Demos and Delusions – Guy Zensei (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There is something of the street-noise-as-music that Marvin Gaye used so well on What’s Going On to the opening track Entropy, and that reference isn’t too wide of the mark given that he was trying to move the soul sound into new, more progressive realms. Guy Zensei works loosely in what we now call neo-soul and like Gaye, he seems fascinated more in where the genre might go next rather than where it has already been.

If Marvin was about breaking open and widening what soul could be about, Zensei seems more interested in taking it into some more intense and darker places. Gothic soul anyone?

As the album titles suggest, these are demos, sketches suggesting what these songs might one day evolve into but it is the sparseness and intensity found in them that makes them stand out for the crowd. The art would be not to add too much into these recordings if they were ever reworked into something bigger and more polished.

Sure there are moments when you can hear other, imaginary, sounds threading their way through the music, sounds conjured by your own internal orchestra of the mind, a distant, keening saxophone here, some elegant strings sweepig through there, a depth-charge, pulsing bass perhaps, but as these songs go, they lay out an interesting road map to what could be a fascinating new take on the vibes and building blocks of soul music.

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