Album Review: Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here

February 8, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New HereTitle: I’m New Here
Artist: Gil Scott-Heron
Label: XL
Released: 9 February 2010
In one word: Intriguing

If you were to ask those closest to yours truly to describe me in one word, in the way in which we infamously like to sum things up here at Music Vice, chances are the word “adventurous” wouldn’t pop up much.  Take me to a restaurant and I’m virtually guaranteed to order the same thing every time; I’m definitely someone who likes his comfort zone.  The glaring exception to this rule is art…music, especially.  Yeah, I’m one of those guys who is continually hanging out for the umpteenth Mike Patton project to materialize, and someone who owns every album the once adorably-loony Kate Bush ever released (even the relatively unadventurous last few).

So when I put my hand up to review this new release from 60 year-old jazz legend / “godfather of rap music’ Gil Scott-Heron, it wasn’t because I was in any way familiar with his work, but rather that the press release did something few such things ever do:  in a word, it intrigued me.  And I’m happy to say that in a post-post-post-modern age where nothing is new under the sun, at the very least this is a long way from your typical listening fare!

For an acknowledged jazz maverick, Heron bravely dips his toe into everything from hard-croonin’, rootsy blues to spoken words over atmospheric electronic soundscapes.  And at just under 28 minutes (quite a few of the tracks clocking in under a minute), this doesn’t overstay its welcome like many an album in this day and age of OVERLONG long players.  If you consider yourself to be someone interested in artists who push the boundaries of music, here’s one music veteran who could show the young ’uns (and the aforementioned Ms Bush) a thing or two about what the word “experimental” REALLY means.

© Michael Bowser, Music Vice

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