Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bilal "Airtight's Revenge"

So much can be said about Bilal, but all that really needs to be said is that the man sings. Blessed with quite possibly the best voice of modern times, I’ve always said the only person making soul music today is him. While he hasn’t had the best luck in this industry, he has managed to stay relevant through a decade of music biz politics to see his sophomore album finally be released.

Airtight’s Revenge was the perfect soundtrack to my Saturday morning and with the sun shining bright a track like “All Matter” with its faced pace and soaring feel thanks to an assortment of sound effects playing in the back ground bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. Music that evokes feeling isn’t forgotten. Bilal sings in his own method, jumping around, harmonizing at times and other times letting his voice crack a bit. Towards the end of the song they fade his vocals, drop much of the beat and give you a cold drum break. Great.

Bilal co-produces and wrote pretty much the entire record and that continuity is evident as the record plays through its eleven tracks as if they were part of one big suite. Songs musically connect to each other and you will never not be moved by the grooves laid down here. All the drums here sound live, and that would explain the heaviness with which they hit. Sometimes subdued, sometimes not - the drums are always big and powerful, child of hip hop he still is.

For me, 1st Born Second stood out towards the end as he got heavy on the psychedelic soul side and really worked out some demons through his art. While Bilal never gets as heavy musically here we can hear the same ideas flushed out by someone who has spent the last ten years perfecting their craft. Gone are the flourishes of youthful bliss, and in their place concentrated sound designs.

Bilal conveys many moods as this record plays out. It jumps from dark and eerie to fun and danceable without a moments notice. And it never feels awkward. He orchestrates this tunes to fit his desires and as you ride with him you are taken in by the power of it all. A message is being delivered here, Bilal wants you to listen, think and consider life - it’s a blessing for you to enjoy and learn from.

Airtight’s Revenge can’t be spoken of more highly by me. You won’t be disappointed nor unconnected to the content of his words, he may sing with the best of em but he comes across through his tunes as “just a man working every day to be a better man.” We all go through struggles, the best musicians have always turned that into music for the generations. Bilal is no different.

Get to your favorite local record store and cop this!

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