belated tune: Kwabs, “The Wilhelm Scream” (James Blake cover)

belated, baby

…and I don’t know what to say, except “Wow.” It’s kind of a wonder that in six weeks in Ghana, I didn’t hear about this guy.

Ghanaian-British artist Kwabs is now just beginning to get the attention he deserves. He’s got one of those rare voices that stops you in whatever you’re doing when you first hear it: powerful, too-deep, seemingly too huge to be contained by any roofed venue. But his restraint and sheer artistic ambition are what make this rework of James Blake’s “The Wilhelm Scream.”

Blake’s original is a sparse, hopeless masterpiece that, after every verse, features his fragile vocals settling at a fractured resolve: “Might as well fall in,” he decides. (Likewise the inspiration for “The Wilhelm Scream”–“Where To Turn”, from his father James Litherland–leave the speaker with tearing indecision.)

But Kwabs will have none of that. He shifts gears just before resolving to…

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