I already knew Steve Spacek was strictly using iPhone apps to make his beats since around the release of the Africa Hi-Tech album, but the liner notes here reveal that all the vocals were recorded straight into an iPhone mic input - holy shit. This process results in a set of delightfully unpolished, precarious but imaginative riddims, the spirit of which hasn’t strayed far since the dusty neo-soul sounds he was churning out as frontman for the trio Spacek and his work with J Dilla, even if the sound design is far more forward thinking (the Good Looking Records font used throughout really drives home the afrofuturism vibe in my typeface nerd brain). It’s a logical continuation from 2018’s Natural Sci-Fi down to the artwork (when I picked up my copy from the warehouse shelf the guys were like “Oh, you got the sith lord record”); Steve’s futuristic R&B is neatly fitted into nine house rhythms (hence the title), and although I could easily see Theo rinsing any number of these tracks, it doesn’t play like a dancefloor record - his natural falsetto and bountiful songwriting is still the plat principal. Check out “Rawl Aredo,” “Tell Me,” “Songlife,” “Waiting 4 U” and “Love 4 Nano.” Released by Kamaal Williams’ Black Focus Records; I get the vibe that Kamaal’s been a huge admirer of Spacek’s for decades, and jumped at the opportunity to put out this record, the first on the label by any artist other than Kamaal himself or one of his close collaborators. 180g black vinyl pressing with download code, recommended.
- black 180g vinyl pressing
- full color printed inner sleeve
- digital download included
- music label: Black Focus Records 2020
reviewed by Billington Lambs 03/2020