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Thread started 10/16/10 4:31pm

Swa

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N.E.W.S.: A Celebration

[continuing the celebration of all of Prince's work - today we arrive at N.E.W.S.]


n.e.w.s.

I had seen the online teaser campaign that announced N.E.W.S. containing four new tracks each 14 minutes long. Straight away I placed my order, and when it arrived at work I placed it into my ibook and listened to it while I worked.

With the opening watery tinged bass of North I submerged myself in the sound. With its hypnotic repetitive melody it just washes into your soul like fresh waves crashing on the shore. The song builds like a gentle storm brewing away in the distance and threatening to break. With the sax and intermittent guitar solo the track builds and builds to the brink of a crescendo before easing off, to be replaced by the tinkering keys of the piano. North always reminded me of storms in the night, that comfort of being safe and sound in your room while it approaches. Just waiting for it to break.

East with its synth-laden intro echoes the feel of the title. With a dash of mystic melody we are thrown into the path of the shuffling rolling beat of Mr Blackwell. This is his track. Allowing his skills as a drummer to work the kit to be more than just a backing instrument and allow it to become more melodic – check out the work over the hi hat gets. Similarly to North, at the 8 minute mark East changes direction. At this point it really gathers a full head of steam and moves more solidly into a jazz fusion track. And once again the skins of Mr Blackwell are at the fore, well at least right along side the purple strings of P. The last section of east seems to slowly untangle like the melody is being pulled apart thread by thread, unravelling itself to make way for the new.

The opening strains to West remind me a bit of dolphin of the gold experience. This is perhaps the most cohesive song oriented piece on here – and by that I mean it feels like a song ready made for vocals rather than an exploration of music. The first 3 minutes sooth and seduce you like a classic P ballad before stepping it up and blending in some more jazz fusion. For some reason the main section of this song reminds me of something of Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters album. Just that mix of a simple melody line played to within an inch of its life that captivates before it even comes close to be tired or overplayed. The piano solo deserves special mention here for its free form playing. The final phrasing of the song just lets it tease you with moments of ebb and flow and it goes from a full boil to a smooth simmer.

For me South is the jewel in the NEWS crown. With its funk lead main groove it travels to the highs of bliss before dipping into the shallows of pure melody. I especially love the moog synth solo with a bass line that bubbles and tweaks before taking the track into a moment of epic rock, then before it gets too carried away slides back into the main groove only to climb again. At the 5 minute mark the power makes way for the silence as the song slows and wanders in a field of experimentation before finding its way to the safe haven of a jazz song the rides the final waves of highs and lows before washing away on that classic of all classic end notes.

I wasn’t 100% sold on N.E.W.S. when I first got it. Each song had moments of brilliance but didn’t seem to be able to sustain the 14 minutes dedicated to each direction. As a result it found its place amongst my collection rarely to be brought back out to play. However listening to it now, I can find new highlights in each song that I had missed before.

Its funny that if people discuss Prince’s work as an artist this is an album that doesn’t immediately spring to mind, but here is the true study of an artist. As we all know a Prince instrumental fusion album was never going to be a big seller, but rather than clamour for a smash, this artist followed where the music lead him. And the true beauty is that here is a free artist, after all Warners or any other major label would have been totally reluctant to release it. But being a true independent Prince had the freedom (and maybe even the luxury) to present this new direction to us all. And whether or not it is an album that is played often or rarely, we are richer for the chance to hear it.

"I'm not human I'm a dove, I'm ur conscience. I am love"
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Reply #1 posted 10/16/10 5:00pm

MikeyB71

I like it very much, i think it is the best out of the "trilogy" of N.E.W.S, C-Note and Expectation, though i like all three.

I have said this many times, i am a big fan of Prince's instrumental music, i find it far more interesting than a lot of his other output around that time. Of course these three albums are the tip of the instrumental iceberg, there still remains a huge amount of unreleased Prince instrumentals, some circulating, some not, and of course there are the Madhouse albums too.

N.E.W.S is a sterling piece of work, great band, great music within and nice cd packaging.

I will not grumble about the 14 min per track thing because i cannot be bothered.

Top stuff.

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Reply #2 posted 10/16/10 7:46pm

ZombieKitten

I always liked this one a LOT

mushy

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Reply #3 posted 10/16/10 7:58pm

Chiquetet

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Swa said:

With the opening watery tinged bass of North I submerged myself in the sound. With its hypnotic repetitive melody it just washes into your soul like fresh waves crashing on the shore. The song builds like a gentle storm brewing away in the distance and threatening to break. With the sax and intermittent guitar solo the track builds and builds to the brink of a crescendo before easing off, to be replaced by the tinkering keys of the piano. North always reminded me of storms in the night, that comfort of being safe and sound in your room while it approaches. Just waiting for it to break.

fallinluv Love this one. Le sigh...

