Romare Bearden was one of the most significant collage artists of the last century, creating a visual documentation of Arab-American life. Projections, the debut album from Romare, follows in the vein of his namesake, picking up a multitude of samples, hooks, and auras from decades of music, and combining them in a sound that is unmistakably modern. From the catchy chords of ‘Roots’, to the slick clicks of ‘Work Song’, it is an album firmly grounded in a deep and considered musical heritage.
To see what makes this album so remarkable, one has to look beyond individual tracks. LPs from dance music producers tend to run along one of two lines. They are either experimental forays into the deepest and murkiest textures – albums that would never be let near club turntables (think Pearson Sound’s upcoming LP), or disjointed collections of club bangers which end up sounding more like compilations. Yet in Projections, a middle path between the two is successfully strutted. Tracks quite happily stand alone: ‘Roots’, released last year, was near the top of nearly every Top Tracks of 2014 list. But such tracks sit completely congruously next to the mellower tones of ‘Jimmy’s Lament’. In any case, this is a clever and considered effort, and should secure Romare’s name on the circuit. Expect him in a Cellar near you soon; or at least blaring out of Rad Cam headphones.