West Yorkshire may not be the most obvious place to look for trip-hop but it is home to Fold, who last year produced the haunting, foreboding, Jimmy Carter-sampling ‘Mr President, We’re In Trouble’. On new EP ‘Salvation’, they team up with the radio presenter and Russell Brand’s “poet laureate” Mr. Gee. It’s an inspired collaboration on this evidence.
Strings samples and trip hop rhythms are at the core of the backdrop to Mr. Gee’s words and the two are clearly on to a winner from the moment opening gambit ‘Salvation’ kicks in, with Fold’s swing and Mr. Gee’s flow (“Save voter apathy, a crap football team and short spans of attention”) in perfect unison. ‘A Victim’s Mentality’ takes a step into darker territory with the arrangements and Mr. Gee’s urgency (“Who is the oppressor and who are the oppressed?”) reminiscent of the often overlooked Bristol act Earthling. For ‘This Common House’, Fold provides a gorgeously languid summer groove whilst Mr. Gee’s ruminates on the repeated mistakes of Governments past and present. This just leaves ‘Passing Strangers’ where Mr. Gee sticks up for the contribution of low-paid, migrant workers, (“Yet you pass me every day with nothing left to say then go home and speculate about how I don’t assimilate?”) daring us to set aside stereotypes and to appreciate their underrated role in today’s society.
The message of spoken word albums can sometimes get lost because the music crowds it out. Fold are both respectful and imaginative in this approach, providing the rhythmic and melodic backbone from which Mr. Gee can deliver his articulate and well-considered thoughts on today’s society. So what we have here are words and music which engage both body and mind and the result deserves to stand alongside the best of the Bristol trip-hop scene.
Earthling, Ventriloquist, Massive Attack