One of the best album titles of the year so far and not only that, Natural Self proves that he has mastered the art of vibration and sees a return to his original label, Tru Thoughts.
Whilst his best mate Ben Lamdin seems to be releasing albums almost non-stop, this is the ‘difficult’ second album for Natural Self (aka Kano-1 aka Nathaniel Pearn) after the ground breaking Let Peace Be The Ruler in 2006.
Whilst Nat has done all the writing and production, he has made it a little easier on himself by getting a couple of star guests in to do some vocals. Andreya Triana has made a name for herself with her work with Flying Lotus and Aaron Jerome and Natural Self has done a remix for Abdominal who turns up here to rap one of the best tracks, ‘Breathe Deep’.
‘Breathe Deep’ is your modal jazz conscious hip hop beats that your don’t get so much of these days; “Sometimes the waters of life get rough, that’s why ya gotta breathe through that stuff”. Punctuated with the always excellent horns section of Jonny Spall (Saxophones, Nostalgia 77) and Fulvio Sigurta (Trumpet, Examples of Twelve and Prince Fatty), ‘Breathe Deep’ stands out like the big production jobs of ‘Welcome To The Ascension’, the first single ‘The Rising’ and the gospelled, ‘In The Morning’.
Natural Self’s sound is trade mark dark drums with deep horn (the horn section are almost on every track on the new album) but what is different from the first album is that there is a confidence and he seems a more adventurous approach to the music. In addition to more vocals (check his most recent podcast that also features an interview with Andreya, a recap of his musical career to-date and a short mix of tracks on the album – ‘ere has he gone to RBMA’s podcast school run by Karen P?) there’s some off-beat CDr/Beat Generation experimentations. The best of which is the ‘The Crush’ but the closing track ‘Alexandra & Gabriel’ is not far behind it for it’s pure loveliness (with great sax) and the computer ‘Robot Sex’ of ‘Ghost In The Machine’ (think warped James Pants!).
And whilst dubstep is all the rage, the Natural Self jazzed up version comes in the shape of ‘The Laws Of Motion’ with a touch of a TV theme in their somewhere. Talkin’ of bass, ‘Feet Keep Movin’ is a glorious mix of New Orleans death march, brain throbbin’ b-line and Nat’s vocal (he first sung on the Broken Keys album only after original vocalist didn’t show up).
‘Faultlines’ and ‘Another Land’ gets us back to his old territory of Solomon whilst ‘Alright Turn It Up Now’ is the new Natural Self in a brilliant boogie concoction that burns those dancefloors.
The Art Of Vibration is painted on a canvas for head and feet and not one duff track on it. Brilliant stuff Mr. Pearn!
Reviewed: Natural Self – The Art Of Vibration (Tru Thoughts) Cat. No: TRU162 Release date: 30 June 2008 Artwork by www.laki139.com
1. Introduction (1:19)
2. Welcome To The Ascension (3:06)
3. The Rising featuring Andreya Triana (4:17)
4. In The Morning (4:01) Guitar – Ben Lamdin
5. Alright Turn It Up Now (4:55)
6. Faultlines (3:40)
7. Breathe Deep Featuring Abdominal (4:12)
8. Ghost In The Machine (3:11)
9. The Crush (3:25)
10. The Laws Of Motion (4:42)
11. Feet Keep Moving (3:06)
12. Another Land (3:43)
13 Alexander And Gabriel (4:24)
Gilles Peterson :: 29th May 2008 :: James Pants Mix
Natural Self – ‘Faultlines’ (Tru Thoughts)