released May 18th, 2010

from the album - Completely Exposed

from all music

British producer Jamie Lidell became as widely recognized for his effective neo-soul vocals and performances as for his earlier career as a producer of groovy experimental techno. After some EP releases for labels such as Mosquito and an appearance on the Mille Plateaux-released Industrialsamplecoregouchbeat compilation, Lidell collaborated with equally well-known techno producer Cristian Vogel as Super_Collider in 1999. Following this project, most noteworthy for the popular track "Darn (Cold Way o' Lovin')," Lidell recorded a solo album for Warp in 2000, Muddlin Gear. Five years later, still on Warp, he pursued an organic neo-soul direction for Multiply, heavily assisted by fellow instrumentalist and producer Mocky. 2008's Jim was similar in approach and sounded much more natural than its predecessor. For 2010's Compass, Lidell changed directions once again, employing the likes of Beck, Feist, and members of Grizzly Bear; its lead song, the title track, was a rather spacy folk-blues epic.

album review

The early reports on Compass trumpeted the fact that Beck was involved (his credit is additional production), but Jamie Lidell is hardly a musician who needs the expertise -- he has a voice that's soulful and spirited like few in contemporary music, and his production skills were knocking out fans and critics before they even knew he could sing. If anything, the magic that Lidell & co. create on Compass is a more varied trip through music-making than on 2008's Jim. If that record could be criticized (and it wasn't, not much), it could be said that Lidell and co-conspirator Mocky created an excellent soul record -- and just that. Compass is not a neo-soul record by any means. Its productions crank and wheeze like Lidell's work with Super_Collider, and although there's a long list of musicians on each track -- including Feist, Nikka Costa, and Chilly Gonzalez -- the result sounds more like a pick-up session in an alleyway than a studio super-session. Lidell's also grown as a songwriter, creating introspective material on "Completely Exposed" and virtually the entire second half that go well beyond what he was capable of earlier. As on any good Beck record, Compass finds time for everything from R&B to hard rock to the type of gut-bucket experimental rock that Tom Waits would be proud of. The big difference is in the vocal performances. It's clear that Lidell is wearing his heart on his sleeve here, and we see a portrait of a person, not a personality.

Track Listing

1 Completely Exposed Lidell 3:24
2 Your Sweet Boom Lidell 3:13
3 She Needs Me Lidell 5:55
4 I Wanna Be Your Telephone Lidell, Snax 3:29
5 Enough's Enough Lidell 2:55
6 The Ring Lidell 3:44
7 You Are Waking Lidell 3:42
8 I Can Love Again Lidell 2:10
9 It's a Kiss Lidell 3:47
10 Compass Lidell 5:33
11 Gypsy Blood Lidell 2:16
12 Coma Chameleon Hansen, Lidell 3:20
13 Big Drift Beck, Feist, Lidell 4:45
14 You Are My Light Lidell 2:09