Album: Jamie Lidell
Friday 10 June 2005
On previous solo work such as 2000's Muddlin Gear and in his Super_Collider collaborations with Cristian Vogel, Jamie Lidell has essayed a sort of fractured electronic funk music in which his impassioned soul vocals are treated to just as many digital alterations and disruptions as the glitch-electronica which furnishes the backings. The results have been both fascinating and frustrating, offering sometimes thrilling glimpses of genuinely innovative future possibilities for pop, but almost perversely confounding those possibilities with his determination to attack the music on a structural level, throwing beats and melodies off-kilter until a song has all but dismantled itself.
What, then, has prompted the change behind Multiply, an album which eschews his earlier experimentalist attitude in favour of a more straightforward approach involving proper instruments, settled song structures, and mostly untreated vocals? Where the likes of Sun Ra and Squarepusher influenced his previous work, the touchstones for this project are clearly Prince and earlier funk masters such as Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder. The burbling clavinet and urgent, biting vocal recall the latter on "When I Come Back Around" - although Wonder's smooth, natural grooves were never as cluttered and jagged as this.
The title track shifts from a neat little African-style guitar intro into a swampy Southern funk groove that recalls the Muscle Shoals' heyday. "I'm so tired of repeating myself/Beating myself up," sings Lidell - then ironically proceeds to repeat the phrase "so tired" over and over, like Al Green on "Beware". But he's obviously enthused about his new direction, claiming "New me's coming through/Gotta get myself together" in "Newme". Elsewhere, "Music Will Not Last" is a kind of electronic doo-wop funk, while "What Is It This Time?" indulges a slower, piano- and organ-driven R&B enquiry.
Lidell is most clearly indebted to Prince for the falsetto soul vocal manner he employs on tracks such as "A Little Bit More" and "What's The Use?", with the latter's stealthy groove incorporating the album's most ambitious arrangement, an ingenious jazz-funk stew of electric piano, jazz guitar, trumpet, banked vocal harmonies and disruptive drum-fill interjections that sound like a hangover from his earlier methods.
It's hard to spot the market niche that might accommodate a maverick talent like Lidell's, but Multiply is better equipped than any of his previous projects to slip past the conformity police and find a decent-sized audience, without compromising his essential idiosyncrasy. As he asserts in "What's The Use?", "I'm a walkin' talkin' question mark", before adding, "But what is the question again?"
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 2 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 3 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 5 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
This house and dental clinic 'piled up like bricks on the brink of collapsing' is why Japan wins at architecture
'I just want to get home and watch Match of the Day': The Specials frontman Terry Hall admits the agony of being in an aging rock band during gig
Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'