Duval Timothy - Help Music Album Reviews

 

On his ruminative and memory-haunted new album, the pianist and singer explores community and the ties that bind us. 

The diaspora haunts the work of Duval Timothy, the multidisciplinary artist and pianist who splits his time between England (where he was born) and Sierra Leone (where his relatives reside). On his 2018 EP 2 Sim, Timothy blended WhatsApp voice messages and interviews from “family, friends and peers in Freetown, Sierra Leone” into minimal, piano-focused compositions. In a mix made for NTS Radio the same year, he interspersed these compositions with snatches of sounds captured from Instagram video— Cardi B ranting about racoons, Saul Williams urging young rappers to listen to Rachmaninoff—and grime and hip-hop tracks. On Help, his latest album, Timothy works with a number of collaborators from the London scene—Mr. Mitch, Vegyn, and Lil Silva to name a few—to create a piece of music that takes equally from modern jazz and UK bass. With their help, Timothy sings the song of a community that he carries within him, voicing their past oppressions even in his most abstract pieces.
Timothy constructs a vast castle out of his reference points making music that feels filled with the spectres of the past. “Slave” is a dark room constructed out of looping piano melody, furnished with guitar from Twin Shadow, and illuminated only by the song title, sung by his partner Ibiye Camp. Into this room enters a sampled Pharrell Williams, musing on the fact that it is common for record labels to own the masters of the artists they sign. Timothy is intimately aware of this practice; he only recently purchased back his own masters. To underscore Williams’ point, he hammers on the piano when Williams appears on the scene, as if registering his own assent. Its follow-up, “TDAGB,” goes even further; the title comes from a slowed-down and sped-up recording of Timothy’s sister saying, “Things don’t always get better, it’s not just a matter of time till everything works out.” The words are not a blanket dismissal of change as much as a clear-eyed reading of colonial history. Slavery may be over, but when Prince couldn’t get his masters back from Warner Brothers 30 years ago, he called himself a slave.

On Help, these troubled legacies guide him, prodding him to examine history and memory. On “Fall Again,” the pianist’s triplets are slowly surrounded by Melanie Faye’s wandering guitar, and as the two snake around each other, they are joined by Lil Silva. Reverb expands his voice, creating a choir of one. The lyrics sympathize with the loneliness of wanting to change when you are feeling “cold in the deep and you’re all alone.” Like the gospel songs it evokes, “Fall Again” posits that this feeling is nothing new; saints have made mistakes, too. Listen closely to the ghostly strains of “Like,” a quilt of layered vocals stitched together with piano; it’s a scrambled, halting monologue, degraded until you can only hear the titular word. Though the progressions he plays seem simple at first listen, he manipulates them by adding an extension to a chord here or a spare note there. It sounds like he’s feeling his way through the dark, trying to recover some elusive but crucial memory.

The motif of “Slave” guides Timothy through the ruminative back half of the album. Its rhythm is the basis for Timothy’s improvisation on “Ice,” its chord progression can be heard on “C,” and its theme can be heard through the digital mist of the Pat Metheny-esque “Morning.” The repeated motifs play into the album’s themes— of history, individuality, ownership. Timothy’s collaborative sensibility comes from a distinct sense of rootedness; the people who made him and the artists he’s listened to are the links that make up his music. He finds liberation in this inescapability and makes himself too expansive to be owned.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Duval Timothy - Help Music Album Reviews Duval Timothy - Help Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 Rating:

0 comments:

Post a Comment