Mansur Brown is an incredible guitarist. As a member of Tri-force he contributed one of the standouts on this year`s We Out Here collection. A set which shone a spotlight on London`s thriving young Jazz community. As an integral part of the now, sadly, disbanded Yussef Kamaal he helped to create Black Focus. With the band`s Yussef Dayes, Mansur recently worked with Toshio Matsuura (Ex of United Future Organization). Reinterpretting classics by Carl Craig, Flying Lotus, Roni Size, and Kruder & Dorfmeister. He has played on sides by Alfa-Mist, and Little Simz. Shiroi is his solo debut. Its Japanese title could be a reflection of his ninja-like skills. His “voice”, at least as far as my limited reference points go, is pretty unique. The press release cites Hendrix. But I don’t hear that. His notes are pinched, and clear. More often than not, high, and picked, hammered-on, harmonics, from way down the neck. Only rarely are they fuzzed-out, Purple-Haze`d. And when they are, when it all goes off, it`s more Ernie Isley. Maybe there`s a touch of Prince – but I say that about almost everyone – and perhaps that`s down to the Sign Of The Times nature of the production. Sparse. Just drum machine, bass, and guitar. B-line growling. Rhythm jittering and stuttering. Between R&B, ohm-like pulses, clipped chicken scratch Funk, and bin-blowing drops. Listening in both “Wow!”, and envy, I try to imagine how fast his fingers are moving. `Cos he can shred. Throwing out arcing, dancing, echoed microtone, nanotone, improvisations. Pulling in comparisons to Joe Satriani. When he slows right down he`s John Frusciante, I concede, borrowing from Jimi`s Little Wing, intro-ing The Chilli Pepper`s Under The Bridge.
You can order a copy of Shiroi directly here.