Release Date: Nov 6, 2015
Record label: Polydor
Genre(s): R&B, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Jamie Woon is as close to a perfectionist as you’ll find in the music industry today. Every beat of his sultry neo-soul music is dressed with immaculate sophistication, and every soundscape created is intensely captivating. He’s not one for rushing either, with even the title of his second LP typifying that particular trait. Making Time picks up where 2011 debut Mirrorwriting left off, with 10 tracks that are meticulously arranged and gorgeously executed.
Scattered collaborations with the likes of Disclosure, Paul White, Banks, and Portico excepted, nothing was heard from Jamie Woon for four years following the release of Mirrorwriting. Woon was in no rush to complete a second album. Just before his follow-up surfaced in November 2015, he spoke of wanting his return to feel like a rebirth. Despite the freshness of Making Time, it sure sounds like the work of the same songwriter and producer who recorded the auspicious Mirrorwriting.
Jamie Woon emerged at the same time as James Blake, Sampha and Jessie Ware, and provided a human, soulful voice to sit along the mechanical, austere sound of “post-dubstep”. Five years after his debut, Mirrorwriting, Making Time finds Woon creating music that is surprisingly minimal: he has spent that time absorbing the output of Theo Parrish and fellow Brit Floating Points, and you can tell. From the first track, Message, drums and bass dominate, as tracks emerge out of a soulful, primordial murk, with every note and lyric sounding honed, terse and meticulously crafted.
Jamie Woon has been vocal about not rushing his second album; even the record’s title, Making Time, fits the theme of patience. So while his momentum may have cooled slightly, what Woon gives us is a record of ten songs that are meticulously crafted and bear the kind of nuance that can only come from spending countless hours in the lab. Making Time thrives on these small details, which elevate the individual tracks.
A classic singer-songwriter never goes out of style. The soulful and enigmatic crooner Jamie Woon rediscovered this in the four long years between his charming-but-uneven debut album, Mirrorwriting, and the release of his second, Making Time. Rising with a fresh crop of UK-based, slightly experimental vocalists and collaborators in the London bass music scene (think Jessie Ware, James Blake, and Sampha), Woon’s debut produced sophisticated music that ultimately failed to catch on as strongly as his contemporaries.
Jamie Woon’sMaking Time is, by its own set of standards, a huge success. Three plus years in the making, and, by all accounts, toiled over ad nauseum until Woon felt he had gotten it right, the record is very clear about it’s going for: It doesn’t try to be too flashy. It doesn’t overdo it with the production. In most senses, it is an attempt to be a small record, within a backdoor UK singer-songwriter genre that defines itself in opposition to the largesse of the club scene.
Jamie Woon is either a very patient man or highly appreciative of the number four. Perhaps both. Either way, following on from 2007’s Wayfaring Stranger and 2011’s Mirrorwriting, a Jamie Woon release has come upon us once more with the cyclical regularity of a World Cup. It comes with the knowing title Making Time.
Nobody quite knew where to place Jamie Woon when his debut album, Mirrorwriting, came out in April 2011. Associated with the fragmenting dubstep scene (he had collaborated with Burial) but possessing a fully fledged soul voice and an exploratory approach to musical styles, he fell between several cracks. This long-awaited follow-up should place the London-born singer on firmer ground.
If there’s one truth running through Jamie Woon’s first album in four years, it’s that he’s spent the spare hours settling into his skin. There’s been a near-silence in the interim years since 2011’s ‘Mirrorwriting’, save a Disclosure guest spot and a collaboration with jazz group Portico. But that hasn’t just made Woon a distant memory of previous BBC Sound Of polls.
Back in 2010 Jamie Woon was, critics said, going to be one of dubstep’s first crossover stars. His breakthrough song ‘Night Air’, produced by Burial, was a stunning marriage of echoing electronics, pulsing sub bass and Woon’s soulful vocals. In the event it failed to make much impact. The following year Woon released ‘Mirrorwriting’, an album of downtempo R&B and soul, and promptly vanished.The 32-year-old Londoner was last heard singing on ‘January’ from Disclosure’s 2013 debut, ‘Settle’.