Brixton-born, classically trained guitarist, Mansur Brown first came to Ban Ban Ton Ton`s attention as a member of Tri-force, when his serious shredding made their Walls one of the standouts on Brownswood`s We Out Here comp. Since then he’s produced two solo LPs, and sessioned with a long-list of talented folks, such as Alfa-Mist, Yussef Dayes, Toshio Matsuura, Little Simz, Harvey Sutherland, and Kamaal Williams. Mansur`s third album, NAQI, is being released, initially, as a pair of E.P.s / mixtapes, Vol.1 of which is out now.
Opening with Middle Eastern, Turkish guitar figures, a Tuareg twist – reminiscent of Missy Elliot getting her good god molly-ed freak on – these unfold into complex flamenco filigree, performed with incredible dexterity. Elegant, intricate, interwoven, overdubbed arcs then taking the music somewhere more ethereal. Creating dreamy drifts of icy Robin Guthrie / Cocteau Twins delay. Keys adding the colour of strings, cello and violin, even accordion.
Beats are broken, bass heavy, loops. Slow, spare, sparse, programmed tribal rhythms. In places, again, cut up a little like classic Timbaland. All the while chords are constantly cascading as fingers fly up and down frets. Working with radical, way out, tunings, conjuring what sound like improvised licks. Displaying Durutti Column-esque auteur originality. The gentle, graceful, picking and plucking, bent and hammered-on, harp-like notes, conducted with righteous Vini Reilly-like rigor. Jazz and fusion flickering within a fluid 21st Century R&B framework. Wistful woodwinds synergising sublimely with the axe. Synths morphing, melting, into new age glissando.
NAQI Vol. 1 is out now, digitally, on Mansur`s AMAI Records. Vol. 2 will follow shortly, while vinyl is due at the end of November.