– Soul Cycle -//- Flipped – [Soul Cycle, 2010] –
While searching for some new sounds I stumbled onto the music of Soul Cycle’s “Self-titled“ debut album back in 2005. From the onset, I was amazed to hear their encompassing voice throb with confidence and therefore amplified through their impressive tone that contained fresh, resilient and inspiring sounds executed superbly by their poignant dexterity.
In the present tense, keyboardist/producer Jesse Fischer and company returns from Brooklyn, NY in 2010 with another tasty collection of gems on their fourth outing titled “Flipped.” In fact, after revisiting their previous efforts “Urban Organics” (2007) and “Mosaic” in 2009 … I was perhaps, a bit surprised when “Flipped” arrived with what appeared to be a more listener friendly approach in context.
Out of the box “Flipped” incorporates seven unique, enjoyable and soulful songs which features five gifted vocalists on a variety of familiar songs along with the bands imposing interplay to unleash their understated voices with authority. Perhaps, it seems, Soul Cycle’s mission here is to explore audibly and inclusive soundscape. One that essentially embodies a tapestry of fresh, vibrant and intimate flavors similar to groups like Incognito and Brand New Heavies to unveil their signature blend of soulful music with satisfying results.
The project opens with the infectious “Empty Pockets” to get things started. The group borrows from a variety of musical inspirations as they cling to the rugged edge of their indelible groove. Unfortunately bands like Soul Cycle aren’t heard often enough in the mainstream. The beauty of their distinguished jazz/funk/soul sound in turn offers ample space for the players to open with varied patterns embossed in the body of their sumptuous soulful rhythms and sequenced grooves layered just above the surface gives you a reason to take them for another spin.
In the meantime, the group revisits the fascinating melodies of “In a Sentimental Mood” featuring vocalist Saunders Sermons on this wonderfully sung and produced jazz classic. Sermons voice is covered with coating of cool and distinct voicing’s wrapped around the intimacy of this profoundly fresh jewel is without question a rendition unlike you’ve heard before.
Soul Cycle takes hipness to another dimension by painting their signature on a Stevie Wonder classic “My Cherie Amour.” This jewel showcases the lonely and talented vocal styling’s of Melanie Charles, who boldly adds her unique twist to this classic as an upcoming songstress.
The cool yet simplistic beats and vocal harmony displayed on “Prototype” are inspired by the voice of Rogiérs. Actually, he’s the only vocalist on this project that I was familiar with because of previous work with Soul Cycle and his solo recording (Life & Music: All of It).
Vocalist Mavis “Swan” Pools turns up the heat with her tasty rendition of Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It.” The group’s version of this classic moves with such poise and finesse as this exceptionally smooth, jazzy, and fresh gem echoes with a pulse of excitement!
“Streets of Gold” – (Remix) is the fuel that accents the group’s imposing brand and ultimately accomplishes their goal sonically by infusing ultra-rhythmic beats, jazz flavors and contoured textures … is absolutely the icing on the cake for me!
“Signs and Wonders” – (Remix) fits perfectly in the frame of today’s diversified music template of sequenced beats anchored to an unending stream of appointed down tempo accents unpacked by the poetic style of John Robinson and others as they intervene with the elements of jazz and Hip-hop grooves to wrap up the tasty session.
At the end of the day, the choice was made … Soul Cycle clearly decided to keep their music relevant in reference of today’s origin of music by serving up an attractive blend of soulful urban adult contemporary r&b with a taste of underlying jazz nuances on their first EP edition appropriately titled “Flipped.” By “flipping it,” Soul Cycle gives their fans a chance to revisited previous recordings and determine whether or not this paradigm shift is worthwhile or not.
As visionaries, Soul Cycle has established their voice as comparable musicians and taken steps to collaborated and reveal another side of their musical personalities with “Flipped” … as I see it isn’t necessarily a bad idea. After all, the group’s leader, keyboardist and accomplished producer Jesse Fischer and friends has played with a variety of artists in the pop, Hip-hop and r&b genres. In return, agree or disagree being pigeoned whole isn’t what most artist desire which makes this move a desirable one to give them the leverage to produce, write, play and experiment with a diverse palette of music now and in the future.