Gil Scott-Heron Returns
It's been 16 years since Gil Scott-Heron has released a proper studio album (1994's Spirit album released on TVT). Having been in and out of the NY state prison system for the last decade, as well as wrestling with his own demons, Scott-Heron's artistic output had been put on hiatus (save for the hip-hop album cameos and rare live performances when he was out of the pen). XL Recordings chief, Richard Russell, tracked him down at Rikers Island Prison and offered to produce an album when he was released in 2007. And so enters Scott-Heron's latest album, I'm New Here, which will be released in the US on February 8th. You can stream the album from Scott-Heron's website. The Guardian's music blog is touting it as one of the albums of the year (already), and expect to see many comparisons to the epic Rick Rubin-Johnny Cash pairing. What I like so far about the album is Russell showcases Scott-Heron's talents against a different musical backdrop than what one normally associates with his music (jazz, hip-hop). The setting is more sparse and bluesy, and definitely more electronic. He even covers Smog.
Listen to Me and the Devil