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Gil Scott-Heron|I’m New Here

I’m New Here

Gil Scott-Heron

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I’m New Here is a shock. It’s a wallop filled with big nasty beats, a wide range of sonic atmospheres, and more -- sometimes unintentional -- autobiographical intimacy than we’ve heard from Gil Scott-Heron than ever before. Produced by XL Recordings head Richard Russell, I’m New Here is his first record in 16 years. It is a scant 28 minutes and doesn’t need to be a second longer. It's unlike anything he’s previously recorded, though there is metaphoric precedence in his earliest, largely spoken word albums. Its production pushes forcefully at the margins, and Scott-Heron embraces it without a hint of nostalgia. It opens with “On Coming from a Broken Home,” the first of a two-part poem that bookends the album. Over a piano and a sampled string loop (from Kanye West's “Flashing Lights”), he reflects on his upbringing filled with strong female figures and an unconventional structure, with a startling epiphany at the end. It segues immediately into a slamming read of Robert Johnson's “Me and the Devil,” with enormous hip-hop drums, sampled strings, and sonic effects that create a sense of brooding menace as Scott-Heron wails with bracing rawness to hair-raising effect. Just as quickly, the album shifts dramatically. A lone acoustic guitar introduces the Bill Callahan-penned title track. Scott-Heron recites the verse but sings its refrain: “No matter how far wrong gone/You can always turn around.” It feels like he’s speaking into a mirror with a dawning awareness of who -- and what -- he's become as he accepts it. He now owns this song. A Burial-like wall of effects over a cello loop introduces “Your Soul and Mine.” It’s Scott-Heron's unflinching look at death, and the way it feeds, yet ends with a warrior’s words: "So if you see the vulture coming/Flying circles in your mind/Remember there is no escaping/For he will follow close behind/Only promise me a battle/For your soul, and mine." It’s not all darkness, however. A reading of Bobby "Blue" Bland's “I’ll Take Care of You,” features Gil's soulful piano with a small string section. He sings it tenderly, in a now-raspier but still deeply expressive voice; it stands out sonically, but belongs here because of its intimacy. “New York Is Killing Me,” based on a John Lee Hooker blues, has been reinvented with almost entirely new lyrics and arrangement. Singers from the Harlem Gospel Choir; handclaps, bass drums, cymbals, synths, and guitar are treated spatially by Russell; Scott-Heron's lead vocal roars from the center. “The Crutch” is a burning atmospheric poem about a junkie’s life. Scott-Heron doesn’t distance himself from his subject; it isn’t mere observation, but an empathic elegy, and Russell’s suffocatingly close production brings it home. Forty years after his debut, I’m New Here contains the artful immediacy that distinguishes Scott-Heron’s best art. The modern production adds immeasurably to that quality, underscores his continued relevance in reflecting the times, and opens his work to a new generation of listeners while giving older ones a righteous jolt. [XL is also offering a limited editon of 300 copies with seven bonus tracks. These include unreleased material from the album's sessions, as well as new versions of "Winter In America" and "Home Is Where The Hatred Is."]
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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I’m New Here

Gil Scott-Heron

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1
On Coming from a Broken Home (Pt. 1)
00:02:20

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - E. Hudson, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Kanye West, ComposerLyricist - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - EMI Blackwood Music Inc., MusicPublisher - Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Co, MusicPublisher - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Engineer - Please Gimme My Publishing Inc., MusicPublisher - Harry Fox Agency, MusicPublisher - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - E. Hudson Music LLC, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

2
Me and the Devil
00:03:33

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Marsh, Engineer - PUBLIC DOMAIN, MusicPublisher - Robert Johnson, ComposerLyricist - Damon Albarn, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Block, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Rodaidh McDonald, Engineer - Mary Jo Stilp, AssociatedPerformer - Una Tone, AssociatedPerformer - Lawson White, Arranger, Engineer - Harry Fox Agency, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Christina Liberis, AssociatedPerformer

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

3
I'm New Here
00:03:33

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Pat Sullivan, AssociatedPerformer - Bill Callahan, ComposerLyricist - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Ichiho Nishiki, Engineer - Your/My Music, MusicPublisher - Rough Trade Publishing Ltd., MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

4
Your Soul and Mine
00:02:02

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Mike Block, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Russell, Composer, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Universal Music Publishing Ltd., MusicPublisher - Rodaidh McDonald, Engineer - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Mary Jo Stilp, AssociatedPerformer - Una Tone, AssociatedPerformer - Lawson White, Arranger, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Christina Liberis, AssociatedPerformer - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

5
Parents (Interlude)
00:00:18

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

6
I'll Take Care of You
00:02:58

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Brook Benton, ComposerLyricist - KIM JORDAN, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Block, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Mary Jo Stilp, AssociatedPerformer - Una Tone, AssociatedPerformer - Lawson White, Engineer - Harry Fox Agency, MusicPublisher - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - TSM UK Publishing, MusicPublisher - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Christina Liberis, AssociatedPerformer

