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Friday, 22 September 2017

Benjamin Clementine Album Review


Benjamin Clementine - I Tell A Fly - LP / CD / DL - Behind / Virgin EMI - released September 29th.

The barefoot Mercury prize winner is back again with his anticipated follow up. From a strict catholic upbringing to living on the streets of Paris this self taught classical, sometimes quoted as genius has been cooking up some beautiful stuff delving into electronica, breakbeat and even a bit of opera! He has a distinct vocal which is stunning and unique and the clever wordplay tells you that this guy is serious. He is in his own realm and one those artists who cannot be pigeonholed into one genre. 


I Tell A Fly is the reverse of his last work At Least For Now as rather than looking inwards and backwards it looks forwards and outwards. His tales are all about the concepts of aliens, migrants, strangers and refugees. Starting off with Farewell Sonata on a classical note he enters the world of life in a Calais refugee camp and the reality that faces the occupants. He has this unique way of using samples and twisting them with his own take on electronica which can't be compared to much really. Jupiter his first single from this is really good stuff and he knows how to use a breakbeat or two at his advantage. Paris Cor Blimey is his take on a twisted nursery rhyme which you can tell is something to do with his own personal struggles as a street vagabond. There are some stand out tracks like Better Sorry Than A Safe and the brilliant Awkward Fish which is almost Drum n Bass. The closing track Ave Dreamer could have been written for a clever piece of theatre and the lyrics "Barbarians are coming!/Dreamers stay strong" is telling you that everyone is welcome as all his characters come together as one. An interesting album which takes a couple of listens to finally click (always the best for me). The fact that he recorded this album in Damon Albarn's studio and he wrote, played, sang and produced everything himself shows you that this guy has an amazing talent and will be around for years to come. You can check out more about him on www.benjaminclementine.com. He embarks on a large UK tour soon.

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