|Neneh Cherry — Blank Project|
Neneh Cherry — Blank Project
••≈ First album of solo music in 18 years. It was recorded and mixed over a 5-day period. It was produced by Four Tet and features a guest appearance by Robyn. It is a departure from her previous work, consisting of a more sparse sound, with loose drums and a few synthesizers as the only accompaniment to her voice. To promote the album, she announced a European tour for February and March 2014.
Birth name: Neneh Mariann Karlsson
Born: 10 March 1964 in Stockholm, Sweden
Location: Stockholm, Sweden ~ Pudsey, West Yorkshire, England ~ Long Island City, New York City, United States ~ London, England
Genre: Electronic, Hip Hop, Trip Hop, Alternative
Album release: February 24th, 2014
Record Label: Smalltown Supersound
01. Across the Water 3:30
02. Blank Project 4:06
03. Naked 3:58
04. Spit Three Times 4:20
05. Weightless 5:48
06. Cynical 4:12
07. 422 5:22
08. Out of the Black (feat. Robyn) 5:17
09. Dossier 5:13
10. Everything 7:22
11. Out of the Black (feat. Robyn) 7:40
℗ 2013 Smalltown Supersound
Producer: Four Tet
••≈ Last fall, Neneh Cherry made an exciting announcement — she was returning with her first album of solo material in more than 16 years. A collaboration with RocketNumberNine, and produced by Four Tet, the ten–track album, titled Blank Project, was recorded and mixed in five days. Today, Neneh reveals the lead single, “Out of the Black” featuring kindred spirit Robyn.
••≈ “Out of the Black” features Neneh and Robyn harmonizing together and throwing lines back and forth. Production by Four Tet and minimal synth and drum work by RocketNumberNine underpin the sweet vocal work of the two iconic Swedish artists. Before now, the two have been vocal about inspiring each other, with Robyn covering Neneh’s songs in her live shows. One need only check the history of Neneh putting a subversive foot forward and letting popular music catch up. Growing up around father Don Cherry’s friends Miles Davis and Allen Ginsburg, she launched her solo career with a Falkland’s protest song called “Stop The War.” In the early 80s, she was in the pioneering multi-ethnic, anarchic, post–punk group, Rip Rig + Panic; she brought hip–hop culture to a British audience with “Buffalo Stance” (redefining cool by performing pregnant on “Top of the Pops”) and had the first global hit to feature the Senegalese language, Wolof, “7 Seconds.” With “Out of the Black” featuring Robyn and a remix by dance floor maven Joe Goddard (Hot Chip, 2Bears) still to come, Neneh is emerging out of the black with another vital blast of buzzing cold music.
Fortaken: (http://www.smalltownsupersound.com/) © Photo credit: Eddie Monsoon
••≈ While her energy and demeanor may not have changed since the days of Rip Rig + Panic, musically, Blank Project is a departure from anything Neneh has previously done, initially written as a means of working through personal tragedy. What stands out upon first listen is the album’s sparseness: loose drums and a few synthesizers are the only accompaniment to Neneh’s wildly poetic, sometimes–spoken, sometimes–screeching, soul–flooded and raw vocals. The space created by this minimal aesthetic leaves room for occasional pistes and flurries of rapid, yet throbbing and thunderous instrumentation. Featuring combined elements of beat poetry, avant–electronica and beautiful vocal melodies, it’s a record that uses simple ideas to create something entirely original. And despite the personal struggles Neneh was working through in writing this new material, the songs are far from introverted.
••≈ As many are aware, the stories from Neneh’s early years are astonishing. She spent her childhood living 50/50 between a loft in New York and in the South of Sweden with her mother and stepfather, the legendary jazz musician Don Cherry. She's been lifted onto Miles Davis’ lap, Allen Ginsberg regularly passed through their home in an evening and as she got older, she could pop in on Arthur Russell, Talking Heads and The Modern Lovers who all lived in the same loft complex in Long Island City, New York.
••≈ At 14, she started taking trips to Harlem with Ari Up of the Slits at a time when few would venture so far uptown. Soon after, she left home and moved to London, and spent the next 20 years inside the crucial developments in British subculture. As post-punk became the site of 80s Britain’s artistic and political resistance, she helped form the anarchic multi–ethnic, multi-genre Rip, Rig + Panic, and she was one of the first to bring hip–hop culture to a British audience with “Buffalo Stance” and Raw Like Sushi. Although at points her career had brushes with the mainstream, Neneh remained staunchly counter–culture.
••≈ Through post–punk’s adherence to mixed–race line–ups and anti–government stance, to UK rap’s refusal of the conventions of pop, trip-hop’s connection with the politicized elements of rave culture and, through 1996’s Man, where Neneh introduced elements of Senegalese language to mainstream audiences for the first time via the mammoth “7 Seconds” single featuring Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour, and now, with Blank Project, Neneh continues to arrive at moments in musical history when there is an opportunity to subvert ideas of popular culture. She is subverting once again, only this time, although this record is musically bold, Neneh sees the stasis she’s challenging isn’t musical or societal, but her own.
