Nai Palm – Needle Paw - 2017 Neo Soul - Audiophile 180 Grm 2LP
Nai Palm – Needle Paw
Music On Vinyl – MOVLP2048
2 × Vinyl, LP, Album
19 Jan 2018
Funk / Soul
A1 Wititj (Lightning Snake) Pt 1
A3 Crossfire / So Into You
B3 Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
C2 When The Knife
C3 Blackstar / Pyramid Song / Breathing Underwater
D1 Borderline With My Atoms
D3 Wititj (Lightning Snake) Pt 2
Sticker on shrinkwrap:
The First Solo Album by Two-Time Grammy Nominated
Singer, Songwriter and Led Singer Hiatus Kaiyote
- Includes Two Exclusive Inserts -
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Barcode (Scanned): 8719262005549
"With Needle Paw, Saalfield turns inward to pull from herself what Hiatus Kaiyote’s massive arrangements could not. She is alone at the wheel in the unenviable but courageous position of bearing sole responsibility for an album featuring songs that people have heard before. Some are fodder for nostalgia, others the stuff of legend. They are songs that would surely haunt her if she got it wrong. Thankfully, she does not. Instead, her performance as vocalist, producer, arranger, and musical director confirms her talents—and, in her interpretive care, reaffirms listening as an act of love.
Needle Paw is a minimalist’s dream. The raw, stripped-down performances are antithetical to Hiatus Kaiyote’s lush, swollen sound. The album breaks down the complex mechanisms driving the average Hiatus record in a catabolic process that isolates the ingredient most essential to Nai Palm: the human voice. Her byzantine harmonies are less important to the final mix than the primal timbre of the voice, whether isolated or in concert with others. There are no concessions to trend or enormous features. Needle Pawis a reliquary for Saalfield’s travels and influences, from Bulgarian choral music and the songs of Saharan nomads to rock and 1990s R&B. There is even a nod to a shape-shifting character from Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” series on “Mobius,” where she sings of the “ancient psychic tandem war elephant,” whose power is a healing telepathy.
Saalfield’s conversations with the natural and metaphysical world continue across Needle Paw, from indigenous Yolngu singer Jason Guwanbal Gurruwiwi’s “Wititj (Lightning Snake),” which opens and closes the album, to the whip-poor-will ad-libs that jut from a soothing chant in “Atari.” Leaving it all on the tape, Saalfield closes the track with a sigh of relief—evidence of the physical toll that her passion for song takes.
on standout “Molasses,” and their rendition of the smoldering Jimi Hendrix ballad “Have You Ever Been (to Electric Ladyland)” is even better. The rework is a lighthouse of a midpoint, with harmonies that burst into muddy blues phrases and runs that border on ecstatic glossolalia. Saalfield’s performance conjures the ghosts of grunge—there’s something in the production that faintly recalls Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”—and places her comfortably in an elite class of soul-music disciples led by D’Angelo and Raphael Saadiq. She doubles down on “Crossfire/So Into You,” pulling a sweet take on a song from Tamia’s self-titled 1998 debut out of the spine of her own tough-as-nails folk.
Saalfield’s evident respect for each composition and voice transforms Needle Paw into an accidental group recording that finds her both singing to heroes and singing with her friends; it’s a utopian environment where equity is the order of the day and each element of the track is central to its success. Though her vocal acrobatics and pop-culture recall are impressive, Saalfield’s reverence for the authors of the material she covers is no less notable. That passion rescued her version of David Bowie’s “Blackstar” from the cutting-room floor. Reluctant to allow any repurposing of Bowie’s work following his death, his estate initially denied Saalfield’s request to reinterpret the song. Devastated, she wrote a letter thanking the family for his work. That letter miraculously convinced them to clear the late icon’s song for the climactic “Blackstar/Pyramid Song/Breathing Underwater,” a medley that also includes a Radiohead staple and features kora player Amadou Suso.
Needle Paw isn’t necessarily the album you might have expected from Saalfield at this point in her career, but it is clearly the album she needed to make. It is a reclamation of self for a singer who has experienced at least two life-altering shocks—orphaned at 11, she left the city for rural Australia; plucked from relative obscurity, in 2012, she and her bandmates found themselves suddenly famous. What has remained constant is her voice. With Needle Paw, Saalfield returns to the sounds, songs, and voices—particularly those from historically marginalized communities, which often go unheard—that helped her to define her own. Needle Paw is, in part, a way of correcting that silencing. Singing in tribute to the voices that are most important to her, she is at her best." (Pitchfork)
|Format||2LP, 180 Gram|
|Label||Music On Vinyl|