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  • Writer's pictureNikki Smash

'Black Rainbows' by the brilliant Corinne Bailey Rae is out now. A Stunning sonic excursion!

'Black Rainbows' by the brilliant Corinne Bailey Rae is out now. A stunning sonic excursion!

Corinne Bailey Rae has released her new record and musician project 'Black Rainbows' to great world wide critical acclaim, but are they right?..... Yes and it's her best work.

"Corinne Bailey Rae has produced a stunning sonic excursion that is visceral, bold, brave and creatively free and fearless." - Nikki Smash

Records like this in the mainstream are hard to come by in this day and age, back in the 90's you'd have a huge access to this as it was backed up by radio, TV, print and press. As the majority of those mediums fear losing listeners and followers they stick to the cookie cutter approach to music and the bold and brave and creatively free get left behind. (We have a whole series coming out soon on YouTube/rumble about this, so stay tuned) However, the rare occasion you do get an artist as big as Corinne ripping up the rule book, her own narrative and smashing a reset button you get a record exactly like 'Black Rainbows'. I really applaud Corinne for making this record, It's fresh in it's sound and production but has a clever old school classic album feel to it; what I mean by this is every song is part of a bigger sonic picture, a journey, a story, a theme. It has a powerful message whilst being able to keep the personal outlook visceral and heartfelt. The different paces and directions it takes without any predictability is beautifully crafted and each song has a perfect place in order.

Black Rainbows ebs and flows from dark experimental electronic pieces of art and texture to punk rock CBGB's inspired tracks, then back into classic soulful, RnB piano and vocal tracks. There is a lot of clever use of instrumentation cross the record, you hear wonderful big piano tones, gnarly guitars and attacking drum kits but also hints of world instruments, they give you subtle backbone rhythm like a heart beat whilst adding woodwind and brass instruments. This is all combined together with Corinne's effortless vocals which of course are backed up by melodies that don't take obvious paths and lyrics which are worn proudly on her sleeve.

"I’ve been working on this project for many years. The record represents so much to me – the culture, the pain, the beauty, and the artistic presence of the stories that inhabit the #StonyIslandArtsBank. Stories I was never aware of; stories that are deeply a part of black history. I wanted to translate this history sonically and worked to produce this record alongside Steve Brown. A very special thank you to Theaster Gates—who without I would have never seen some of the objects and photographs that make this record—creating a cathartic and experimental landscape that was pertinent in showing how much the Arts Bank has impacted me and helps in preserving so much history." - Corinne says (via her Facebook).

What really strikes me with this record is that the biggest ego in simply the songs, no arrogant playing, production or gimmicks just a true piece of art. You're really able to get into this record, 10 songs 45minutes long but it's over in a flash. Every time you listen to Black Rainbows you're hearing something new or a different perspective. I really recommend listening to this record on high quality headphones where you can hear some excellent production tricks that you'd miss in a car or hifi-set up.

Black Rainbows is Corinne's fifth studio record and sixth full length release and during this period I've actually enjoyed going back through her back catalogue and the standard in writing is right up there with the best. I look forward to catching her on her UK and European run in October and am excited to see how the new songs come across live. Black Rainbow highlights for me are: 'New York Transit Queen', 'Peach Velvet Sky' & beautiful album closer 'Before The Throne of the Invisible God'.

There are elements of Bjork, Rufus Wainwright, Ray Charles, Daniel Johns. Simply stunning from start to finish.

Black Rainbows Live – UK & Europe

October 25—London, U.K.—Ladbroke Hall

October 26—London, U.K.—Ladbroke Hall

October 28—London, U.K.—Ladbroke Hall

October 29—Cork, Ireland—Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

October 31—Madrid, Spain—Teatro Pavón

November 1—Barcelona, Spain—Studio P62

November 3—Seville, Spain—Cartuja Centre

November 4—Lisbon, Portugal—Capitolio

November 5—Porto, Portugal—Casa de Musica

November 8—Amsterdam, Holland—Paradiso Noord

November 9—Rotterdam, Holland—LantarenVenster

Ticket links here:

Connect, Listen & Steam here:

By Nikki Smash



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