Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cooly G

I'm still getting virus warnings every time I log onto Blurt so, again, I am posting the whole review of Cooly G's Playin Me, which went up on the site yesterday.

Cooly G
Playin' Me

Cooly G's version of "Trouble" is a far cry from the piano-lush, falsetto'd sentimentality of Coldplay, punctuated by whip-shot electric percussion and the chilled slinkiness of manicured synths. Cooly G, one of dubstep's only female producer/MCs, crosses warm sensual vocals with brainy, intricate rhythmic syncopation. She somehow makes the song both more emotionally real and less conventionally accessible than the original, a neat trick like turning processed cheese into runny camembert.

Playin Me is the artist's first full-length, following a string of well-received 12"s, splits and a much-remarked solo turn on King Midas Sound's Without You compilation. Cooly, whose real name is Merissa Campbell, does it all on these 13 tracks, writing, producing, arranging and mixing these uneasy concoctions of rhythm, mood and atmosphere. As a singer, Cooly G proceeds with smooth assurance, her voice as sleek and melodically capable as an old-school soul vocalist. Yet she contradicts and complicates her pretty lines with antsy, twitchy, chopped-up rhythms and ominous textures of synth. "Playin Me" starts with the accessibility of commercial radio pop, yet is quickly submerged in the trickeries of off-kilter rhythms, the uncertain undertows of echoey dread. Airy, dreamy "Landscapes" (aided by Sinbad) would float away if its billowing melody weren't riddled with the buckshot cadences of complicated electronic drums. And "Sunshine," transforms a warm, easy reggae back beat into something cerebral and spiritual, a caressing daydream heated just through with sensuality.

In interviews, Cooly G downplays her singular status in a male-dominated industry. Still it's not hard to suss out a distinctively female warmth pulsing through this traditionally chilly genre. Listen to the way her slippery, sexually-charged presence shifts the icy percussion and machine-smooth synths of "Good Times" into sensuality. Nobody's playing Cooly G. She's playing herself - and very well.

DOWNLOAD: "Good Times," "Playin Me" JENNIFER KELLY

And in non-music related news, I have been engrossed in the convention in Charlotte...that thing with all the female congresswomen and Nancy Pelosi made me so proud to be a Democrat, I cried at the Teddy Kennedy tribute, loved Deval Patrick and Michelle Obama is my new #1 hero....

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