Cam Be is a multi-dimensional artist. He is a prolific photographer, film director and musician and doesn't dabble in any of these pursuits. A couple of years back has was recognized with an Emmy award for his work in film and recently displayed some of his photographs in Chicago. 7 Steps to 7 is his first solo album and melds soul, funk, hip-hop and jazz. He went all out working with a large array of musicians who bring their talent to the album.
The album opens with “7” which splices together vintage electric piano, vocal harmonies and a deep cutting drum beat into a smooth sounding groove. The flow is great but so is the hook. It’s jazzy with a dab of A Tribe Called Quest. I was on board after the first track.
“ldust” is slightly off-kilter, dissonant and throws you into a dreamlike psychedelic haze. The drums and lead vocals keep the song from floating away. “Miracles” contains a smooth, jazzy ’70s flavor while “VII” felt like the best beatnik poetry reading you have ever heard. The mood is festive and fun on “4days” but above all else extremely chill.
There is wicked jazz on “Possibilities.” The way the vocals come in and and out of the mix is psychedelic and dreamlike. A female vocal arises out of nowhere and blends with a lead and then another vocal takes over. I really liked the inventive arrangement and structure on this song.
“Guns & Police” is arguably the grooviest song on the album. It’s instrumental with no lead vocals. The vocals that do make themselves known are in the background like ghosts. “Seven” closes the album which is a smooth and extremely serene and tranquil song.
7 Steps to 7 excels at unique transitions with fading techniques. It really gives the whole album a dream like ephemeral quality that is highly original and unifies the album. The beautifully captured and produced elements don’t hurt in making it one of the best albums I have heard this year. Spread the word. Highly recommended.
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