Review: AMIN PAYNE – George Benson Tribute

Posted by: Rebecca on November 1, 2013


There are too few musicians whose releases are a sonic pick-me-up. A few minutes of soul-brightening funk that somehow perks up your ears. So much of the music in this electronically-produced-world has that bass driven impending doom – or one the other end of the scale – that saccharine sound of vocal on chipmunk speed. Don’t get me wrong, both of these have their time and place, but you do long sometimes for an artist that hits that middle note. Authentically bright, upbeat but with feeling.

And then there’s AMIN PAYNE.

His latest EP a re-imagining of George Benson, the Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist that first rose to fame in the 60’s. Using a blend of jazz and gypsy ‘picking techniques’ he was renown as an incredible live musician as well as vocalist and scat-singer, so it’s only fitting that AMIN, himself an imaginative performer and accomplished composer, would pick Benson to accolade.

Using, AMIN says, vinyl-only samples and live instruments and percussion, the EP re-works tracks by or inspired by Benson and have all the warmth of the originals. Featuring a collaboration between AMIN and Perth’s now world-famous and seemingly never-sleeping producer TA-KU, ‘What We Have’ reworks Benson’s 1976 ‘Love Ballad’ into a crunchy hip-hop track worthy of any dance-floor, with all the romance of Benson’s crooning voice. In ‘Never Ever’ and ‘Love Dance’ AMIN fearlessly chops samples from Benson’s work, a saxophone solo that could have been considered cheesy, had it not been deftly worked into refreshing percussion and back-up vocals that nod at the broken-beats of the post-Dilla years, while making you want to be in a 70’s dance-off. With other collaborations between BEN BADA BOOM, DOC MASTERMIND, K SABA and  MIMISMOOTH it’s clear that a lot of time and energy has been spent on this free release and as I hit the third repeat of it today, it’s clear it’s paid off. 

Check out the rest of AMIN’s tribute releases here.

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