Experimental Music Love

February 15, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here

Filed under: Album Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 10:35 pm
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Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here

In an age where revolutions are more likely to be Tweeted than televised, 2010 may not be Gil Scott-Heron’s natural home. Even the way music is consumed in the 21st century is something alien to the jazz/blues legend and hip-hop godfather, urging the listener to forsake their Spotifies and shuffle modes and “Turn off everything that rings or beeps or rattles or whistles/Make yourself comfortable/Play your CD/LISTEN all the way through.”

It’s an issue acknowledged by Heron, albeit via a Smog cover, with the declaration ‘I’m New Here’, returning 14 years after his last record into a musical landscape near unrecognisable from his most successful 70s, when his voice inspired a people, and his style began a genre.

Turning full circle though, Heron may be ‘new’ but he’s still irrepressibly relevant, taking back from the music that owes so much to him. With ‘Me and the Devil’ veers into the dubstep dynamic of the darkest hip-hop, turning the Robert Johnson blues classic into creeping DJ Shadow rhythms. There are nods to the rap elite too along the way, with lyrics, samples and styles that bring to mind West, Nas and Kweli along the way – bringing modern styles to sharp retrospective.

For, though Heron never dwells on the past, he cites its importance, as evident on the ode to his upbringing that is the two-parted ‘On Coming From a Broken Home’ where a grandmother’s love defies the ‘ologists’ and academics. An ultimate sound both new and old, relevant and brilliant.

8.8/10

Release Date: 8 February

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