Album of the week: Jamie Lidell "Building A Beginning"
I've been a big fan of Jamie Lidell ever since stumbling across him on (if memory serves me correctly) the Sunday afternoon of Glastonbury 2005. I was taking one of those festival strolls around the dance village, coffee in hand and nursing a 2 day hangover, with no real direction or plan.
I ducked into a random tent to see a guy wearing a dressing gown standing behind a laptop and mixing desk, along side another guy sporting some bizarre oversized white eyewear, controlling the visuals on the large screen behind them. I'll be honest. It was a very strange mixture of music. Techno mostly, but with strange soulful vocal loops (sung live them looped up). It was the looping that git me. I'd not seen that kind of thing before and it was stunning how he built up tracks loop by loop. I was hooked.
Not long after, he released Multiply which clearly demonstrated his two great influences: soul and techno. Ever since he has been looking to create a new middle ground that fuses those genres and has done so, in my opinion, as well as anyone. Sometimes it comes out as classic soul/funk (such as "Multiply", "A little Bit OF Feel Good" or Another Day but occasionally hitting that crossover mark on the nose with tunes like "Figured Me Out" and "A Little Bit More". His recent albums Compass (2010) and Jamie Lidell (2013) leaned more towards to electronic but for me never quote reached the quality and soulfulness of those first two albums.
"Building A Beginning" feels like a throw back to the more soulful sound of those earlier records. But it also shows his skill at bringing just enough of the electronic to the soul to create something exciting. For the soul purists there's plenty and for thos after some more interesting and electronic there are some highlights. Perhaps his previous two albums were him working out just what that sound is wants to make.
Jamie Lidell tips his hat to the likes of Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Stevie Wonder on this album but in a way that less plagiarism and more like a compliment. Here are my highlights:
Super happy, super catchy and one to get the feet moving.
I Live To Make You Smile
Another ode to his son, presumably but done in a way that's moving, not cheesy. Hints of Stevie Wonder in this one.
Me & You
Vintage Soul action.
Walk Right Back
A great example of his mastery of the techno/soul crossover.
Believe In Me
Deep and lush!
He's been touring the album recently and I managed to catch him at Koko in London, performing with The Royal Pharaohs. If you get the chance, go and see him. An amazing gig.