Seven Davis Jr - Universes
From time to time a DJ or producer comes along who transcends a particular scene, bridges the gap between disparate movements and unites tribal music fans. Seven has that talismanic quality. His productions have a rawness... a loose-knit, lolloping groove that seduces even the most steadfastly stubborn of hips. Seven Davis Jr releases his debut album 'Universes' via Ninja Tune - his most honest and heartfelt musical statement to date. Recorded in LA, San Francisco, Amsterdam and London, it's a unique exploration of his musical landscape, traversing tempos and flipping styles with typical panache but always embedded in the bedrock of soul and funk. Deeply personal, the record brings a positive message rooted in freedom, integrity and self-improvement. When he's making straight ahead house music, the swing is reminiscent of classic Todd Edwards and the drums bump 'n' shuffle like Tuff Jam and Derrick Carter. And the vocals... well at times it's like he's channeling the spirit of George Clinton, offset with the sweet character of Peven Everett - the perfect balance of rough and smooth - it's that undeniable funk that hooks in the hip-hop fans, the cats that don't generally mess with 'house' music. 'Good Vibes' (featuring Julio Bashmore) nails this dynamic in a whirlwind 3 mins 18 secs that recalls Daft Punk at their boisterous best - proof that sometimes all you need is a chopped-up disco loop and a hook. Elsewhere on 'Universes' Seven brings a similar soulful energy that Moodymann or Theo Parrish purvey. 'Sunday Morning' picks up where Seven's 'Wild Hearts' 12" left off, a mighty ditty with the cheeky mantra "I bet ya never had a love like this before?" sitting pretty upon bustling drums and bass punctuated with snatches of guitar. "It's about having healthy confidence in yourself and what you can offer the world," says Seven. There are more introspective moments on the record too - such as 'Fighters' and 'Afterlife' (featuring Kutmah) - that explore murkier downtempo depths. Seven refers to them as 'ballads'. Seven is a unifying force and the well of support for his endeavours runs deep, from Mos Def to Four Tet to Julio Bashmore and way beyond. As an intergalactic soul record Universes delivers on all fronts, admirably showcasing the breadth and depth of Seven Davis Jr's productions and the honesty and humour that makes his music so instantly recogniseable. Catch him in this cosmos before he jets off to another time and space.