Various ‘The Silhouettes Project’ LP (Melting Pot Music) 4/5

The Silhouettes Project release their debut self-titled compilation through Melting Pot Music offering a genuinely exciting perspective on the UK’s underground and hip-hop culture.

It certainly feels like the UK has achieved a fairly high level of respect and warranted attention towards this current generation of burgeoning artists due to multiple breakout successes. Spearheaded by current luminaries Nubya Garcia, Joe Armon-Jones and Moses Boyd to name a few, the UK’s jazz scene has seen an incredible explosion over the last few years garnering a fantastic reception both home and overseas with many of these artists ascending to some bewildering heights. Blue Note Records this year handed over the reins of their revered catalogue to some of these aforementioned stars for the two-disc compilation ