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- I'm New Here by Gil Scott-Heron
9/10 Brett Staff review, 04 February 2010
Gil Scott-Heron's one of those guys I've more read about than actually heard (barring copious sampling and his undoubted influence on myriad artists and the entire hip-hop scene down the years) so it's a real pleasure to have the chance of sitting down with I'm New Here, his XL debut and first album in fourteen years (if Wikipedia's to be believed). The 'rules' in the liner notes for how to properly listen to the album are immediately endearing (although I should apologise since reviewing stuff in here pretty much forces you to break every single one of them) and right off the bat we were all transfixed - Gil's gruff yet somehow smooth tones massaging our ears while spinning addictive yarns (which I could happily listen to endlessly) and offering righteous indignance at the ills and ignorance of the world in a variety of rhythmically spoken interludes. He also gets his song on a wee bit with covers of Robert Johnson's 'Me and the Devil' and Smog's 'I'm New Here', delivered in a style pitched somewhere between soul and blues but going down a treat whichever way you slice 'em. The only caveat for me is the production (from XL head honcho Richard Russell) which occasionally sounds a bit dated in a 'late 90s trip-hop' kind of a way but it's not any sort of issue in practice 'cos it's really all just window dressing for the star of the show and it's hard to be distracted by anything else once he's caught your ear. The vinyl's pretty immense too, a double 180g LP (one of which is pure bonus tracks) crammed into a super-thick tip-on style sleeve containing two prints! Well deluxe.
10/10 Eran Customer review,
I was kind of worried when I heard Gil is working on a new record. I love his work so much I was worried that after all these years, and after all that he's been through, he won't get even close to his early achievements.When I finally heard the new record I was both happy and surprised. This is not old Gil's music, but it's very good music, and it's Gil. In a way, finding out he still has music to give this world is like getting him back from the dead.So get this record, and if you don't know his early work, go get it too!
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