Benjamin Clementine wins 2015 Mercury Prize for his debut album

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Benjamin Clementine ‘heartbroken’ by Paris attacks.

Benjamin Clementine who is announced as the winner of the Mercury Prize for his album At Least For Now, at the Mercury Music Prize awards event hosted at BBC Broadcasting House in London, Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Mercury-nominated musician Benjamin Clementine – who relocated to Paris after being raised in north London – said he felt like part of his family had been stolen from him when he found out about the city’s terror attacks. PA via AP LONDON, United Kingdom—Benjamin Clementine, the experimental singer and poet with deep roots in Paris, on Friday won Britain’s Mercury Prize and dedicated the award to the attack-stricken city.

The 26-year-old, who was born in London but spent years in the French capital as a street musician, beat out veteran artists with his debut album “At Least For Now.” Clementine offered his award to Paris, which a week earlier was hit by coordinated attacks that killed 130 people, but broke down in tears as he spoke. “I know this is about music, but I dedicate it to what happened about four or five days ago in Paris,” he said in a quiet voice as he expressed surprise at winning. But if they’re part of the family, who do you send your condolences to?” “It made me realise we live in a very dangerous world,” he said. “Apparently we live in a very peaceful world compared to other generations, but I realised there are things going on that shouldn’t be going on.” From the delicate tonal shifts and syrupy vocal ooze of minipops 67 (source field mix) to the wistful, cloudy synths that swirl beneath the pneumatic junglist breaks of PAPAT4 (pineal mix), Syro feels designed to delight and beguile.” (Louis Pattinson) Read the full piece here.

Clementine won over 11 other nominees who included Florence and the Machine, the theatrical but introspective rockers who have become coveted festival headliners, and the innovative electronic composer Aphex Twin. What we said: “Channeling influences such as Erik Satie and Antony Hegarty, Clementine is reminiscent of Kevin Rowland in that he sounds as if he is singing from the gut, and because he has to. Clementine is known for his powerful, high-pitched voice and highly poetic lyrics, with a crowd-rousing delivery that has brought comparisons to Nina Simone.

It’s at that point that the title track appears, bringing with it that legendary musical signifier of modest understatement, a 36-piece orchestra: strings saw dramatically, brass blares out, little bursts of woodwind scurry about, what appears to be a dulcimer and something that sounds like a celeste attempt to muscle in on the action. With a backing band composed of guitarist Joe Newman, drummer John Blease and bassist John Calvert, Ejimiwe dives headfirst into moody alt-rock territory.

His languid, spoken word-esque bars are still here, dripping over the title track’s exploration of homelessness and That Ring Down the Drain Feeling’s morose look at an ex-lover’s newfound happiness. It might be a kaleidoscopic 11-track tribute to raves long past, a paean to the styles Smith is too young to remember first-hand, and the incidental chatter of London pirate radio circa 1992 that he is too young to have heard – a direction presaged in last summer’s pre-album offering, All Under One Roof Raving. The riffs of songs such as Wow!!!7am or Hey or Do Something are strong enough, but the formula “riff, primitive bash of drums, bellowed chorus” wears thin pretty quickly.

The awkward introversion in the lyrics – which deal with relationship strife, creepy blokes, friendship, gender and the quest for eternal love – add a sense of emotional overload driven by late nights, blood pacts and wide-eyed wonder.

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