Homecut won’t be news to the good folk of the Leeds hip-hop community, but freedom only comes with the sacrifice of hard work and with this album, he shows that he’s put in the graft to gain get the freedom to preach his words.
As Homecut Directive, they released their debut single ‘Come The Revolution’ that featured Corinne Bailey Rae (well before her ‘Like A Star Hit‘) back in 2003 and with years of experience gigging, recording, free-styling and generally performing where they can, the six-man band lead by Testament are hip-hop band with a live show that has already supported Black Twang, People Under The Stairs, Fingathing and Ty.
Those with a good eye for these things, you may recall Testament (aka Andrew Brooks) featured on the track ‘Restless’ on Diesler’s album The Rhythm Station and as a member of Leeds’ Today’s Mathematics who we liked their Let It Go Remix EP, so we were really looking forward to his album and we weren’t disappointed.
The most obvious track is the single, ‘I Don’t Even Know’ (already championed by Gilles Peterson the other week) as it features Ms. Bailey Rae and the ever impressive Soweto ‘A Moment in the Life of‘ Kinch.
If you’re a fan of conscious soulful jazzy broken beats hip-hop, this is an album for you. The opener is shamefully short as it’s on the brink of growing into a full-on gospel number (although it strangely gets an acapella reprise at the end of ‘Night At The Fair’) but there’s lots of good stuff to make up for that. If you miss the De La Quest/Tribe Called Soul tip, ‘Innovators (Nostalgically Speaking)’ and will cover that but I suppose the biggest influence is Big Dada‘s Ty (‘City Song’, ‘Not That Far Away’, ‘Night At The Fair’, ‘Harmony’)
New York based MC, DJ, producer and CEO of Triple Threat Productions, J-Live teams up on a transatlantic link on ‘Time Difference’ for a bit of early morning NY cool (with some unexpected Latino club action at the end).
There’s a couple of collabs with female soulsters, LeeSun on ‘YKTE’ and Andreya Triana on ‘Breakdown’. Ms. Triana was so impressive on Natural Self‘s podcast a whilst back (and her own debut album is coming out soon, a tour with Bonobo and an acoustic set at Karen P’s Broadcasting!) and ‘Breakdown’ is another feather in her back catalogue of FLY entries including Flying Lotus, Aaron Jerome and Jose James.
‘Harmony’ is on the Afro-broken beat, referring to his mum and dad “their black and white like Tooting and Mitcham” and ‘Bring It All Together’ actually gets the spiritual side right is a jazzy style. The CD ends with some funky horn on ‘All For Now’ and whilst you might think this is new-retro, its quality is self evident and expect the forthcoming gigs to expand the fan base that already includes Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama; how many hip-hop bands can claim that!
It seems that UK hip-hop is in mini purple patch at the moment with Speech Debelle and Riz MC and after No Freedom Without Sacrifice, we can Testament and friends to the list.
15 May 2009 – Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
06 June 2009 – Huddstock Charity Music Festival, Huddersfield
12 June 2009 – The Mad Ferret Festival, Platt Fields Park, Manchester
28 June 2009 – Glastonbury Festival Glastonbury, Somerset
Reviewed: Homecut – No Freedom Without Sacrifice (First Word Records) Cat. No: FW29) Release date: 18th May 2009
1 No Freedom Without Sacrifice (3:04)
2 Participant (3:12)
3 I Don’t Even Know featuring Corinne Bailey Rae & Soweto Kinch (4:03)
4 Innovators (Nostalgically Speaking) (3:18)
5 City Song (6:23)
6 Not Far To Go (4:00)
7 Ecclesiastes 3:11 (1:29)
8 Time Difference featuring J-Live (4:30)
9 Ykte featuring LeeSun (3:18)
10 Night At The Fair (5:04)
11 Bring It All Together (3:48)
12 Harmony (3:29)
13 Breakdown featuring Andreya Triana (4:39)
14 All For Now (4:11)
Gilles Peterson :: 30th April 2009 :: Raphael Saadiq Maida Vale Session
Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido – ‘Sinfonia Agridulce’ (Cooking Vinyl)
Quantic & The Combo Barbaro – ‘Undelivered Letter’ (Tru Thoughts)
Menahan Street Band – ‘The Wolf’ (Dunham)
El Michaels Affair – ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ (Truth & Soul)
Walk On By Ft. El Michaels Affair – ‘Shaft’ (Truth & Soul)
Luke Vibert – ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ (Sound Of Speed)
yU – ‘We’ll Be Fine’ (Test)
DJ Homecut Ft Corine Bailey Rae & Soweto Kinch – ‘Let’s Go’ (First Word)
Cecilia Stalin Ft. Daz I Kue – ‘Afro Blue’ (Ajabu)
Peven Everett – ‘Bangin” (Trippin’ Records)
‘Skyy, Can You Feel Me?’ (Raphael Saadiq live in Session)
‘Get Involved’ (Raphael Saadiq live in Session)
Alfonzo Serrett – ‘Give Me Your Love’ (MCA)
Mass Production – ‘Welcome to Our World (Of Merry Music)’ (Cotillion)
Kleeer – ‘Get Tough’ (Atlantic)
SOS Band – ‘Take Your Time (Do It Right)’ (Tabu Records)
’100 Yard Dash’ (Raphael Saadiq live in Session)
‘Big Easy’ (Raphael Saadiq live in Session)
Betty Padgett – ‘Sugar Daddy’ (Ubiquity)
Gene Ammons – ‘Jungle Strut’ (Prestige)