Friday, 13 May 2011

Tell Me A Tale - Michael Kiwanuka

Today I take a break from my usual remit of bringing you lost and forgotten albums and try something a bit different, but still mining a similar vein. If you are anything like I am, music is very strongly connected to emotions, people, places and certain times. Usually these connections happen by chance and it’s not really a conscious decision. I’ve decided to change that. I don’t like the fact that my subconscious is making these links for me. I don’t trust it not to link some of my favourite songs with painful memories or to soundtrack the happier times with a third rate Britney Spears single. So I have made a conscious decision to have emerging British singer/songwriter, Michael Kiwanuka’s soon to be released song “Tell Me A Tale” as my soundtrack to this summer. Now I know I usually write about stuff that no one has paid attention to for a while and it may seem like I’m unfairly saying that this song will just disappear. I’m not. In fact I’m pretty confident that this is solid gold hit material. But, Michael is a new artist and the track isn’t out until later this year so technically it still counts as something you haven’t heard….yet. Also this is my self indulgent music blog and I’ll write about what I want thank you very much!

You could be forgiven for thinking that this song is decades old. It sounds like it was lifted straight off of a late 60’s soul record. Marvin Gaye or Bill Withers could easily have record this. The sounds, the arrangement and the melody are almost all perfectly lifted from the time period. Right from the flourishes of flute in the intro and verses through to the plucked bass guitar in chorus, that for some reason really strongly reminds me of the choppy guitar part in Laura Nyro’s slice of genius “Stoned Soul Picnic”. Even Michael’s voice seems eerily retro. Perhaps it’s just the tone of the reverb or the microphone they used to record it but there is something wonderfully classic about the way his voice sounds. This song has all the hallmarks of a soul classic. Except that it was recorded last year. Even the video, filmed on super 8 by Michael and a friend of his whilst on tour, takes it’s cues from the past.

This song is designed for summer listening. The breezy flute lines, the softly strummed acoustic guitar and the beautiful sunny chorus are perfect for wandering around a park in the sun or sitting in the back garden with friends. It is a fantastic summer tune, so there is no doubt in my mind that it should be associated with sun, friends and good times.

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