Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Intrigue & Stuff - More new music I have.

Where to start given that this is about ostensibly UK - perhaps even English - music?  It is clear that music which is at least in part electronic is going to play a big part in trends in the UK in 2011 - the incredible achievements of Adele notwithstanding.
I'm going to start with the stranger option - from an artist much older than the others that I'm likely to mention - it has just been released and comes to us from Stockport via Berlin. In 2009 James Leyland Kirby released, in three tranches each of four sides of 12" vinyl, a stupendous collection of ambient, entirely lyric-free, electronica.
It was not mainstream - to put it mildly although it is now available on 3 x CD - but, for me at least, it fitted perfectly with the all-pervading mood of economic gloom and despondency at that time.
He has just returned with a follow up - which I believe is to be the first of a four-part collection, each on a single 12" - entitled 'Intrigue & Stuff - Part 1'. You have been warned. It also has award-winning cover artwork...

It is not likely to see you and friends - if you still have any after playing it - dancing around your vinyl player. In fact it might well be just as tentatively cheering as the post-Soviet glimmers of hopes of reform in Cuba; so don't think that it is going to be influenced by the likes of Buena Vista Social Club. If so much as a quiver in a Stalinist rictus is evident then that will have to count as progress.
Such considerations are probably not those that preoccupy the latest two widely-known frontrunners in UK electronic/dub-step-influenced music. My personal opinion is that Katy B will prove the winner out of these two in 2011 but their rivalry should prove to be for the good of all.
On A Mission - Katy B

Who You Are - Jessie J
I have listened to both albums in their entirety quite a few times now and my comment is not really to do with the music or its performance from track to track and artist to artist, although of course I have my favourites (on both albums) and I was immediately made to take notice by their respective lead singles.
Perhaps the clue is in the album titles - On A Mission appears to me to have a much clearer sense of what the artist set out to achieve while Who You Are has a slightly scattered feel - that of attempting to be something to as many people as possible.

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