Her lyrics are intense and personal studies of love's twisted turns, a nice change...
Greg Boraman 2003-06-18
'Neo-soul' gets a further boost with the release of the self-titled Tasha's World. Rotterdam born vocalist Natascha Slagtand presents a confident collection, full of rootsy and organic sounds, complimented by sparse but tough hip hop beats.
There will be inevitable comparisons to Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, and the similarities are evident enough. Like Badu she is given to a refreshing musical kleptomania; she's even supplied the after show entertainment at one of Scott's gigs.
Modern she maybe, but throughout the album you sense a woman who knows her soul history - especially the sophisticated sounds of the early 70s. On "She's A Pimp "shades of Curtis Mayfield's plaintive falsetto voice filter through. Her lyrics are intense and personal studies of love's twisted turns, a nice change from the meaningless and glib R&B that dominates so much of the charts.
What endures well beyond any comparisons is the strength of the melodies on this collection. The compositions are well formed and laden with simple hooks that gel easily with the supporting music."Stalker" deploys a slinky melody that worms its way between rimshots and muted horns, to an eerily spooky effect. "Black Panther" is another stand out track, a jaunty up-tempo shuffle that Mary J Blige probably wouldn't mind having in her songbook.
Live Tasha's World is an even funkier affair with a full band boasting a real, tight horn section and percussion. They've already built a very strong following - defeating the myth that live urban music is too dependent on technology to offer anything much beyond the two dimensional.
This is a strong debut that augurs very well for home-grown European soul music. One feels sure that the best is yet to come.