••≈ The stepdaughter of jazz trailblazer Don Cherry, vocalist Neneh Cherry forged her own groundbreaking blend of pop, dance, and hip–hop, presaging the emergence of both alternative rap and trip–hop. She was born Neneh Mariann Karlssson on March 10, 1964, in Stockholm, Sweden, the daughter of West African percussionist Amadu Jah and artist Moki Cherry. Raised by her mother and her trumpeter stepfather in both Stockholm and New York City, Cherry dropped out of school at age 14, and in 1980 she relocated to London to sing with the punk group the Cherries.
••≈ Following brief flings with the Slits and the Nails, she joined the experimental funk outfit Rip Rig + Panic, and appeared on the group's albums God (1981), I Am Cold (1982), and Attitude (1983). When the band broke up, Cherry remained with one of the spinoff groups, Float Up CP, and led them through one album, 1986's Kill Me in the Morning. The band proved short-lived, however, and Cherry began rapping in a London club, where she earned the attention of a talent scout who signed her to a solo contract. Her first single, "Stop the War," railed against the invasion of the Falkland Islands.
••≈ After attracting some notice singing backup on the The's "Slow Train to Dawn" single, she became romantically and professionally involved with composer and musician Cameron McVey, who, under the alias Booga Bear, wrote much of the material that would comprise Cherry's 1989 debut LP, Raw Like Sushi. One song McVey did not write was "Buffalo Stance," the album's breakthrough single; originally tossed off as a B–side by the mid-'80s pop group Morgan McVey, Cherry's cover was an international smash that neatly summarized the album's eclectic fusion of pop smarts and hip–hop energy.
••≈ A pair of hits — the eerie "Manchild" and "Kisses on the Wind" — followed, but shortly after the record's release Cherry was sidelined with Lyme disease, and apart from a cover of Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin" for the 1990 Red Hot + Blue benefit album, she remained silent until 1992's Homebrew. A more subdued collection than Raw Like Sushi, it featured cameos from Gang Starr and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, as well as writing and production assistance from Geoff Barrow, who layered the track "Somedays" with the same distinct trip–hop glaze he later perfected as half of the duo Portishead. While the album was not as commercially successful as its predecessor, Cherry returned to the charts in 1994 duetting with Youssou N'Dour on the global hit "Seven Seconds."
••≈ After another lengthy layoff spent raising her children, she resurfaced with the atmospheric Man in 1996. A remix version of the album, simply titled Remixes, would follow in 1998; then family life became a priority once again, with some guest appearances (including the 1998 single "Walk into this Room" with Live's Edward Kowalczyk and a guest spot on Peter Gabriel's 2000 album OVO) and work with her husband Burt Ford band's Cirkus carrying her into the new millennium. She returned in 2012 with The Cherry Thing, an album in which she fronted the Thing, the experimental Scandinavian jazz trio whose founding mission was to play her stepfather's music.
••≈ In 2013 Cherry collaborated with London duo RocketNumberNine on their albumMeYouWeYou. She also joined them to perform the entire album live at the Manchester International Festivalin July 2013. In 2014, she prepared her long–awaited fourth studio album, Blank Project. Produced by electronic artist Four Tet, the record was recorded with Rocketnumbernine and featured a collaboration with Swedish artist Robyn.
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••≈ Cherry married The Bank drummer Bruce Smith in 1983 and their daughter Naima was also born that year. They divorced in 1984. Their daughter Naima is a London–based photographer, who in 2004 had son Louis Clyde Flynn Love. In 1987 Cherry met producer Cameron McVey at Heathrow Airport. Cherry and McVey were en route to Japan, as fashion models as part of London designer Ray Petri's Buffalo Posse. Cherry proposed, and the two married in 1990. Together they have daughters Tyson, born in 1989, and Mabel, born in 1996. Their relationship is also work–related, as McVey produced and co–wrote Raw Like Sushi; together they have supported a variety of British acts; and they are in the group cirKus together. Her stepson Marlon Roudette fronts the British duo Mattafix.
••≈ The Cherry–McVeys have lived throughout Europe. In 1993 they moved to Spain. In 1992, they briefly attempted to live in New York. They bought a home in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York. Soon after moving in, the couple was held up at gunpoint and robbed by a teenage bandit. The entire family packed up again and headed back to London's Primrose Hill. They next returned to Cherry's childhood home in Sweden; living in the same schoolhouse turned home (featured in Homebrew album artwork) that Cherry studied in as a child. They have a country house near Birmingham and Wolverhampton, apartments in London and Stockholm plus the old schoolhouse in Skåne County.
•• Raw Like Sushi (1989)
•• Homebrew (1992)
•• Man (1996)
•• Blank Project (2014)
•• Laylow (2006)
•• Medicine (2009)
With The Thing:
•• The Cherry Thing (2012)
|Neneh Cherry — Blank Project|