Boomkat Product Review:
Preeminent poet, writer, musician and vocalist Roger Robinson and his new band, The Black Space Quartet, deliver a knockout bout of heartical dub poetry and sultry R&B in a very special addition to our Documenting Sound series.
Highly regarded as the voice of King Midas Sound, and responsible for its frankly devastating lyrics, Roger Robinson is also a winner of the prestigious Ondaatje and T.S. Eliot Prizes - only the second writer of Caribbean heritage to ever win the latter. His poetry has also been commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate and The Barbican among countless others, and he is a co-founder of London poetry collective Malika's Poetry Kitchen with fellow poets Malika Booker and Jacob-Sam La Rose.
With production by LSN and Ruby Jones’ vocal spar to front The Black Space Quartet, Robinson and the band here channel feelings on life and love into piercingly moving songs redolent of KMS’ moon-kissing nocturnes, but just as much recalling Tricky’s little-known but untouchable Nearly God art-melters.
Last heard on 2019’s crushingly bleak ’Solitude’ album with King Midas Sound, which took on uncanny meaning during lockdown, Roger here once again exposes a downbeat stroke guided by, as he describes “a yearning for the intimacy of gathering, a reflection of the skins hunger for human touch and hymns toward hope.” But far from the stark spoken narrative of that bruising last KMS album, here Robinson channels the most soulful vocals we’ve ever heard from him, oozing emotion and harking back to classic soulful motifs that now somehow feel like a cherished relic from another era.
These are moving, memorable, poignant songs - a precious sound document from one of the most important writers of our time.