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NENEH CHERRY

Neneh Cherry

The Versions

    Neneh Cherry announces a new project titled The Versions, a collaboration album of covers from her expansive catalogue by an all female lineup of some of the most exciting and revered artists of our time. 

    The Versions is a 10-track album featuring Neneh Cherry reworks from artists that have a personal connection to the artist and her music. Sia expresses her love for Neneh and her family saying, “Neneh was my favorite artist when she hit the scene. I saved my pocket money for red filas and dreamt one day we would meet. When I was struggling with my mental health in my early twenties, I somehow ended up in their house being taken care of as if I was one of their own children. I called her husband during a suicide attempt, who had been mentoring me as an incredible music producer, and they gave me all the love I could have dreamt of. I owe them a huge thanks and would sing ‘a-b-c’ for them if they asked.
    Neneh, my very first queen, Cameron my bonus dad, I love you forever amen!

    Other artists involved include long-time friend, one of pop's treasured musical geniuses and woman behind some of the most memorable songs of recent decade, Robyn who teamed up with Mapei to re-imagine the seminal track “Buffalo Stance” into a slinky, scandipop song with the help of Dev Hynes on production. Pop provocateur, ANOHNI lends her haunting vocals to “Woman”, delivering an arresting remake of the empowering track and south London nomad Greentea Peng transforms “Buddy X” into a garage infused number. Singer-songwriter and poet Jamila Woods adds her soulful touch on “Kootchi” with artist and violinist Sudan Archives completely reconstructing “Heart” into a sparse and delicate offering. Seinabo Sey adds Scandinavian soul to “Kisses On The Wind”, Kelsey Lu’s ethereal vocals on her version of “Manchild” transports the track into unworldly heights with Neneh’s daughter TYSON bringing her own sensual attitude to “Sassy” before Honey Dijon wraps things up and taking things to the dancefloor with her house remix of “Buddy X”.

    Neneh Cherry has continued to define and redefine culture, style and music, releasing five studio albums, including 2018’s Broken Politics, produced by Four Tet, which was met with critical acclaim by the likes of The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The Times, Q and Pitchfork. 2020 saw her reissue her radically influential debut album Raw Like Sushi to celebrate its 30th anniversary and recently received the honorary Icon Award at the NME Awards 2022. 


    TRACK LISTING

    01_Robyn Feat Mapei - Buffalo Stance
    02_Sia - Manchild
    03_Anohni - Woman
    04_Greentea Peng - Buddy X
    05_Jamilia Woods - Kootchi
    06_TYSON - Sassy
    07_Sudan Archives - Hearts
    08_Seinabo Sey - Kisses On The Wind
    09_Kelsey Lu – Manchild
    10_Honey Dijon – Buddy X Rework 

    Neneh’s new record pointedly asks the question; how do we conduct ourselves in extraordinary times? In an era where the signal-to-noise ratio is more uneven than ever, what are the measures we must take to retain and remember our own personhood? It searches for answers, patiently and with great care, and with a fearlessness to acknowledge that sometimes the answers don't even exist. It’s a record that’s equal parts angry, thoughtful, melancholy, and emboldening, as Cherry and her collaborators continue to expand her ever-widening sonic palette to craft truly singular and potent music.

    Work on Broken Politics began as touring wound down behind Cherry's previous full-length, 2014's Blank Project, and she felt a drive to continue creating after collaborating on that record with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet). "That last album was much angrier and forceful, whereas this one is quieter and more reflective," she states. "I haven't always been so good at getting things out so quickly, and it still took a while—but that's okay."

    Cherry, writing partner Cameron McVey, and Hebden decamped to Woodstock, New York for a week-long recording session at the Creative Music Studio, a recording space founded by jazz pianist Karl Berger—who, in a stroke of providence, was a band member of Neneh's stepfather and Don Cherry as well as being friends with her mother Moki. "Being in a studio with them was like being in a familiar space. It was easy to reach into myself for the feelings I needed to be in tune with a song—and at night, Cameron and I would have dinner with Ingrid and Karl and they'd tell stories about my father. There were deep threads."

    "It was one of the best writing periods I've had in a really long time," Cherry continues while discussing the creative process behind Broken Politics. "I got out of the waiting room and into the inner sanctum.”