In fact, I love the whole album and really enjoyed reading your descriptions smile

Lake Minnetonka Music: https://lakeminnetonka.bandcamp.com/
Lake Minnetonka Press Kit: http://onepagelink.com/lakeminnetonka/
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Reply #4 posted 10/16/10 9:14pm

yankem

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Swa said:

[continuing the celebration of all of Prince's work - today we arrive at N.E.W.S.]


n.e.w.s.

I had seen the online teaser campaign that announced N.E.W.S. containing four new tracks each 14 minutes long. Straight away I placed my order, and when it arrived at work I placed it into my ibook and listened to it while I worked.

With the opening watery tinged bass of North I submerged myself in the sound. With its hypnotic repetitive melody it just washes into your soul like fresh waves crashing on the shore. The song builds like a gentle storm brewing away in the distance and threatening to break. With the sax and intermittent guitar solo the track builds and builds to the brink of a crescendo before easing off, to be replaced by the tinkering keys of the piano. North always reminded me of storms in the night, that comfort of being safe and sound in your room while it approaches. Just waiting for it to break.

East with its synth-laden intro echoes the feel of the title. With a dash of mystic melody we are thrown into the path of the shuffling rolling beat of Mr Blackwell. This is his track. Allowing his skills as a drummer to work the kit to be more than just a backing instrument and allow it to become more melodic – check out the work over the hi hat gets. Similarly to North, at the 8 minute mark East changes direction. At this point it really gathers a full head of steam and moves more solidly into a jazz fusion track. And once again the skins of Mr Blackwell are at the fore, well at least right along side the purple strings of P. The last section of east seems to slowly untangle like the melody is being pulled apart thread by thread, unravelling itself to make way for the new.

The opening strains to West remind me a bit of dolphin of the gold experience. This is perhaps the most cohesive song oriented piece on here – and by that I mean it feels like a song ready made for vocals rather than an exploration of music. The first 3 minutes sooth and seduce you like a classic P ballad before stepping it up and blending in some more jazz fusion. For some reason the main section of this song reminds me of something of Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters album. Just that mix of a simple melody line played to within an inch of its life that captivates before it even comes close to be tired or overplayed. The piano solo deserves special mention here for its free form playing. The final phrasing of the song just lets it tease you with moments of ebb and flow and it goes from a full boil to a smooth simmer.

For me South is the jewel in the NEWS crown. With its funk lead main groove it travels to the highs of bliss before dipping into the shallows of pure melody. I especially love the moog synth solo with a bass line that bubbles and tweaks before taking the track into a moment of epic rock, then before it gets too carried away slides back into the main groove only to climb again. At the 5 minute mark the power makes way for the silence as the song slows and wanders in a field of experimentation before finding its way to the safe haven of a jazz song the rides the final waves of highs and lows before washing away on that classic of all classic end notes.

I wasn’t 100% sold on N.E.W.S. when I first got it. Each song had moments of brilliance but didn’t seem to be able to sustain the 14 minutes dedicated to each direction. As a result it found its place amongst my collection rarely to be brought back out to play. However listening to it now, I can find new highlights in each song that I had missed before.

Its funny that if people discuss Prince’s work as an artist this is an album that doesn’t immediately spring to mind, but here is the true study of an artist. As we all know a Prince instrumental fusion album was never going to be a big seller, but rather than clamour for a smash, this artist followed where the music lead him. And the true beauty is that here is a free artist, after all Warners or any other major label would have been totally reluctant to release it. But being a true independent Prince had the freedom (and maybe even the luxury) to present this new direction to us all. And whether or not it is an album that is played often or rarely, we are richer for the chance to hear it.

Well said my friend. Well said.

"open your heart, open your mind
A train is leaving all day..."
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Reply #5 posted 10/17/10 12:57am

Rightly

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I really took to this album quickly.
I read an excellent, insightful and one of the rare positive reviews he gets just before it was released.

I remember thinking that this was the climatic end of a creative period, and the Pop star was about to re-emerge.

small circles, big wheels!
I've got a pretty firm grip on the obvious!
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Reply #6 posted 10/17/10 5:01am

JoeTyler

dead

that's not Prince...

tinkerbell
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Reply #7 posted 10/17/10 5:43am

nosajd

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I have always loved this album. Especially b/c I was just getting into Medeski, Martin & Wood @ the time so this album was very close to other artists I was getting into @ that time in my life. I still love N.E.W.S., in fact I'll play it @ home often in a mix of jazz I have & when people are over they often comment on any of the songs that play from this album. It's a different sound while still sounding like Prince, I can't really explain it but I can certainly enjoy it.

Swa, I loved reading your interpretation of this album & all of your input on his other work, keep up the great work! I know it must take some time to put this altogether so thank you very much biggrin

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Reply #8 posted 10/17/10 9:14am

seaofeverythin
g

This album is an absolute masterpeace !

Reminds me of the 4 winds of the world.

& at the same time it has that wonderful meditative quality....14mins.

I did use it for meditation sometimes , when I did an hour every morning...it took me out in space easily....I love this ArtWork. The wrapping is brilliant !

fallinluv yes heart
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