Statler: Well, it was good.
Waldorf: Ah, it was very bad.
Statler: Well, it was average.
Waldorf: Ah, it was in the middle there.
Statler: Ah, it wasn’t that great.
Waldorf: I kind of liked it.”
-‘The Muppet Show’.
I’m Mark, the Music & Film Specialist at Wellington City Libraries. I buy music for the CD & Vinyl collections, and also run the Libraries’ Wellington Music Facebook page). My Music Specialist colleague Sam, and Fiction Specialist (and avid music fan) Neil, join me every month to cast an eye over the new material we have been buying for the music collection at our CBD Te Awe library. We pick out some interesting titles across a range of music genres, and try to limit our reviews to a few lines only. Can we encapsulate an entire album in just a couple of lines? [Ed. This is probably unlikely at this point]. Do we actually know anything about new music? Or, are we just too old to understand what most of this is banging on about? [Ed. This is more than likely]. Read on to find out…
Voice notes / Lacey, Yazmin
Mark says: Yazmin Lacey is a Nottingham based London singer, part of the new wave of Black female UK singers fusing soul, jazz and beats. Having released three EPs since 2017, this is her debut album. Comparisons have ranged from Erykah Badu and Arlo Parks, to Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott. Breezy, vibey neo-soul mixes comfortable with dub, lovers rock & electronic touches, while the lyrics focus on self-confidence, self-examination and finding peace in tough times. A great late-night mood prevails through out this reflective album that’s sure to take her career to the next level.
Sam says: Voice Notes, the debut album by London-born singer Yazmin Lacey, is an eclectic and accomplished work that teems with ambition. Stylistically it offers a wide smorgasbord of musical flavours, featuring elements of soul, R&B, funk, jazz and electronica. The instrumentation is rich and nuanced, with the music having been composed via studio jam sessions featuring a number of collaborators. Imperfections were embraced in the recording and production process, resulting in a raw and honest work. Lacey’s tender voice is the star of the show, brimming with emotional weight in its portrayal of her impressionistic and soliloquy-like lyrics. These things are brought together to provide a delicate yet powerful listening experience.
Neil says: Voice notes is Yazmin Lacey’s debut album. It was written over two years, but it displays such an assured confidence in its aims that you would never know. It is an album seeped in the past without ever feeling beholden to the legacy it so clearly celebrates. Voice notes is a cool jazz, nu-soul release with carefully woven in electronica. The ultra-smooth production is used to accentuate a dreamy late night café vibe, though the album does have a fun and ebullient side too. Yazmin’s voice is subtle and perfectly accompanies the music nestling seamlessly into the overall sound.