Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Three fantastic future soul songs (and one old school one)

I have four tabs open on my browser, three of which contain a sophisticated, innovative slice of futuristic soul. The other one has a new song by Prince. They're all worth a listen...

1) Solange Knowles - Cash In
A slinky, soaring love song, this is Solange's first new material since last year's groundbreaking True EP. It takes a while to get going, but when the harmonies kick in at the 2-minute mark, all the hairs on the back of your neck will go "ping".

Cash In is the last track on Saint Heron, the alt-R&B compilation Solange has curated for Saint records. For some reason, it's not available on iTunes or Amazon in the UK - but you can download it from Fairshare Music, which gives all of its profits to charity, so you can feel good about spending your £7.99 even if the rest of the album is rubbish (NB: it isn't).

2) Mapei - Don't Wait
Stockholm's Mapei mixes Djembe drums with sitars and doo-wop finger clicks on this propulsive love song ("if it wasn't for you, I would be on my own"). For the first three minutes her voice is fed through a vocoder (sounding very much like Imogen Heap's Hide And Seek) and then, suddenly, she breaks into a Double Dutch skipping chant.

On paper, it shouldn't work. In your ears, it sounds incredible.

3) Neneh Cheery - Blank Project
After 16 years away, Neneh Cherry is readying a new solo album for next year. One track features Robyn - but sadly we can't hear that yet. Instead, this is the title track. Produced by FourTet, you're in for some simmering electrojazz and a chorus that seems really slight, then sticks in your head for the rest of the day.

OK, it's not quite Manchild but then what is?

4) Prince - Da Bourgeosie
Prince isn't kicking the ball as far forward as the other artists on this post - but this is a fantastically funky old-skool studio jam, nonetheless. Reminiscent of goofy, spontaneous Vault tracks like Cloreen Bacon Skin and Movie Star, Prince seems to be making it up as he goes along - riffing a lyric that about a "bearded girl at the 'caba-ray charles'" over a delicious Paisley guitar riff.

"No mammals were harmed during the recording of this track," noted Prince on his 3rdEyeGirl Twitter account, shortly after giving the song away as a free download. What a nice chap.

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