Thursday, 13 May 2010

Gordon Nelson Jr - Conversation Peace - 2010

Three years have elapsed since Gordon Nelson Jr's last album and once again it is one that is not going to disappoint you. It's more varied in it's make up than many releases, and this is something that I am more than happy about. Today's scene has a plurality of styles - embraced by sets like this - and although the style adopted by Gordan may not fire up the enthusiasm on today's teens / 20-somethings, it certainly warms my cockles and many more like-minded souls who feel as comfy with this as wearing an old pair of slippers with brand spanking new insoles in! Eight tracks reflecting the twists and turns of romance, the balance of groove pivots perfectly from a stepping groove to a house groove and then to a sultry ballad - all of which do not fail to impress. The opening song, "When" complete with Chi-Town stepping groove, synth-horns and quirky keyboards and becomes a tastier and tastier delicacy after every play. Perfect for both quality radio and the more informed dancefloor, I think this is a strong opener indeed.

What I am starting to tire of, though, I have to admit is the use of autotune to 'compliment' vocals. It may be in vogue but quality artists such as this do NOT, I repeat NOT need to use this. Designed to augment and bolster weak vocals it's not so much a trend in today's youthful R'n'B but a pre-requisite as many of these whiskerless pin-up stars have no real vocal skills. Arguably Gordon is NOT from this crass residuum of the industry and the use of this here is something that irks me considerably. It spoils my enjoyment and will, in time, ruin what could be a timeless song into a piece of ephemera. This is the only piece of criticism I have, and although I dig grooves such as these, the enjoyment is considerably watered down. A gentleman in the same league as Cuba Gooding doesn't need this, and the music employed within "Something I Should Know" is blindingly good. Let's leave the gimmicks for those who have to use them.

The tapping funky house grooves of "Crazy 4 U" and "What About Love" are examples of really tight grooves, and the jazzy vibes, piano, bass and organ compliment perfectly. It's dance music for the intelligent and this is something I sincerely applaud today. My favourite uptempo groove is "Show Me Some Emotion". Akin to the best soulful house that I would buy and download from US House music sites sites such as Traxsource, I can do nothing but thoroughly sing the praises of this choon! From the very offset we are in Mr Day / DJ Man-X territory and the Louie Vega flavours oze out with sultry summery basslines and jazzy flute! Personally, I cannot get enough of this kind of material and the delicate balance between what is soulful and what is purely mechanical is perfectly and expertly executed here. The music, the instruments, the vocals. All top-drawer. Again, this applies to "Peace Of Mind", and what a balance with the jazzy Cuba Gooding-like "Hey Lady". So...yet another winning set to wave the flag for!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe