Words by Jesse Serwer
Liam Bailey’s “Cold & Clear” crackles with the sort of instrumental warmth one might mistakenly assign to vintage Studio One, its Hammond organ, horns and walking bass all seemingly repurposed from some foundational reggae recording you can’t quite recall the name of.
Inspiration aside, it’s an entirely contemporary creation, recorded for the British singer’s upcoming album, Ekundayo. That project, coming Nov. 13 via Brooklyn’s Big Crown Records, is stacked with warm, deeply lived-in tracks that, while evoking earlier eras, were recorded during recent stays at producer and analog sound master Leon Michels’ upstate New York studio.
“That’s all me and Leon,” Bailey explains of “Cold & Clear,” premiering here ahead of its official release on Friday. “Everything was played by ourselves. We’ll be jamming, and then he goes and produces that.”
Mood-wise, the subdued track feels right on time for the onset of darker, shorter days and colder weather. It’s a sound which Bailey, who recalls recording “Cold & Clear” during such months, describes as “Winter Reggae.”
Look out for an interview with Bailey coming to these pages soon. Until then, run tune on “Cold & Clear” below, and hear the rest of the advance singles from Ekundayo, including the brilliant ’80s dancehall homage “Champion,” here.