During that grieving process was when these songs started to make sense together. The EP plays out like my own grieving process.”

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On the EP’s second song, “Fires,” he says, “To me it's slowly starting to feel active again. I'm still fragile, and emotional, but more able to function day to day despite the fact my spirit isn't all there.”

Listen to “Fires” by Whatever Cecil:

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