Monday, September 05, 2005

left my mojo in my favourite suit

D'Angelo showed up during the mid-90s Nu-Soul gold rush. His first album, "Brown Sugar" (1995) had some great songs on it (like the title track) but was hampered by a generic R&B production - it just sounded a bit average and a bit of it's time.

It took D'Angelo 5 years to come up with the follow-up, the spaced-out blues of "Voodoo" recorded at Electric Lady Studios.

Yes, there is a heavy Marvin Gaye influence to the multitracked vocals, but there are stronger hints of the work of Funkadelic, Sly Stone and Prince to the whole album. It is truly psychedelic music, the sound of a man who has had his mind expanded one way or the other - the cover photos show D'Angelo involved in various rites; dancing like a loon, sweating buckets and, in one memorable shot, swinging a chicken around. "The Root" is the best track on a fantastic album.

D'Angelo - The Root

The lyrics are classic blues - needing to see a doctor because someone has left a stain on your heart. I love the way that the beat is rigid and sounds like it's right on the money, but it still swings, especially when it dovetails beautifully with the off-kilter Bass and Guitar parts played by Charlie Hunter.

Charlie is a jazz guitarist who records for Blue Note, and was the live guitarist for Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. He is renowned for playing a seven-string guitar, with the lowest string used to play the bass part - I'm not sure if that's what he's doing here but it's head-spinning nonetheless. D'Angelo plays all other instruments and handles all the vocals.

D'Angelo has been in the wilderness since the release of "Voodoo", recently spending time in rehab but there is talk of a new album soon. Questlove of the Roots (who also appears on "Voodoo") spoke in November of last year about D'Angelo's third album:
11 songs are done, most need lyrics, most are in the 7-9 minute range, all are epic as fuck.... there WILL be no radio friendly single...
...before going on to list albums that need to be purchased and studied in order to understand the album, including Funkadelic, Sly Stone, Miles Davis, Shuggie Otis, Beach Boys, Sex Pistols, The Beatles and Jime Hendrix.

Sounds great - I can't wait!

Visit D'Angelo fan site
Visit Okay Player
Buy Voodoo

No comments: