Album #269: Sault – Untitled (Black Is)

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Label: Forever Living Originals
  • Best Track: Bow

I’ve heard quite a bit about the mysterious project Sault of late. From what I can gather, this is UK-based, but largely anonymous, despite contributions from some well-known vocalists.

I started by listening to the album Untitled (Rise), which came out a few weeks ago, but I didn’t realise that was the second Sault album of this year, so I thought I’d better start with the first one.

Untitled (Black Is) was released on June 19th, a day known as Juneteenth in the US and commemorating the emancipation of slaves. It’s a fitting day for an album that’s largely an account, explanation and celebration of Blackness.

It’s a challenging album to me, both musically and lyrically. At times bluesy and funky, other times tinged with R&B, the record has a heavy gospel element, and in parts an overtly religious message. Not all of it works for me, but two tracks I really love are the grimy chants of ‘Stop Dem’ and the African unity song ‘Bow’, featuring recent Mercury Prize winner Michael Kiwanuka.

This record is not what I would normally go for, and not one I’m likely to return to often, but I can’t help but admire and be fascinated by it. It’s very 2020, perfectly encapsulating the zeitgeist of this strange and frightening year.

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