Harry Harland (The Roots – Undun)
The Roots return with their 11th studio album (I know… ridiculous) and the first that I have listened to since 2002’s Phrenology. From the sounds of things, there are serious gaps that I will need to fill in.
Undun tells the short, tragic story (in reverse, obviously) of fictional character Redford Stevens, a victim of urban poverty. Set to a mesmerising mix of soul and hip-hop, the sort of which the band have been seemingly producing for years, it is a hugely impressive album. From start to finish, each track blends effortlessly into the last, no two songs sound the same, and yet all are beautifully at ease with each other.
The album finishes with a four-part symphony, culminating in a bizarre avant-garde jazz number, which only goes to demonstrate the breadth of talent the band have.
Most people will know the band from their omnipresent 2002 smash single The Seed (2.0), but as this album proves, they are an outfit that deserve much wider acclaim.
Em Bell (Nicolas Jaar)
On Tuesday night I was introduced to the uber sexy sounds of Nicolas Jaar. A hero. A blooming sexy, extremely young hero. There isn’t much to say except his gig at the Roundhouse next week is totally sold out and this tune is sex on legs. He is one to follow. Check it.