Review: D'Nell – 1st Magic

by Winston "Stone" Ford

D'Nell - 1st MagicThe UK has been a consistent breeding ground for quality r&b for quite a few years now, producing artists and sounds better than most of the r&b heard on the radio stateside. 1st Magic is the first full length album from London r&b duo D'Nell – producer Dan Jones and singer Ellie Hajee – and it's certainly a keeper.

1st Magic was recorded entirely in the duo's studio apartment (what?!), yet it sounds as good – if not better – as anything done in a state-of-the-art recording booth. Ellie's soulful vocals are the perfect fit for Dan's hip-hop production, which is rife with obscure samples, horns, and just plain sick bass lines. The end result is r&b with more of an organic feel than that of D'Nell's U.S. contemporaries, with plenty of jazz and funk inflections to go around (ok, organic has to be the most overused word in all of musicdom, but hey, it fits in this case).

It always feels good to get your hands on some music that you know won't be a waste of IPod space. 1st Magic delivers the goods.

  • Stone

    Whoa. I've been looking for this group ever since I heard “This Thing” on a while label DJ mix a year ago. thanks man

  • Michael

    No problem!

  • LondonLee

    Same here, I loved 'This Thing' and wondered if I'd ever hear anymore by them. Think I might have to give this a plug on my own blog.

  • ej

    That CD is one of my favorite CDs of this year, hands down.

  • RoseSweden

    I first heard D'Nell on a rainy day in autumn in a music shop in Geneva. It made me smile. Weeks later, I had to go back and hassle the staff in my bad French till they found it. 1st Magic is now on daily at my place. Funky and chilled out.