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Gil Scott-Heron 

I'm New Here (XL)

This is a gift from Gil Scott-Heron, whose last studio album, Spirits, came in 1994. But the best gifts are worth the wait---witness "Running" or "Where Did the Night Go." The buzz threading through the poet and performer's baritone is beautifully matched by minimal, monolithic electronic production, courtesy of XL owner Richard Russell. His use of simple, synthesized patterns repeating, or a bass drum booming at broad intervals underscore Scott-Heron's spoken word and song, his teachings that time and experience are cyclical. There's no such thing as running away; you're only running in circles. His guest vocal on Blackalicious's "First in Flight" in 2002 hinted at a return. This album heralds it.

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