Reviewing the excited press about singer/songwriter Frank Ocean‘s albums Endless & Blond, I found a reference to the genre that his music is categorised and that was contemporary R & B. I really like that idea of a genre, although I’m guessing Mr Ocean himself does not want to be put into a so called category. But contemporary R & B just felt so right to read, here lies the work of an artist that is expressing with rather little reaction to perceived limitations. It’s tough in the USA, as diverse as our great country is, it’s quite au courant to find a young man of colour reference writers such as Gang Of Four, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Jaco Pastorius and The Cure. These fifty-something (except for Mr Pastorius) artists are amazing for me, since I’m from the same generation. Straight away I feel like his work possessing an intimacy and personal-ness that prior to late kind of wasn’t really allowed. Also on this great play list by Mr Ocean at Highsnobiety was the late Gerry Rafferty‘s Right Down The Line. It’s yacht rock at it’s finest, better than Baker Street and in fact I can almost imagine Mr Ocean singing it. Would be cool in a live concert! Also on the favourite songs list was a song from Nina Simone, Todd Rundgren, Jill Scott and the gorgeous Your Smile from Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – also drumming legend Tony Allen.
Apparently Mr Ocean, 28, has completed his obligation with the release of the visual album Endless, to Def Jam, and I have to say, he has the spirit of an independent artist.
When I first started watching Endless I was listening, and watching, with this terrible anticipation of waiting for something extreme to happen, as we have grown so accustomed to in our age of the “music video”, with fast & jarring edits and a lot of sets, locations, etc. But as I was watching, I did come to the realisation that this has slowly been changing through the teen’s and that art has become the mainstream. That’s a good thing!
The music is fantastic and touching, and Endless, visually and in conclusion satisfies. It is a documentation of the making of an object of art, it is a performance art in it’s documentation, it is a film, and it’s conclusion, has a great symbolisation of rising above. In a sense, it is spiritual piece.
Lovely to have Frank Ocean back. We waited and we couldn’t have imagined a work of such artful magnitude.
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