Jamie Woon makes his return, 4 years after his eponymous debut, “Mirrorwriting” with new album, “Making Time”. His previous LP, with Burial co-produced breakthrough “Night Air” was a favourite to work to post graduation in my home studio around 2011. Thankfully that feeling has returned as I got to sit down and press play on the new work in my space at LOFT. If you aren’t familiar with Woon’s work, he describes it as “…R&B, it's groove-based vocal-led music…” With this new album, we get more of the same, and it’s superb.
Beautiful album opener, “Message” sets the tone. Woon’s vocal, rich and lifted when paired with meaningful lyricism and exquisite production. The 90’s soul vibe is the heartbeat of the album which is unsurprising given the claims that D’Angelo was a major influence while recording. Particular elements are given an opportunity to flex at times though. A tough bassline grove develops on “Movement” before breaking down to build up again in a sophisticated ensemble driven by clacking drums, acoustic guitars and horns. “Sharpness” which I first heard on Pharrell’s Beats One show, Othertone around a month ago, is somewhat of a calling card for the project in my eyes. It embodies everything the album is communicating succinctly. You can listen to both tracks live from his Konk Studio Sessions, below.
“Celebration” is just that. One of my favourite tracks on here. It’s progression is simply joyous, with Willy Mason contributing his vocals to the mix. “Lament” missed the mark for me upon the first few listen as I found it a little too reductive but it’s not offensive. “Forgiven” picks up the baton again, playing with vocal elements and rhythmic subtleties atop easy going guitars. “Little Wonder” and “Thunder” didn’t grasp me upon first listen but I do believe their inclusion is valid in pushing the project forth to it’s conclusion. The vocal harmonies, bassline, shakers and handclaps on "Skin" make for a head bobbing timeless piece that leaves you wanting more as the end draws near.
The outro to the album, “Dedication” is sheer brilliance. It’s other worldly in fact, melodically driven, buoyed up by repetitious lyrics and finesses the album well. I’ve thrown it back to the start more than a few times already. Overall, “Making Time” is an extremely cohesive body of work amongst a single driven market. Woon seems to march to the beat of his own drum though so no mind. As he said,
On a sidenote, the album artwork is intriguing and I can’t quite put my finger on why it fits the sonics of the piece so well. If anyone deciphers that, let me know.
If you can, I strongly recommend picking up "Making Time" and you can obviously do so through all the major channels. Cheers for reading.