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Music Review


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Blackmagic

 

Artist: José James
Brownswood Recordings
RRP: £11.99
BWOOD041CD
Available 22 February 2010


Following on from his success in 2007 with his debut album, The Dreamer, José James is back to show us what he is really made of.

Returning to the recording studio, José comes back at us with a moodier, edgier and more sensual sound which includes some shaggy hip-hop sounds mixed in with some great soul and funky jazzy beats.

Blackmagic is the brand new album from José which sees him upping his game 100 per cent. Since his last album José has performed in around 30 countries and worked with some of the finest and best artists in the world, such as Chico Hamilton and Junior Mance. Living and working in some of the biggest cities such as New York, London, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Sao Paolo and Berlin, to name a few, has influenced the sounds on this album and made it what it is.

Opening Blackmagic is 'Code', a slow soulful piece which is played out in a cool sophisticated way. José's vocals are smooth and dreamy helping melt away all your troubles. Superb.

The opening of 'Touch' and the whole track 'Warrior' has a racy beat which is reminiscent of a runaway train. The beat is fast and furious yet the vocals are soulful and charming.

'Love Conversation' and 'Beauty' have great harmonies that are mesmerising and melt into one. I especially like the piano solo in 'Beauty', it really tugs at the heartstrings and leaves you wanting more.

The title track 'Blackmagic' is a dishevelled sounding piece with sporadic vocals and melody. The beat is good but it's not a favourite of mine on the album. Neither is 'Made For Love', this is made up of sonic noise which is a little too futuristic sounding to be mixed with the jazzy beat and vocals. These two tracks, I feel, don't really fit well on this album and could have been left off with ease.

One of my favourite tracks is 'Promise in Love', it's a fun loving tune with an upbeat tempo and a solid chorus. The brass picks this up and moves it into chirpy territory. I love it!

Closing the album is 'No Tellin' it's a simple, plain track with no gimmicks or flash sounds. Made up of slow tuneful beats and some good old fashioned strong vocals, less is definitely more in this case. Be warned though as this track goes on for just over 10 minutes.

José has definitely found his calling in life, he can melt away those blues with his spellbinding voice and those soulful beats in a blink of an eye.

8

Helena Rea

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