[From Excellent Reception : Episode 1]
Over the summer, Philly-based artist Bilal released his fourth album “In Another Life” on BBE Records out of the UK. Well, technically it is his 5TH album, if you count his heavily bootlegged-but never released “Love For Sale”.
On “In Another Life”, Bilal leaves the production duties up to LA’s own Adrian Younge, who is known for making strictly analog music with vintage instruments and recording gear. Adrian has gained the attention of the music world from his collaborations with Ghostface Killah and Souls of Mischief, being sampled for hit songs like Jay-Z’s “Picasso Baby”, and scoring films like the modern blaxploitation masterpiece “Black Dynamite”.
When Bilal and Adrian make music together it’s unlike anything else out today. It’s raw with emotion. It’s gritty yet smooth. It’s like Stereolab and Sly Stone went to the grimiest part of West Philly to have a jam session.
If you aren’t familiar with Bilal, please know that he isn’t the simple neo-soul singer that most people label him as. He is an unearthly talented vocalist with formal jazz training and an elastic vocal range. Stylistically and lyrically he is able to go anywhere he wants…and he does so without hesitation.
The standout cut on “In Another Life” has to be “Holding It Back”, which features News Zealand pop singer Kimbra (who is amazing in her own right). The two of them harmonizing over Adrian Younge’s music is magical. It’s one of those songs that you have to play over and over because you want the feeling to last.
This is an excerpt from the Excellent Reception podcast. Each episode our host, lil’dave, talks about the stories and influences around a group of carefully selected songs. Subscribe to the podcast now via iTunes.