Triptych - Jamie Lidell
‘I was awakened by Matthew Herbert really, in a magic kind of moment.’ Just how much credit Herbert can take is open to debate, but only a quirk of fate could have led to the doggedly leftfield technocrat Jamie Lidell’s staggering reinvention as a purveyor of flagrant sunshine soul.
‘I set about borrowing equipment and trying to get my sound as close to a Motown interpretation of the song,’ Lidell explains of a bare-bones remix of ‘The Audience’ he did. ‘I thought that would really freak Matt out but doing that just felt like stepping into an old pair of shoes.’
It has thus proved a pivotal moment in the unpredictable career of the artist formerly known as Super_Collider. It led to 2005’s Multiply, a meld of his earlier experimental, arty-electronic leanings applied to this new, exultant neo-soul persona, the success of which made a notable convert of his at first dubious label Warp. With this month’s follow-up, Jim, Lidell has made the step into a straighter gospel sound, shelving his experimental itch and taking on a considered and deftly produced songwriting style. ‘This time I thought I just wanted to get this music on the radio,’ admits the unabashedly savvy Lidell. ‘Why not? I’m so bloody close. I just feel it’s time.’
For a Berlin-based pop-soulster who embarked on his career alongside Christian Vogel in Brighton’s late-90s techno scene Jamie Lidell remains unperturbed by his skewed path.
‘I think it was more a question of what I choose to release. There was always a difference between what I did in my spare time and what I chose to present to the world. Sure it does look a little strange, but I’m happy about that,’ says the ever-confident musician, citing the chameleon-like careers of Prince and Beck as influence beyond a more obvious musical association. ‘I’ve always been a singer, I guess people just didn’t know that back in the day. I chose my moment to get my styles together, and then dropped it on them.’
Jamie Lidell plays Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 25 Apr; Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Sat 26 Apr.
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