Profusion -‘Where Do I Begin?’ (First Word Records)
Profusion is a collaboration between K15, or Kieron Ifil, and Emeson. It’s fair to say that this title is accurate – and hopefully the beginning of a beautiful (musical) partnership, to slightly misquote Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.
A collaboration in the sense that both men have great pedigrees and achievements already before this record came into being. K15 has a track record of working in different forms such as house, jazz, soul, hip-hop and techno. Even if you’ve never heard these projects, they have all rubbed off on this album. Emeson has also worked across a multitude of genres and is also a successful actor, having appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and various Marvel comic adaptations to name but a few projects.
Of course, absolutely none of this would matter if the end result wasn’t so damn brilliant. It starts with that sense of questioning what lies within from the album cover, in the first instance. Just as Marvin Gaye looks out at the rain on the cover of his seminal album What’s Going On, so here the two men look out at the world as if deciding their next move(s).
In writing this review I’ve listened to this album no less than five times. Not because it didn’t grab on first listen (it most certainly did) – but I felt I had to check what my ears were telling me. That here is an album that melds all manner of music – from jazz to hip-hop to drum’n’bass and electronica, ultimately coming up with an album that is, above all, soulful. It feels utterly contemporary, whilst drawing on a range of influences that might loosely be termed ‘urban.’
Whether it’s the title track, which opens the album and draws you in from the word go, or the heartbreaking ‘Time’s Up,’ Emeson’s voice is one that both commands and soothes. Married to K15’s beats, melodies and productions, this is not just a collaboration, it’s a connection. It’s not to say that it will make a connection with everyone – metalheads and indie-landfill lovers may not find much on here that will grab ’em.
To these ears, this is a record which is for the heart and feet, to chill to on summer days (good luck with that for our UK readers!) or snuggle up with on winter nights. It feels like it is a continuing lineage of a number of classic records – Massive Attack‘s Blue Lines and The Streets‘ Original Pirate Material, certainly, with nods to both Burial and Zero 7.
There are some moments which seem to perhaps go on a little longer than need be, a smoothness that heard out of context might commit the aesthetic crime of being ‘soundtrack to a middle-class dinner party.’ Whoever’s listening is almost certainly in for a treat.
This hasn’t had the hugest amount of exposure and coverage from what I can see from the web…yet. But the – dammit – utterly bloody brilliance of the whole thing is something that could well be a critical and commercial hit.
And that’s where you come in, dear listener.
Where Do I Begin? is out now on First Word Records