    "I'm very shy about taking on big themes with the airs that I've got a solution—who has the fucking solutions?" Cherry admits while talking about the album's title. "I like writing from a personal perspective, and the time we live in is so much about finding your own voice. People have been left feeling misheard, misunderstood, and disillusioned. What the fuck can I do? Maybe politics starts in your bedroom, or your house—a form of activism, and a responsibility. The album is about all of those things: feeling broken, disappointed, and sad, but having perseverance. It's a fight against the extinction of free thought and spirit."

    "I have a name. You have a name. We're not just these faceless mounds you can put in the ground," Cherry proclaims when talking about her worldly vision that seeped into Broken Politics. "We're human beings with lives and stories." Art can often remind us of how it feels to live in the moment, and it can also be instructive in helping understand how to preserve that moment. Broken Politics finds Cherry at her most generous and benevolent towards a world that is often anything but. She puts it best in the chorus of LP track "Fallen Leaves," in her own defiant way: "Just because I'm down/ Don't step all over me.”

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Neneh Cherry's unmistakable vocal style and soulful leanings are harnessed here by the dreamy, otherworldly percussion and electronic momentum of Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) on production duties. His impeccable ear for sonic space only accentuates her flawless songwriting skills, making for a brilliantly listenable and absorbing outing.

    TRACK LISTING

    Fallen Leaves
    Kong
    Poem Daddy
    Synchronised Devotion
    Deep Vein Thrombosis
    Faster Than The Truth
    Natural Skin Deep
    Shot Gun Shack
    Black Monday
    Cheap Breakfast Special
    Slow Release
    Soldier

    Neneh Cherry releases her first solo album in 16 years - a collaboration with RocketNumberNine, produced by Four Tet, and featuring a guest appearance by Robyn. The 10-track album, recorded and mixed over a five-day period is, out on Smalltown Supersound. It follows 2012’s 'The Cherry Thing', a collaborative record with free jazz, noise collective The Thing, which featured new versions of songs by The Stooges, MF Doom, Ornette Coleman, amongst others.

    While her energy and demeanor may not have changed since the days of Rip Rig + Panic, musically, 'Blank Project' is a departure from anything Neneh has previously done, initially written as a means of working through personal tragedy. What stands out upon first listen is the album’s sparseness: loose drums and a few synthesizers are the only accompaniment to Neneh’s wildly poetic, sometimes-spoken, sometimes-screeching, soul-flooded and raw vocals. The space created by this minimal aesthetic leaves room for occasional pistes and flurries of rapid, yet throbbing and thunderous instrumentation. Featuring combined elements of beat poetry, avant-electronica and beautiful vocal melodies, it’s a record that uses simple ideas to create something entirely original. And despite the personal struggles Neneh was working through in writing this new material, the songs are far from introverted.

    With 'Blank Project', Neneh continues to arrive at moments in musical history when there is an opportunity to subvert ideas of popular culture. She is subverting once again, only this time, although this record is musically bold, Neneh sees the stasis she’s challenging isn’t musical or societal, but her own.



    STAFF COMMENTS

    Philippa says: Neneh Cherry follows her collaboration with Nordic free jazz noise collective the Thing with the intense electro-percussive album ‘Blank Project’, first unveiled at the Manchester International Festival. The guttural analogue synths and pummelled kit drumming of power duo RocketNumberNine (brothers Ben and Tom Page) provide the backing for Cherry’s distinctive emotionally vulnerable soul-flooded vocals, while Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden proves to be the perfect producer for the project, stripping tracks back to their essential elements. The first solo record Cherry has made since the death of her mother, ‘Blank Project’ is stark, bracing, brooding and reflective. There is anger and sadness here, but this isn’t a sad record. This is a life-affirming angry howl at the world, a cathartic blast of intensity that leaps from the speakers. In an era of often soulless synthetic emoting, it’s good to have some raw emotion back with us. Raw like, er, Cherry!

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Across The Water
    2. Blank Project
    3. Naked
    4. Spit Three Times
    5. Weightless
    6. Cynical
    7. 422
    8. Out Of The Black (Feat Robyn)
    9. Dossier
    10. Everything


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