Kameelah Waheed`s America The Beautiful rocks with a Last Poets-like rhyme and flow. Its infectious, looped funk, paying homage to Jalal Nuriddin in particular. Pointedly positive, protest music, set to start parties, the collaged cuts, and dubbed-out disco details dart around lyrics that recall both Ras Baraka`s An American Poem, and Mike Ladd`s Feb 4. `99. Its ire, perhaps, also owing something to Prince`s epic ode to the US of A. While the original is full-on and frenzied, the accompanying North Street West remix is sleek, slick and smooth. A sophisticated, guitar-picked groove. Less Erykah Badu`s Amerykahn Promise, and more “acid jazz”. Delivering some damn fine Fender Rhodes, and a bad live bass-line, amidst police sirens and orchestration that hints at Lalo Schifrin`s TV and cinema scores, and Deodato`s rendition of Also Sprach Zarathustra – the theme from 2001. This CTI / fusion feel is extended on the NSW Dub, which basically lets the keys solo for an electric five minutes. To be honest, its pretty incredible, and everything that Ashley Beedle, Darren Morris, and Jo Wallace are doing together right now is priceless, and mind-blowing. The perfect production, and magical, measured, musicianship, make for a marvelous melting pot of the last thirty, forty, years of UK club culture. Creating timeless tunes, referencing soul, jazz, house, and disco, and reflecting the trio’s vast combined experience.
A further remix from Bruise is also forthcoming, and to my ears, it might be the best thing that the Christian Campbell-led collective have done yet. From an ambient intro of strings, accapella, and camouflaged choral parts, the rework builds with a classic Chicago boompty boompt bounce. Driven by dynamically diced and sliced piano, and ringing, alien, sci-fi synths, it`s a direct descendent of dynamite Detroit dance-floor destroyers, such as Theo Parrish`s Took Me All The Way Back. Phased and filtered syncopation, snapping like a deep south church congregation clapping. Crafty key changes lifting, and lifting, spirits. As the melody climbs higher, and higher, you’ll, for sure, find that you have to catch your breath.
Kameelah Waheed`s America The Beautiful will be released on August 13th. Preorders are up over at Ramrock Records.