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Greentea Peng mixes and matches multifarious musical affect right into a steamy stew of stoner beats that’s simply good for a summer time’a day. Get your bets on now for the Mercury Music Prize: it’s the album of the 12 months to this point, says Tim Cooper.
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At first I used to be delay by Greentea Peng, the stage title adopted by Aria Wells. I believed it was only a bit too contrived, a bit too arch and hipster; however I hadn’t heard her music till the video for Revolution, shot in a market down the street from the place I stay in East London, on the tail finish of final 12 months.
It was love at first beat. I really like the way in which Wells takes well-worn types akin to soul, blues, jazz, reggae and journey hop and weaves them right into a hazy, trippy, smoky sound that, regardless of the familiarity of its part components, she makes all her personal.
She has a glance tht matches the music she makes: her unique physique artwork, her piercings, her garments that appear like they had been picked up in markets from Marrakesh and Goa to Brooklyn and Hackney (and possibly had been).
Half hippy chick, half fly woman, half bashment queen, half soul diva, she’s the sum of her components – born and raised in South London and the South Coast with an Arab father and an African mom and a stepfather into Iron Maiden and The Conflict. To not point out a interval operating a yoga retreat in Mexico.
For me she sums up every little thing nice about Britain in 2021: the quintessential Londoner who’s somewhat little bit of this, somewhat little bit of that, and many little bits of every little thing else, absorbing all of the sights, the sounds, the smells and all the opposite experiences that shes’s come throughout and picked up in her day by day life.
She’s the antidote to that stereotype of post-Brexit Britain that a lot of the world sees: a red-faced gammon swathed in a flag of St George, booing footballers for taking a symbolic stand in opposition to discrinination, inequality and injustice? I do know which one I desire.
Greentea Peng has been prolifically placing out music since her debut EP Sensi in 2018, adopted by the aptly titled Rising the next 12 months, and a dozen extra tunes since then. She was picked as one to look at by the BBC and The Observer earlier than all this pandemic malarkey, and she or he did a spot on Later With Jools on the finish of final 12 months.
Her album, recorded along with her seven-piece Seng Seng band in a rustic home and boasting 18 tracks (and operating longer than an hour), doesn’t disappoint. In case you had been choosy, you would possibly say she might have trimmed a couple of tracks however the entire level of Man Made is that it’s a vibe – hopeful messages for our troubled occasions introduced in a mellow vibe that may be finest loved within the sunshine together with your stimulant of selection.
Her personal are removed from hidden – there are quite a few exhortations to take pleasure in some sensimilla and, amid the numerous references to Krishna and Jah and God, and liberating your thoughts to cease Babylon coming down, the listener is repeatedly urged in Celebration Onerous to “Free your thoughts – do your self a favour and eat some magic ‘shrooms.”
Meditation does precisely what it says on the tin. “Sensi is my beloved,” she sings over the type of sleepy beats we used to name trip-hop, as percussion clicks hypnotically and piano tinkles prettily. “Sensimilla assist me zone in.”
Even with out exterior stimulants, Man Made gives a way of blissful leisure all by itself. “This sound is bodily, very bodily and literal,” she sings, issuing an announcement of intent in This Sound. “However metaphysical and mystical… It’s sensual and plentiful; alchemical, it’s drugs and medical. Now open large and let it in.”
The influences and types are many and numerous. Free My Folks and Be Cautious incorporate what can solely be known as jazz flute, whereas Nah It Ain’t The Similar options breakbeats and scratching behind a meditation on what it’s to be a person at present, and far wordplay which may in any other case have ended up as a rap. “I imagine in magic as a result of I’ve seen it,” she sing-speaks over the type of fats bass and skittering drums that Roni Measurement constructed a whole style out of.
This Sound and Poor Man Skit are laid-back funk grooves pushed by effervescent bass; the previous throws in syncopated horns, the latter prefres piano runs that give it a jazz flavour. The mellifluous Kali V2 and Dingaling, in the meantime, float and shimmer and get inside your head with their sinuous melodies (and glorious movies).
There are psychedelic guitar melodies in Maya, extra shimmering guitar within the bassy, dub-like Earnest, and what can solely be known as grunge riffing in Sinner, suggesting stepdad might need performed his metallic albums a few times at residence, whereas the acoustic guitar that introduces Undergo makes you’re feeling you’re listening on a seaside, most likely in Ibiza.
The closing Jimtastic Blues evolves from shuffling breakbeats into the form of orchestral association The Temptations might need used of their psychedelic-soul heyday. “We’ve obtained to struggle for our proper to celebration,” she declares as horns construct, and strings arrive to carry it to a euphoric conclusion.
The struggle has already been received – it’s the album of the 12 months to this point.
All phrases by Tim Cooper. You could find extra of Tim’s writing at his Louder Than Battle creator’s archive and at Muck Rack. He’s additionally on Twitter as @TimCooperES.
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Greentea Peng Tour dates:
17 MAR 22 – CONCORDE II – BRIGHTON
18 MAR 22 – ST MARY IN THE CASTLE – HASTINGS
20 MAR 22 – O2 ACADEMY 2 – OXFORD
21 MAR 22 – CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION – CAMBRIDGE
23 MAR 22 – THE CAVES – EDINBURGH
24 MAR 22 – MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2 – MANCHESTER
26 MAR 22 – THE MILL – BIRMINGHAM
27 MAR 22 – NORWICH ARTS CENTRE – NORWICH
28 MAR 22 – THE LEADMILL – SHEFFIELD
31 MAR 22 – ALEXANDRA PALACE THEATRE– LONDON
02 APR 22 – MARBLE FACTORY – BRISTOL