“I have no idea how many times I’ve been asked what I call my music. Or how many jokes I have thought up to substitute for a serious answer: ‘I call it collect,’ I might say.” Spirits was Gil Scott-Heron’s only album released in the 1990s, and his first new album in more than a decade, succeeded only by the contemporary classic I’m New Here released 16 years later. Anyone entranced by the modern production of that one should really dig into this, though, and find that he had already covered a lot of the same ground with considerably less pretense. Gil plays it close to the chest with only a handful of new originals, most of which find him delivering characteristically sobering monologues over fine-tuned trip hop and downtempo beats, circling back on his classic output while simultaneously recognizing the modern sounds that wouldn’t be possible without it. A new 20+ minute live version of Gil’s own “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” encompasses the entire C side, with new arrangement and several revelatory new verses. And then there’s the title track; his inventive tribute to John Coltrane is 8 sublime minutes of immaculate jazz undertowed by rubbery synth bass and Gil’s buttery vocals; it’s GSH at perhaps his jazziest. Also check out “Message To The Messengers,” “Lady’s Song,” “Don’t Give Up” or the Ali Shaheed-produced “Work For Peace.” The original 1994 vinyl pressing of the album sadly omitted “Lady’s Song” and “Work For Peace,” squeezing the remaining tracks onto a single LP. The full tracklisting is now available on wax for the first time ever, spread out onto two LPs pressed on red colored vinyl to celebrate the album’s 25th anniversary. Includes fold-out insert with full album lyrics and liner notes by Gil himself - R.I.P. Recommended.
- red colored double vinyl pressing
- 25th anniversary edition
- includes foldout insert w/ lyrics + liner notes
- limited edition
- music label: TVT 2019
reviewed by him downstairs 07/2019
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