J Davey - the beauty in distortion/the land of the lost (2008)

J Davey
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Eclectic underground artists like J*Davey are starting to reshape the black music scene again. For the longest time, soul music needed a change and over the last 13 years "neo-soul" genre was supposedly the answer. Since 1995, artists like D'Angelo, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Musiq and many more have stepped in to answer the call. They each brought their own take on funk, soul, R&B and hip hop and blended it into something that broke out of the stale soul offerings being cranked out by most major labels.

Now the cycle has begun again. Black music is taking yet another adventurous turn. This time artists are taking on the nearly lost art forms of funk and new wave music and blending them with today's modern sounds of soul and hip hop. With the dawn of multi-genre artists like N*E*R*D, Sa-Ra, Janelle Monae, Santogold and the like, in steps underground superstars J*Davey.

Eclectic underground artists like J*Davey are starting to reshape the black music scene again. For the longest time, soul music needed a change and over the last 13 years "neo-soul" genre was supposedly the answer. Since 1995, artists like D'Angelo, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Musiq and many more have stepped in to answer the call. They each brought their own take on funk, soul, R&B and hip hop and blended it into something that broke out of the stale soul offerings being cranked out by most major labels.

Now the cycle has begun again. Black music is taking yet another adventurous turn. This time artists are taking on the nearly lost art forms of funk and new wave music and blending them with today's modern sounds of soul and hip hop. With the dawn of multi-genre artists like N*E*R*D, Sa-Ra, Janelle Monae, Santogold and the like, in steps underground superstars J*Davey.

Jack Davey (aka Briana Cartwright)'s voice is one of pure artistry. She blends all of her influences, from Prince and Radiohead to the Talking Heads, to flesh out a sound that melds electronica, funk, soul, new wave and more. The amazing effect she brings to the song is enhanced by her sharp songwriting skills. Each song weave bits of shock therapy into the mood of the jam, always matching the groove regardless of the dimension her producer Brook D'Leau takes her.

In interviews J*Davey has spoken of falling into the neo-soul trap during the duo's early days. Back then, Brook dished out J-Dilla-esque grooves and Ms. Davey-from underneath an iconic Badu head wrap-belted out familiar neo-soul chords. Their music eventually evolved as Brook began to incorporate more risqué 80s synth pop influences into their music and the snowball for their unique sound began to roll. The result of these experimentations set a healthy stage for the strong personality of Ms. Davey's pen and voice. After the two had worked for a little over a year perfecting this unconventional sound, they released the beauty in distortion as a demonstration of J*Davey's new voice. The initial buzz from beauty...moved the duo to flex their prowess on the land of the lost, a mixtape collaboration done with Fader magazine. These two EP releases have now been compiled and repackaged as a double-disc debut that is sure to satisfy and amaze.

There are plenty of gems on the beauty in distortion/the land of the lost to recommend it, each eclectic track more different than the last. "No More" is a wonderous piece that blends Nicolay's 80s style of hip hop soul with the funk of Lucy Pearl. On this radio-worthy single, Ms. Davey seduces, producing an edgy persona similar to R&B artist Mya. What makes J*Davey so special is their confidence in letting a great groove just ride as they do with "No More." Coming in at just over seven minutes long, this song is sonic sustenance.

Of course, you shouldn't get comfortable with the idea that you've got J*Davey all figured out from this track. As you take in electro-disco efforts like SLOOOW, you'll hear the mold cast on "No More" broken many times over. Never resting on its laurels, futuristic grooves are the aim here.

The synth keeps you dancing, but it also soothes at the same time. For instance, "Enterception" is a purely mellow synth groove with shades of Madlib or J-Dilla. On "Just Because," the distorted percussion and staggering vocals of Davey and Phonte (Little Brother, Foreign Exchange) blend to deliver a mellow throb that fulfills all your musical needs.

On the beauty in distortion/the land of the lost, synth, off-balance drums, and drum machine percussions are the major players as various grooves, sounds, essences and moods wave through influences of the past, present and hints toward the future. This magic has landed J*Davey a deal with Warner Brothers. Warner reps discovered J*Davey opening for artists such as The Roots and the Purple One himself at Prince's 3121 club. After generating such an amazing buzz and hitting the scene hard since 2006, J*Davey's promise is finally coming to fruition. Industry socialites and buzz hounds are glad to see justice prevail, while the rest of us are just happy basking in the light of a new age of funk, soul and...well...great music!

By BJ "Bunneh" Brown

 
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