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Neneh Cherry – Blank Project

Produced by Four Tet

This record is a strange and awesome mix of R&B, electronic, experimental, and spoken word. Truly a conglomeration of genres. Neneh Cherry was written off as a one hit wonder based on her 1988 song “Buffalo Stance,” but she was simply ahead of her time, as this genre mash up style has become popular in pop music. This is exactly what happened with Arrested Development. Just ahead of it’s time.

The first track is very mellow and striped down. As the album progresses, the songs follow suit, but not dramatically. Steady increasing of effects and instruments follow the progression through the album. The songs have base lines, but only a few add that upper layer of pop synth. This album remains at a relatively steady middle tempo for the duration. Although there are synths and effects, there are no real frills here, no sweeping gestures. However, this does not limit the colorful and myriad moods found on this album. “Blank Project” (track #2) has an icy aura, with Neneh creating an interesting mix of rap and singing. “Spit Three Times” brings a nervous paranoid mood. And “Out of the Black” (track #8) is this bizarre mix of club pop, synths, and Fout Tet-esque jams. It also features Robyn. Of Robyn. Despite being a rather minimal album, there is no lack of eclectic eccentricities.

REC: 8 (!!), 2, 1, 10, 4

RIYL: Janelle Monae, Four Tet, Robyn, Blood Orange

Reviewed by Katie Barrett on 3.15.14