The new collaborative project between Deborah Jordan and K15, just released via Futuristica Music, explores the concept of our own humanity while attempting to address what does in fact make each of us human.
While the inspired pairing of revered singer and songwriter, Deborah Jordan, alongside the boundless versatility of producer and musician K15 (Kieron Ifill) for a whole album seems too good to be true, this is actually a project that each of their respective roads have been converging towards for years.
With a musical union that stretches as far back as Jordan’s sophomore album release ‘What You See’ (2011), K15’s immaculate production has become a firm staple within her music since having gone on to contribute remixes for ‘Love From The Sun’ and ‘Amina’ as well as four staggering productions on Jordan’s monumental ‘See in the Dark’ album.
Deborah Jordan – as an earnest, sincere and compassionate songwriter – has always managed to convey so much through her music making her one of the most profound and earnest voices of our time. Through her solo releases as well as key contributions to full-length projects as part of Silhouette Brown with Kaidi Tatham and Dego, Robert Mitchell’s Panacea and Sun Circle with Simon S, Jordan finds a way to inject her charm and personality into each venture despite the varied styles of each.
Similarly for Ifill, he himself has proved genuinely at home amongst a variety of collaborators be it projects with Henry Wu, Earl Jeffers, rapper DistantStarr or vocalist Emeson; K15’s all-encompassing approach to music-making affords him the opportunity to excel amongst these various genres, and even amongst genres where the parameters are even less defined as with his Culross Close project. Having just released his third album under the Culross Close moniker, the concept sees Ifill straddle these seemingly disparate realms of jazz and electronica to genuinely exquisite effect.
As much of a meeting of the musical minds as this project is, the album undertakes a deeply spiritual exploration on what it is to be human. With songs delving into fear, grief, remorse and love, ‘Human’ boldly places those character traits under the proverbial microscope and faces them with a sincere and honest openness. The subject matter is broached with such sensitivity throughout the album’s twelve tracks which is very much indicative of the approach that both Jordan and Ifill continually bring to their music.
The songs throughout ‘Human’ beautifully embrace the array of styles that both Jordan and Ifill have become attributed to – from the brilliant Culross Close-esque production of album opener ‘Running’ to the twinges of broken beat found in ‘Innervision’ and the more acoustic, piano-driven tracks like ‘Change’. The masterful production is both sparse and intricate affording Jordan’s typically incredible vocal the appropriate space to explore these sonic soundscapes in her own inimitable way while expressing those very characteristics about our own humanity.
Which brings us back to our opening question about what is it that makes us human? Maybe it’s hope. It could be argued to be the underlying theme of the whole album – the belief we have in ourselves and each other that tomorrow brings a brighter day. But that’s one interpretation and as a prospective listener, you are bound to draw your own conclusions having heard the project too. You’ll think, you’ll smile, you may even be inspired which is what great art can draw out of you. You are human, after all.