I, Ced - All In My Mind

I, Ced
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One of the year’s most anticipated releases from the Record Breakin’ Records roster, producer/composer I’Ced debut, All In My Mind, is an eclectic, occasionally bewildering brew of new age soul. Part ‘60s psychedelic, part underground hip hop, and all the way avant-garde, the project defies classification. The St. Louis born and bred artist who has worked alongside such hipster darlings as Coultrain and Black Spade and been quietly refining his craft behind the scenes at LaFace and Hidden Beach, delivers an album with all the makings of a modern day Roy Ayers.

One of the year’s most anticipated releases from the Record Breakin’ Records roster, producer/composer I’Ced debut, All In My Mind, is an eclectic, occasionally bewildering brew of new age soul. Part ‘60s psychedelic, part underground hip hop, and all the way avant-garde, the project defies classification. The St. Louis born and bred artist who has worked alongside such hipster darlings as Coultrain and Black Spade and been quietly refining his craft behind the scenes at LaFace and Hidden Beach, delivers an album with all the makings of a modern day Roy Ayers.

A mix of electro-soul instrumentals and steady vocal tracks, I, Ced is best when he channels his inner Beatles meets The Fifth Dimension, like on the sumptuous lead single, “All In My Mind (feat. Stopha Vasquez),” delivering a very contemporary take on the wall of sound technique. As an instrumentalist he can be repetitive to a fault. Still, the hip hop inspired, beat driven tunes have a clear artistry, like the haunting “Fly,” that owes a debt to hip hop elders like Dilla and free jazz legends like Pharaoh Sanders. Lyrically eccentric, there are frequent allusions to war: metaphors about love as a battlefield abound that work sometimes (“Soldier Ready 2 Go” and “Love is the Conqueror”) sometimes less so (“Love + War”), depending on how important accuracy in vocals and harmony are to you. The reverb heavy songs sound as if nearly everything but the milder “Love is the Conqueror” was recorded in an echo chamber, often making these astral productions the progeny of early psychedelic acts like The Rotary Connection. Highly melodic if sometimes too heavily reliant on hooky refrains and impressive harmonic backdrops to carry less stable verses, I, Ced is off to an audacious start on his bold debut, inviting at least one progressive soul fan to want to eagerly hear more. Recommended.

Notable Songs: “Fly,” “All in My Mind,” “Love is the Conqueror,” and “She’s Gone.”

Vocals: 2.5 stars
Lyrics: 3.0 stars
Music: 3.0 stars
Production: 3.0 stars
SoulTracks Call: Recommended

 
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