I regularly suffer interchanging phases of productivity and laziness in terms of written output. I'll pepper the LMS site for a month or two then take a more sedentary course for a few weeks. It's not that there isn't a plethora of great new music around but sometimes it's enough to listen idly to new records and not articulate the appeal or express my connection with it. After a few weeks of this I'll usually hear something that snaps me out of this productive scantiness and the reflex is a review, the likes of this one. This time it was Sinkane's debut album (though from my research this actually looks like his second release, hmmm) "Mars" which I'm more than a little excited about. Ironic that I pick now to explain my own (admittedly artless) creative process, right before I attempt to concatenate the diverse yet beautifully married elements on this LP. In little over half an hour the album delivers a spellbinding blend of funk, Afrobeat, free-jazz and soul; all with staggering effect.
I got my hands on "Mars" on the strength of the collaborations mentioned in the press-blurb although Chris Coco's "Next Wave" (2002) taught me that enlisting quality artists is no guarantee of a resultant high. Whereas Coco reimagined old songs through alternative artists Sinkane called on talented friends - contemporaries established in their own sounds - to build up an eclectic yet complementary set of original songs. (Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr., Yeasayer's Ira Wolf Tuton and Afrobeat band Nomo are among the guests joining Sinkane - real name Ahmed Galleb - on "Mars"). The product of the concomitant pieces is the world of an artist driven by authenticity and experimentation over the pretence of fashion.
There are so many highlights in the all too short "Mars" it would be dull and futile to list them all here: the review would take longer to read than the album takes to hear. The fact is the album has now landed in Europe following its earlier release in the US and you can hear it on Spotify for instant proof that you deserve to own it. Whether you're looking for a funk somewhere between Curtis Mayfield and TV on the Radio ("Runnin'"), want to hear cool flutes dance over dub infused psych bliss ("Caparundi"), long to hear what Yeasayer would sound like if they got back from a world tour with Graceland-era Paul Simon ("Jeeper Creeper"), yearn for Jimmy Smith style keys accompanied by the modernity of a vocoder ("Lady c'mon") or just want to pick out tinges of world music ("Warm Spell" and plenty more besides) then there is certainly a lot to go at in such a short time frame.
It was about this time last year that I heard late contenders for my album of the year so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the same thing is happening again. If you haven't any idea who this man is or about the sounds he makes then now's the time to put that right. I can't guarantee your life will improve if you buy this album but your record collection certainly will. Go on - treat yourself.