When people are asked to name musicians from Minneapolis they tend to get stuck pretty much as soon as they say Prince. Perhaps the rapidly-rising Velvet Negroni will be able to help add to that list in the near future. NEON BROWN, the debut LP from the one born Jeremy Nutzman (what a name), contains a sort of hybrid hip-hop/r ‘n’ b style that the likes of Frank Ocean and The Weeknd have struck gold with in recent years. And yes, Velvet Negroni does sound a bit like Prince at times as well.
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I had a negroni once. It wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. Thankfully, I thoroughly enjoyed Velvet Negroni's debut album 'Neon Brown'. It sits in that sweet spot of sumptuous hip-hop, moody indie, and glitchy electronica that Kanye West has been inhabiting frequently. Velvet Negroni is actually one of West's mates and co-wrote 'Feel the Love' from the recent Kids See Ghosts album.
'Neon Brown' is a heady brew of glistening, almost hyperreal textures, smooth Prince-y vocals, and arrangements that hark back to his previous associations with both Kanye West and Bon Iver. Negroni clearly has his head screwed on correctly because the songs always pull back when they begin to feel too smooth or full. The smooth, taut electro-pop of 'KURT KOBAIN' is tempered by the noisy, distorted bass and squealing phased textures.
I love 'Ectodub' which is super-modern space-age dub. 'One One' feels apocalyptic with orchestral stabs and heavily processed vocalisations, and the treated glockenspiels, xylophones, and marimbas that crop up in most of the tracks bear resemblance to the West African 'griots' which are mentioned in the press release.
All in all, a pretty good album for a man who wears a hoodie like a pair of shorts.
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- NEON BROWN by Velvet Negroni
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