Review: D'Nell – 1st Magic
by Winston "Stone" Ford
The 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.