Carrying Colour / The Vinyl Factory
7 August 2020
Duval Timothy’s Help LP is a vivid collection of sonic vignettes. A sprawling album, Help is a thoughtful post-jazz work with a ruminative quality that is very much Timothy’s own.
Jazz has clearly provided Timothy with the starting point for these compositions. At times his music steers pretty close to the genre’s archetypal sounds – ‘Ice’, ‘9’ and ‘C’, for instance, are solo keyboard works that nod to both Keith Jarrett and Laraaji’s recent Sun Piano LP. Other points of Help find Timothy’s jazz disposition intersecting with contemporary production techniques or varied instrumentation. When the likes of ‘Alone’ introduce synthetic keys and chorus-drenched electric guitar into the mix we find ourselves close to MNDSGN territory. The record is also studded with potent passages of speech which help to frame the instrumental passages – see ‘Tdagb’, a piece delivered by Timothy’s sister and described as an ‘Afro-pessimist koan’ by Josh Kun in Help’s press release, on this count.
It speaks volumes about Timothy’s aesthetic vision that Help sees a rather varied array of guest artists contribute to the album. The bittersweet post-grime tones of Mr. Mitch, Vegyn’s off-kilter take on the LA beat style and genre-shy alt-popster Twin Shadow all assimilate superbly into the album’s flow while enlivening Timothy’s music with their own quirks. On ‘Fall Again’ Timothy manages to bring together Lil Silva, an artist primarily known for his UK funky innovations, guitar prodigy Melanie Faye and Kwes to create a gorgeous, low-lit and soulful piece in which Silva takes lead vocals.
Duval Timothy’s Help is a thought-provoking and stunning collection of musical sketches, abstract songcraft and post-jazz compositions from a singular artist.