Kamaal Williams` Wu Hen, on his own Black Focus, is another musical document of duality, that hankers after harmony. Yinging its yang, and yanging its ying. Segueing between streetwise urban funk and beautiful orchestral arrangements. Strings care of Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, harp courtesy of Alina Bzhezhinska. Katalyst Collective`s Greg Paul on drum dynamics. Sounds which should perhaps be contrasting but actually move so smoove that you can’t hear the join. Thumbed b-lines, flashes of fleet horn, simply dissolve into stretches of karma calm. And versa vice-a. Pigalle – its title a nod to Williams` collaboration with Stephane Ashpool`s clothing line of the same name – fucking flies like Bird, Coltrane, be-bopping in triple time. Quinn Mason’s sax given free reign over a simple acoustic piano repeat, and contrabass run. Early Prayers balances this mad modal moment. That sax and Kamaal`s beatless keys accompanying a badman recounting his tale of a narrow escape.
Lauren Faith`s ballad, Hold On – `bout being no one but yourself – has its rhythm reduced to a finger snap swing. Powerful bass notes provided by “Big” Rick Leon James. A cool that’s countered by the techno tempo, and chords, of the wild Mr Wu, which together with the electric boogie of Save Me, is a definitive dancer. Both flipping the “inner”, their destination outer space.
You can order a copy of Kamaal Williams` Wu Hen directly from Black Focus.