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

7
Being Blessed (Interlude)
00:00:12

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

8
Where Did the Night Go
00:01:14

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Rodaidh McDonald, Engineer - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Arranger, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

9
I Was Guided (Interlude)
00:00:14

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

10
New York Is Killing Me
00:04:29

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Rodaidh McDonald, Engineer - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Arranger, Engineer - Chris Cunningham, AssociatedPerformer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Michelle Hutcherson, Choir - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher - Tiona Hall, Choir - Tyria Stokes, Choir

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

11
Certain Things (Interlude)
00:00:08

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

12
Running
00:02:00

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Richard Russell, Composer, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Universal Music Publishing Ltd., MusicPublisher - Rodaidh McDonald, Engineer - Universal Music Publishing Group, MusicPublisher - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

13
The Crutch
00:02:44

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Mike Block, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Russell, Composer, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Universal Music Publishing Ltd., MusicPublisher - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Mary Jo Stilp, AssociatedPerformer - Una Tone, AssociatedPerformer - Lawson White, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Christina Liberis, AssociatedPerformer - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

14
I've Been Me (Interlude)
00:00:16

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Engineer - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

15
On Coming from a Broken Home (Pt. 2)
00:02:15

Gil Scott-Heron, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - E. Hudson, ComposerLyricist - Mike Marsh, Engineer - Kanye West, ComposerLyricist - Richard Russell, Producer, AssociatedPerformer - EMI Blackwood Music Inc., MusicPublisher - Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Co, MusicPublisher - Brouhaha Music, MusicPublisher - Lawson White, Engineer - Please Gimme My Publishing Inc., MusicPublisher - Harry Fox Agency, MusicPublisher - Royce Jeffres, Engineer - CMRRA, MusicPublisher - E. Hudson Music LLC, MusicPublisher - Estate Of Gil Scott-Heron/Brouhaha Music/Rumal Rackley, MusicPublisher

2010 XL Recordings Ltd 2009 XL Recordings Ltd

Album Description

I’m New Here is a shock. It’s a wallop filled with big nasty beats, a wide range of sonic atmospheres, and more -- sometimes unintentional -- autobiographical intimacy than we’ve heard from Gil Scott-Heron than ever before. Produced by XL Recordings head Richard Russell, I’m New Here is his first record in 16 years. It is a scant 28 minutes and doesn’t need to be a second longer. It's unlike anything he’s previously recorded, though there is metaphoric precedence in his earliest, largely spoken word albums. Its production pushes forcefully at the margins, and Scott-Heron embraces it without a hint of nostalgia. It opens with “On Coming from a Broken Home,” the first of a two-part poem that bookends the album. Over a piano and a sampled string loop (from Kanye West's “Flashing Lights”), he reflects on his upbringing filled with strong female figures and an unconventional structure, with a startling epiphany at the end. It segues immediately into a slamming read of Robert Johnson's “Me and the Devil,” with enormous hip-hop drums, sampled strings, and sonic effects that create a sense of brooding menace as Scott-Heron wails with bracing rawness to hair-raising effect. Just as quickly, the album shifts dramatically. A lone acoustic guitar introduces the Bill Callahan-penned title track. Scott-Heron recites the verse but sings its refrain: “No matter how far wrong gone/You can always turn around.” It feels like he’s speaking into a mirror with a dawning awareness of who -- and what -- he's become as he accepts it. He now owns this song. A Burial-like wall of effects over a cello loop introduces “Your Soul and Mine.” It’s Scott-Heron's unflinching look at death, and the way it feeds, yet ends with a warrior’s words: "So if you see the vulture coming/Flying circles in your mind/Remember there is no escaping/For he will follow close behind/Only promise me a battle/For your soul, and mine." It’s not all darkness, however. A reading of Bobby "Blue" Bland's “I’ll Take Care of You,” features Gil's soulful piano with a small string section. He sings it tenderly, in a now-raspier but still deeply expressive voice; it stands out sonically, but belongs here because of its intimacy. “New York Is Killing Me,” based on a John Lee Hooker blues, has been reinvented with almost entirely new lyrics and arrangement. Singers from the Harlem Gospel Choir; handclaps, bass drums, cymbals, synths, and guitar are treated spatially by Russell; Scott-Heron's lead vocal roars from the center. “The Crutch” is a burning atmospheric poem about a junkie’s life. Scott-Heron doesn’t distance himself from his subject; it isn’t mere observation, but an empathic elegy, and Russell’s suffocatingly close production brings it home. Forty years after his debut, I’m New Here contains the artful immediacy that distinguishes Scott-Heron’s best art. The modern production adds immeasurably to that quality, underscores his continued relevance in reflecting the times, and opens his work to a new generation of listeners while giving older ones a righteous jolt. [XL is also offering a limited editon of 300 copies with seven bonus tracks. These include unreleased material from the album's sessions, as well as new versions of "Winter In America" and "Home Is Where The Hatred Is."]
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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