1.: Windmills Intro
2.: Give Thanks - Kero One & Niamaj
3.: Musical Journey
4.: My Story
5.: In A Dream
6.: Ain't That Somethin'
8.: In All The Wrong Places
9.: Keep It Alive
10.: Cycle Repeats
11.: Fly Fly Away
12.: It's A New Day
13.: Check The Blueprints
Windmills of The Soul is Kero One’s debut album and the Plug Label’s first full-length release. In addition to the vocals, Mr One is also responsible for the scratching, bass, Moog, synths and the Fender Rhodes playing. Apart from some guest vocals this guy is pretty much self-contained but you wouldn’t think so from the full on soulful sound.
Kero One is massive in Japan with his blend of jazz inspired beats and upbeat, non-aggressive lyrics. His music is also supported by the likes of Questlove, Mitsu the Beats, Beat Junkies and Gilles Peterson. Now as to whether or not this means that his debut, ‘Windmills of the Soul’, makes him an established name in Europe is yet to be seen. Personally I can’t quite get into it, though I can appreciate the effort. I don’t know if it’s the lyrics or the seen before jazz inspiration in the beats, but a whole album of it gets tiring after a while.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything good on the 13 tracks from this LP. With production credits going to Kero, apart from 2 tracks laced by DJ King Most, and featuring live instrumentation and session samples that keep the live feel throughout, the music itself can be enjoyable, though it does border on the repetitive at times. If jazzy, laid back beats are your thing this is likely to strike a chord.
The rhyming is also all handled by Kero, with wide ranging subjects delivered with an upbeat tone and unique accent that seems to me as if he’d be unable to make something sound dark or gritty even if he was rhyming about killing or deranged sexual fantasies.
So in conclusion if you like your hip hop with jazz and live influences, at times upbeat, mellow and downtempo then be sure to check Kero’s offering, however if all this sounds a bit déjà vu to you then you’re probably best to avoid it.
The album begins with the slightly long, but beautifully chilled 'Windmills Intro'. If the track was any more laid back it'd make you fall asleep, in a good way. The first time we get to hear the artist is on 'Give Thanks' featuring Niama. The lyricism is solid and the flow is tight, with similarities to Canadian MC Abdominal. From the start, there's a clear indication of the type of artist and album that this is. It's all about sensual beats and humble, dare I say 'backpack' orientated vocals.
'Musical Journey' is a story telling song with some really smooth saxophone in the beat. 'My Story' is, as the title suggests, quite introspective, with some nice light choices of drum sounds. 'Like A Dream' implements some mildy pitched up vocals which I would have assumed the artist was above using. Still, it's a dope track full of more first person tales. 'Ain't That Somethin?' simply sounds fantastic. It's an instrumental showcasing outstanding production, this time with a vaguely funk flavoured hiphop offering.
On the piano based 'In All The Wrong Places', Kero approaches the lyrics with a slightly different flow as he raps through verses of a romantic leaning. 'Keep It Live!' is a more energetic number, although the album could have benefited from it being far more exciting at this point in the laid back track listing. 'The Cycle Repeats' is based around the topic of graffiti and has a simple but effective head nodding loop based beat.
'Fly Fly Away' has a really warm bass line and economic percussion whilst 'Its a New Day' is a very strong instrumental which gets increasingly enjoyable throughout. Everything about it is great, from the saxophone, to drums, to background vocals and awesome guitar. 'Check The Blueprints' concludes the album, although the previous instrumental would have been just as suitable. Here, Kero One raps about his take on the state of hiphop and his reaction to people who felt hiphop sucked. There's some nice squeaky scratching towards the end of the track which rounds things off nicely.
The more you listen to the album, the more you feel Kero One is a musician first and rapper second. That's not to say his rapping is poor. It's far from it. He's simply talented and knowledgeable of music enough to create the perfect balance between vocals and his own extremely impressive, inspiring and high quality production. A lot of people try creating hiphop with the kind of angle here, but it often falls short or simply results in sounding pretentious or desperate. This is an exception, and a fine example of how it's done best.
Un album che a me piace molto,io lo consiglio vivamente.Poi puo' dipendere dai gusti non sara' un classico pero' e' un buonissimo album da scoprire.LYRICS 7 BEAT 8,5 TOTAL 8/10 per me.
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