Seravince is an exciting new project from keyboardist and composer Vincent Helbers (aka Flowriders). His Hear to See album is sophisticated and effortless as its grooves seep out of the speakers. It is a deceptively fiery statement from an artist that continues to defy categorisation. This isn't neo soul, nu-jazz or any other limiting term you care to file it against. It's from the heart, well made and worth listening to from the first till last.
The significant contribution of virtuoso drummer Richard Spaven (Jose James, Flying Lotus, Robert Mitchell 3io, Guru), makes for the perfect counterbalance to ensemble pieces. Gentle jazz-inspired solos – and sensual vocals courtesy of Sharlene Hector (Basement Jaxx, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mark de Clive Lowe) and Renee Neufville (Zhane, RH Factor) – can often be anodyne.
About this album Helbers explains: "All the basic tracks – piano, drums, bass – where recorded straight to analogue tape," he adds. "One take. No editing. I wanted to keep that rawness in the sound. What some might describe as 'organic', I suppose."
It comes as no surprise then that the driving inspiration for this album was D'Angelo's modern soul masterpiece Voodoo. "Voodoo was a milestone in recording – unsurpassed to this day. It was one of the first albums to revert to the seventies' way of recording whole takes to tape. The recording of Hear to See mirrors that of Voodoo: I used the same SSL mixing desk, tape machines and mics. Although my music is more layered, I have tried to give the bass and drums that same authentic vibe."
Hear to See will be available worldwide (CD & digital) on 18 January on Moovmnt Records. Additional distribution via Fat Beats in February.