My Life Is Like An Island, Neneh Cherry & Afrika Baby Bam.

My Life Is Like An Island, Neneh Cherry & Afrika Baby Bam.

That right there’s the sentiment expressed as Nina peaks with the sort of riveting chorus Prince has tried and failed to come out with for decades now, though the overriding sensation to be derived from this chugging spoken word oeuvre from Neneh Cherry and Nathaniel Hall (better known as insurgent Brooklynite Afrika Baby Bam) is one of snug collaboration. The Jungle Brother brings a sagacious world-weariness to the piece – one incidentally pieced together by none other than Kieran Hebden – as he eulogises the recurrent greatness of life. “It always keeps me smiling” he assures in a gravelled tone of explosive aplomb, while Cherry articulates flustered worries. “Far away from home… Where is home? Home is free to roam! Avenue A; Avenue B; Avenue C, looking at the sea far away from home. Where is home? Where the water is warm!” she agitatedly inquisitions, only for Hall to quell her disquiet with his inert avowals of “ain’t no ships comin’ across this sea to pick up me… ‘Cause I’m free. So beautiful!” Featuring nods to Miles Davis (“I was watching bitches brew wine for breakfast” Cherry trills again perturbed) and rhythms redolent of Hebden’s dear, departed Steve Reid the deciding aesthetic is one of freeform experimentation and fluid avant-garde, all of which combines in what feels an extempore imitation of ineffably jazzy greatness. No man is an island, and Cherry and Hall are decidedly better effective when working alongside one another, for ultimately Nina will doubtless keep you smiling.

A further Four Tet-produced collaborative Cherry endeavour, this time featuring RocketNumberNine, is anticipated later on in the year.

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