Quote: "Like the lost child of James Brown's Black Caesar soundtrack, Derek Lassiter brings us an EP of dark soul."
Like the lost child of James Brown's Black Caesar soundtrack, Derek Lassiter brings us an EP of dark soul -- the kind of moody, haunting soul that is the lesser known sibling of vastly more popular approaches to the genre such as much of Green, Paul or Womack's music.
"Hunger," the opening track, positively pulses with the throbs of its eponymous condition. It's the kind of song you expect to be in a blacksploitation film or -- at the risk of being redundant -- something by Tarantino. It's one of the most rich and satisfying soul songs I've come across in some time.
Other work on the record unapologetically adopts African rhythms, such as the background chanting and drumming on "I'll Grow." But instead of sounding like some kind of two-dimensional cultural homage, Lassiter works in a jazzy piano and the lowest registers of a piano keyboard sounding out that dark brooding which infuses this entire EP.
"Victor (I Am Waiting)" brings a crisp small-gospel handclap-and-choir sound and "Keep Me" closes the EP with Lassiter's excellent voice front and center in an almost Harold Arlenesque ballad.
Short and sweet, Lassiter's Witness is ultimately asking us to acknowledge the coming not of a new messiah but instead a new musical offering by an obvious talent ... and you very well may want to witness this talent yourself.
- By Todd Beemis
released February 21, 2006
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