Video Exclusive: BJ Smith covers Mos Def's Umi Says | New music reviews, news & interviews
Video Exclusive: BJ Smith covers Mos Def's Umi Says
A stunning nu-Balearic cover of the hip hop soul classic
We're extremely proud to be able to present this charming exclusive video by the London multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter (and animator) BJ Smith - a ray of sunshine in the winter greyness. It comes from the forthcoming Dedication to the Greats release on the Nu Northern Soul label, which features Smith's acoustic covers of tracks by hip hop artists: The Pharcyde's "Runnin'", and the track featured here, Mos Def's "Umi Says".
Smith has been a low-key but impressive presence in underground music for a while now, collaborating regularly with international festival favourites Crazy P, and with no less a luminary than Holger Czukay of Can in the psychedelic rock band Bison. He developed a taste for creating radical cover versions after a remix commission from Crazy P turned into a complete acoustic re-recording, and this quickly led to the two balmy, gently psychedelic tracks on Dedication...
BBC 6Music's Gilles Peterson says that this track in particular will be "the soundtrack to sunrises around the world for years to come", and we're inclined to agree: it's a song that warms up and opens up quite magically over its four dreamy minutes. The double a-side single is being released as a limited vinyl package with hand-printed artwork by Liverpool artist TOMO. We strongly recommend getting a cup of tea, putting aside distractions and taking in the self-drawn video in its entirety.
Watch BJ Smith's "Umi Says":
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Folk-rock master on Kanye, songwriting, vagrants, cricket and much besides
Best of Britain's young choristers and jazz musicians in fabulous Shakespeare homage
First for 14 years from punk original Mark Perry and band
Later and greater than the rest - Glastonbury, the full adventure
Profoundly depressing scrutiny of the ascent and decline of Amy Winehouse
Tony Visconti, Woody Woodmansey and friends play the David Bowie classic
Loss, leaving and new beginnings dominate a beautiful album from the former Espers singer
Genre-straddling pianist on his covers project, and how the hip hop home studio denudes music
The final day of this inaugural free jazz festival proves British improv is in rude health
Scottish folk rockers revisit the time when hippies were casting off Paisley Pattern in favour of brown corduroy
Showbiz pizzazz ramped up to the max, but great songs remain pop minx's true forte
Splendid box set documenting the nexus of British folk and psychedelia