Release Date: May 6, 2013
Record label: Double Six
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Rap
Results may vary, but you know that whatever Damon Albarn associates himself with will never be dull. In the words of The Mighty Boosh’s Howard Moon, when Damon sees a boundary, he eats a boundary. So when it was announced that Blur’s musical polymath would produce and guest on Dutch newcomer The Child Of Lov’s debut, the coupling seemed perfect.A hoarder of sounds – from Prince-y funk to old-school soul, gritty electronics to classical music – Cole Williams occupies the same sonic terrain as his mentor.
Dutch producer and songwriter The Child Of Lov is an artist deeply in love with soul music and its ability to warp itself into many different forms, whether it’s in abstract idiosyncratic hip-hop as evidenced by progressive producers like Madlib and J Dilla, or in the future soul shock of enigmatic performers like Prince and D’Angelo. That brilliant sound of abstract oblique soul has influenced The Child Of Lov to create an intriguingly beguiling debut that is by turns experimental and richly engaging. The Child Of Lov is Amsterdam-based Cole Williams and it is his auteur-like vision, cultivated from years of studying how these masters of production and songwriting applied their skills to key works that gives this debut its striking sense of coherence and lucidity.
Anticipation built around the Child of Lov project when it was announced that the mysterious artist would be teaming with some of the hip-hop underground's finest, including iconic rapper MF DOOM, Flying Lotus bassist Thundercat, and Damon Albarn of the Gorillaz. In fact, by the time The Child of Lov was released, more was known about the guests' involvement than the artist pulling the strings. Fronted by previously unknown 25-year-old graphic design student Cole Williams, the songwriter's debut record proved to be more psychedelic than expected, even weirder than one would expect from the backing clientele.
The Child of Lov (the “Lov” stands for “Light-Oxygen-Voltage”) is Cole Williams, a 25-year-old Dutch producer and musician who has neglected to share much else about himself with us. His online presence, however, reveals a bit more; his Tumblr tells us that he counts early-00s American R&B, Woody Allen movies, and pictures of beautiful famous women eating nachos as interests. We also learn that he is a self-styled reclusive perfectionist.
Acomposite of Gnarls Barkley, the Weeknd and, physically, footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Child of Lov is Cole Williams, a self-styled man of mystery from the Netherlands with a dippy stage name (Lov stands for Light, Oxygen and Voltage) and myriad ideas. In fact, his debut album has too much going on, the strangulated funk of the dynamic Heal sitting uncomfortably with Give it to the People, chart-friendly reggae at its anaemic worst. Still, his pitch-shifted vocals are generally a joy and, assuming he adds discipline to his undoubted vision, the Child of Lov's next album could be very good indeed.
As personal information about The Child of Lov, man Cole Williams continues to rise to the surface, we know a couple of things for sure: he’s Dutch, he loves the human voice and he’s created an incredibly ambitious, soulful avant-garde debut. Over the course of his new eponymous LP it’s clear that he finds human vocals to be just as emotive and expressive as any other instrument. Whether he’s channeling Cee-Lo (as on ‘Heal’) or Prince (as on ‘Warrior’) or surrounding songs with backing vocals, it’s obvious that he wants to be a singer in the most literal sense of the term.
The Child Of Lov is your textbook funk revivalist, electronica-dabbling young artist that spends his time hanging out with Damon Albarn and Doom when he’s not carefully crafting his double identity. Ten-a-penny aren’t they? After a string of mysterious and varied singles, he’s opening the shutters, ever so slightly, just enough to confidently pass through his self-titled debut album and whisper his name, Cole Williams. The album starts with the slow tempo ‘Call Me Up’, introducing elegantly the trademark groove and The Child Of Lov’s impressively sleek falsetto delivery and by the time you’re eased into his vocals he raises the pace with the urgent and spiky ‘Heal’.