Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Game Of Thrones Season 8 - End Game With Sinhala Subtitles

Flipboard

Flipboard

Ali Shaheed MuhammadAdrian Younge - The Midnight Hour Music Album Reviews

Ali Shaheed MuhammadAdrian Younge - The Midnight Hour Music Album Reviews

The two rap-and-soul fusionists aim for a retro aesthetic imbued with the intimacy of a basement club; the results are reminiscent of their Harlem Renaissance-inspired Luke Cage soundtrack.

Producers Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge are bonded by a shared optimism. Before linking up on Souls of Mischief’s 2014 album There Is Only Now, Muhammad’s group A Tribe Called Quest gave jazz a shot of hip-hop’s youthful vitality, while Younge molded blaxploitation-era sounds with a psychedelic sheen. They’re different modes that arm themselves with the belief in the historical centrality and regality of black music, which has been a guiding principle in their Harlem Renaissance-inspired work on the soundtrack to the Marvel series Luke Cage. “There are distinguished people. There’s an edginess,” Muhammad said in an interview about the Marvel show. “There’s such a creative pool that’s come out of [Harlem] throughout the decades.”

Divorced from the significance of scoring Marvel’s first live-action black superhero show, The Midnight Hour decontextualizes the retro stylings as simply two friends chilling and creating. The duo’s first album-length collaboration, first conceived five years ago, has more in common with Luke Cage than There Is Only Now. The latter was a more kinetic project that took advantage of Souls of Mischief and Younge’s improvisational leanings. The Midnight Hour is obsessed with creating a small-venue, buttoned-up atmosphere, not unlike the Marvel show’s musical setpieces. There’s a peculiar live intimacy to the production that threads through hollowed-out kick drums and scratchy bass strings—and you can picture Muhammad and Younge dapping themselves up in the process.

The Midnight Hour pivots for the sake of upholding that soulful aesthetic. Take the rework of Luther Vandross’ schmaltzy 1987 cut “So Amazing.” The 1980s radio harmonies and starry keys get updated with a complex rhythm section and bassline that slide into a climax of violins and harp-like strings. Muhammad has touched on modernizing the old-school bops hip-hop has sampled, and it’s clear here that applies to instrumentation as much as attitude. By switching the silk into worn velvet, The Midnight Hour transforms the devotional ode into a cooler shimmy. The Cee-Lo-featuring “Questions” isn’t as indelible as the Kendrick Lamar cut that sampled the duo’s 2013 demo of the song, but reflections like “I’m supernatural/I am strange/Into whom or to what shall I change” still stretch along sweetly here.

Even though it centers on two men connecting over their tastes, The Midnight Hour mostly peaks with the guest vocalists’ performances. Early cut “It’s You” is a two-parter that rises from uproarious low-end percussion (applause included) to an adult-contemporary lovers’ tune, and it’s the humane radiance of Raphael Saadiq’s voice that pulls it together. The album’s most intense moment comes from sometime collaborator Bilal on “Do It Together,” who you’d imagine has his tank top peeking through his shirt as he throws his controlled presence into a histrionic howl at the track’s end. Marsha Ambrosius is more subdued by several degrees on “Don’t Keep Me Waiting,” encapsulating the track’s pleasures in her whisper.

But most of The Midnight Hour rarely captures that same sort of ecstasy. With some exceptions, like the fervorous “Redneph in B Minor”—whose eerie bleats crack open for honeyed strings—Muhammad and Younge too often settle for static jam sessions. They tend to emphasize the bassline throughout the set, but the instrument almost gratingly insists on the same motif: tiptoeing up to the edge of the cliff before descending once again.

By the midway point, The Midnight Hour becomes a bit too insular for the listener to share in its joys. The effect is a little like finding yourself at an exclusive party yet realizing you hardly know the folks who are having a ball with each other. The two musicians have tasked themselves with bridging generational and genre gaps between black music’s multitudes, but The Midnight Hour finds them still fiddling with how to do so.

View the original article here

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Dell XPS 13 9380 (2019) Review

Dell's flagship laptop returns to us in 2019 with refreshed specs, a brand new webcam design and a cheaper model. We review the XPS 13 9380 in full.
Should I Buy The Dell XPS 13 (2019)?
The XPS 13 for 2019 ticks all the boxes. It looks great, the build quality is excellent, it’s nice and portable and has a wide range of specs to choose from.
While not a massive upgrade from last year's model, it’s had some solid refinement including getting the webcam back into the top bezel and also introduces a more affordable Core i3 edition.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung's Galaxy S range has been updated and here we compare the S10e - the new 'lite' model - to last years' Galaxy S9 to help you decide which phone is best for you.
Should I Buy The Samsung Galaxy S10e Or Samsung Galaxy S9?
The S10e could be the sleeper hit of this year. It doesn’t have the embedded fingerprint sensor of the S10 and S10 Plus or their triple cameras, but it comes with the same processors, new screen design, ultra-wide camera, and all in a compact and comfortable format with a smaller price-tag.
That being said, the S9 is still an excellent device, and its new, lower price makes it a definite bargain.

Huawei P30 Pro Release Date, Price & Specs Rumours

Huawei's MWC press conference didn't include an announcement of the P30 range. Instead, it will hold a launch event in Paris at the end of March. We round up rumours, speculation and more on the new Huawei line-up, including the expected P30 release date, price and specifications.

Huawei Mate 20 X Review

The Huawei Mate 20 X is an obscenely large smartphone but it has many of the features of the Mate 20 Pro for less. Here’s our full review of the huge premium slab
Should I Buy The Huawei Mate 20 X?
With a bigger screen, bigger battery and smaller notch than the Mate 20 Pro, the Huawei Mate 20 X also has the same camera set up and adds a headphone jack. If you want the most screen possible, it might be for you. 
You lose the curved display, wireless charging, full water resistance and secure Face ID but for many that won’t matter if a huge display, outstanding camera and great performance are top of your list. If you want a normal size phone, get the Mate 20 Pro.

iHealth Core Review

This smart scale from iHealth offers detailed body composition measurements, from BMI to visceral fat rating. Find out what we think in our iHealth Core review.
Should I Buy The iHealth Core? We like the way that the Core and Lite scales interact with the other iHealth products, and the Core offers a bunch of useful metrics with which to monitor your health. Setup is easy and the app's graphs give a decent visual representation of your health-metric trends as you progress.

Like Fan Page