The Art Of Vibration
Released: 30th Jun, 2008
Label: Tru Thoughts
Guest vocals are provided by eminent soul singer Andreya Triana and MC Abdominal.
Natural self loves a good introduction (and in his own words, “There’s nothing wrong with being a bit over the top about it either!”). From the attention-grabbing intro right through to the heartfelt tenderness of the final track “Alexandra & Gabriel” – a sweet dedication “to a beautiful woman and her baby boy” – ’The Art Of Vibration’ presents the impressive sum of the various evolutionary twists and turns in Natural Self’s musical development so far.
Whilst this is the first full length solo album from Natural Self on Tru Thoughts, Nathaniel Pearn, the man behind the Natural Self moniker, has previously received acclaim for the 2006 album “Gravity” – the collaboration with his label-mate Nostalgia 77 under the name The Broken Keys – and a handful of 7” singles on Tru Thoughts. He released his debut album on Breakin’ Bread Records, also in 2006, and has a number of years’ experience as a skilled DJ, recently guesting alongside Mr Scruff at his Brighton residency.
“The Rising” is the first single from this album and has received rapturous reactions to date. A great behemoth of a track, the idea behind it is the gods lamenting the behaviour of the humans in their treatment of the planet. A powerful, chanted chorus, featuring Pearn on vocal duties, gives way to captivating lead vocals written and performed by Andreya Triana, with an impossibly tasty, heavy-hitting hip hop beat (with a dubstep lilt and some cheeky snares in there for good measure) driving straight through the middle. Andreya Triana, definitely one to watch, is currently co-producing her first self-penned album with Bonobo. The punchy horn stabs which permeate “The Rising” and many tracks on this album give a taste of the old-school funk music that has played such a consistently important role in Natural Self’s musical inspiration, and call to mind some of his earlier work, such as his collaborations with “Alice Russell.”/artists/alice-russell
Club tracks and dancefloor gems abound, namely in the form of “In The Morning”, a feel-good summery club tune featuring Pearn and Andreya Triana on vocals and Ben ‘Nostalgia 77’ on Guitar. In “Alright Turn It Up Now” the horns are out in force, piled on top of viciously crafted beats and creating layer upon layer of fiendishly catchy hooks and breaks. A definite dance music-inspired track, but in Natural Self’s own imprint. In contrast, the raw feel of “Faultilines” gives the sense of a musical journey with the essence of the grind of daily life, and the track continues to build in various layers of percussion and bass. This track is undeniably gritty and gratuitous – “Almost ugly. A crude bastard of a tune.” says Pearn, gleefully – but it also has a tropical, rhythmic feel.
On “Breathe Deep”, the charismatic MC Abdominal, who has previously worked with DJ Format on more uptempo business, handles this slow and deep beat with ease and skill in the more downtempo second half of the album. A space-age theme bubbles up throughout “Ghost in the machine”, “The Crush” (‘Robot sex music’, according to Pearn) and “The Laws Of Motion” which variously sound cosmic, spun out and futuristic. Pearn provides the vocals on “Feet Keep Moving” having got into singing by accident during the Broken Keys album (when the original vocalist was unable to do it) and it is now something he would like to pursue further, and rightly so judging by this performance.
“The Art Of Vibration” is the culmination of boundless appreciation of hip hop, funk, soul and club music, an uncanny talent for crafting killer beats and an inspired desire to experiment and take things further, representing a giant step forward – and a tantalising sign of more gems to come.
As well as the CD, the album is available as a special 6-track LP with full CD album inside.