REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Romare's 'Projections'; A Fusion Of Hip-Hop, Gospel, Tribal & Rag-Time

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Romare’s interests in African American culture and roots, are apparent from this fantastical mix of all things dance floor, experimental and traditional music. From the titles of the tracks we gauge an almost ‘story like’ chronology throughout, despite the lack of extensive lyrics with titles such as, ‘Nina’s charm’, ‘Work song’ and ‘Prison blues’.

Each piece accurately captures the atmosphere of it’s name for example, in ‘work song’, Romare uses an almost ‘tin like’ piano sample to create what resembles a tool hammering away. ‘Motherless child’ opens up to beats and a riff so catchy that it works so well just as it is without the need for manoeuvre. However, when lyrics of the traditional Negro spiritual come in to the mix, ‘sometimes I feel like a motherless child’, the fusion really does work and it gives this track a true sense of purpose.

The sound of old crackling vinyl in ‘Roots’ sets a rustic and old fashioned tone to this really quite dark piece. If there were any specific genres here then these boundaries have been broken to blur them all together in a smudge of hip-hop, house, gospel, tribal and even rag-time music. This is the best thing about it - not knowing where to place it, giving it’s nature a sense of deeply rooted mystery. Romare is the king of suspense bringing a well positioned pause and ‘drop’ to many of the tracks.

A soft and graceful contrast to the previous track is ‘Jimmy’s lament’,showing Romare’s ability to really take the tone down to a more mellow and really quite heavenly atmosphere. Throughout the mix of tune, the tempo fluctuates throughout in a consistently sporadic way, dipping us into a new feel which makes the whole album actually flow so graciously.

’Rainbow' is certainly the groovy dancefloor track of the collection. The samples used throughout keep it in context with the traditional ragtime piano 'rifs' and bluesy guitar. However a 90's feel is added with the female vocals .. and why not? He seems to have the right attitude to the way he makes music; if it sounds good with the track, then add it in!

Overall, a top quality selection of well produced tracks, each with depth and structure which, along with the inspiration of African-American culture, has given the album meaning. Romare has hit the nail on the head here and this should be one of the big albums for 2015.

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Words by Poppy Jones