We have been lucky enough to review the magnificent latest release by Charles Robinson. It is labelled in the Jazz genre but we feel this is unfair. This album transcends many genres and it feels as though it is Jazz being redefined and innovated for 2018.
The album opens with the track, ‘Hypernova’. It is a beat-heavy song with the bass dancing in the background. The piano plays chords with gorgeous 7ths and then we hear an organ filling the sound with luscious, unpredictable solos. The song is driven with the drums, the high hats are fast and reliable and the snare offers a crack with an abundance of double hits. This creates its own texture and interest.
This is swiftly followed by another of our favourite tracks, ‘Khemet’. It is a shift in feel with a heavily syncopated kick drum which emphasises a strong hip-hop influence. It is laid back and mysterious in nature with a gorgeous double bass with bent notes which nod back again to the jazz feel.
We also adored the track, ‘Sumer 81’ which has a Trapp influence in the drums with gorgeous synths, a jazz piano over the top and a skatty piano solo. Bliss. ‘Strange Fruit’ is a distant cousin from Nina Simone’s same-titled infamous song but is brilliant in its own way. It has a Drum and Bass feel again with the addition of electronic keyboards and mesmerising percussion. ‘Keep it Real’ funky to its core, it will have you reaching for the repeat button in no time – I know we were!
Our favourite song was, ‘Black heart’ because it featured very Rock sounding drums but it is still mainly defined by the keys and bass. The minor key is sad and mysterious and the track slowly builds layers and textures. It also leaves spaces when needed. These can add as much detail as riffs can when used in such a complex way as they have been on ‘A Brave New World’.
In conclusion, ‘A Brave New World’ is Jazz/Drumnbass/Trapp/Rock at their very finest! Charles Robinson is the type of talent who will keep on evolving and reinventing himself. You are never 100 per cent sure what will come next but that is part of the joy and the journey of discovery which the listener goes on while listening.
With a release as strong as this one, we can not wait to hear what will come next from this very special artist.
Reviewed by FVReviews October 2018