Release Date: Jan 31, 2012
Record label: Verve
Genre(s): Electronic, R&B, Downtempo, Contemporary R&B, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
It’s a strange thought to consider what music is, what music really is. As I write pulses of electricity are causing repeating sequences motorised into patterns in the vibration of panels in my speakers, in turn buffering the air back and forth, causing the molecules to oscillate in waves, transferring the sound on a macroscopic level into my ear and onto its drum; from there sensory neurones take all these millions of subtle changes in pressure and reorganize and manipulate them with such dexterity as to isolate and recognize every trembling bassline, every distinct drum line, every change of pitch in every piano tinkle. And then there’s how those notes conjured up in the Temporal lobe interact and influence our conscious brain – how they flood our synapses and invoke mood and meaning in our Frontal lobes.
Let’s all say a big hello to this week’s Saviour Of British Music, shall we? Jamie Woonis from South-East London, thus meeting the Upbringing Credibility Criteria that has already thwarted the likes of The Vaccines. He’s also dealing in that thing the kids apparently refer to as ‘dubstep’. He made the BBC Sound of 2011 poll… well, we’ll forgive him that as currently the boys of that list seem to be doing better than the girls.
Is 2011 turning out to be the year UK bass music goes semi-mainstream? Well, kinda. Sorta. Not exactly. For one thing, genres like dubstep and funky have been moving away from the club fringe and toward the center of the pop conversation for a while now. (In the UK itself, they've been at the ….
“Ain’t got nothing to do with wrong and right / got everything to do with time. ” So goes a memorable line from Jamie Woon’s “Lady Luck” which seems now to say something of the London singer-songwriter’s own fortunes. When his previous single “Night Air” was released to some acclaim in September 2010, Woon appeared to have everything going for him: graduated from the BRIT school the year after Amy Winehouse, he had cult dubstep producer Burial for a collaborator and as was felt to be some way ahead of the curve with his nocturnal, seductive take on subtle R&B.
Through no fault of his own, 28-year-old Londoner Jamie Woon arrived on the scene already having to justify whether we needed either another BRIT school graduate or another sensitive, British singer/songwriter named James on the scene. While his first album, Mirrorwriting, shares a few similarities with his counterparts in the former category in the shape of Katy B's dubstep leanings and the late Lynden David Hall's chilled-out soul, and the latter in its minimal James Blake-esque production, its unique, after-hours sound ensures that he deserves his place on various "sound of 2011" polls as much as anyone. Indeed, comparisons with Blake's self-titled debut may be inevitable, but these 12 tracks are a different beast, placing emphasis much more on poppier melodies and Woon's swoon, comprised of some Terence Trent D'Arby-esque vocals thankfully free of unnecessary Auto-Tune.
Review Summary: Not the set of future garage torch songs we were expecting, but impressive nonetheless. So between How to Dress Well, James Blake, The XX, The Weeknd, and Jamie Woon, do we have a scene yet? All of them are taking '90s R&B as their touchstone, pulling it into shapes more acceptable to rock and electronic audiences, and trying to reverse the genre's trends by establishing the album's dominance over the single. Or so it seems after hearing the Burial-produced "Night Air", which kicks off this album.
On his emergence last year, Jamie Woon seemed to make a virtue of the same minimalist aesthetic that catapulted the xx to stardom in 2010. A Burial remix of Night Air only added to his credentials, giving rise to the notion that Woon – a Brit School alumnus – was of dubstep origin. On Mirrorwriting these notions are swiftly dispatched. This is pop, and as pop, Mirrorwriting showcases a slick but uninventive pastiche of rhythm and soul.
Woon’s debut has taken its time, but the beguiling results have been worth the wait. Paul Clarke 2011 As the stately pace of Mirrorwriting attests, Jamie Woon is not one to rush. And when the four years between his debut single, Wayfaring Stranger, and this first album have produced something so beguiling, it’s clearly been time well spent. Things would probably be quite different for Woon had he’d got his act together sooner.
The Pretty Reckless Usually it falls to the writers to get a character purged from a network television series, but Taylor Momsen, who plays the naïve manipulator Jenny Humphrey on “Gossip Girl,” appears to be taking matters into her own hands. For the last two years her other alter ego has ….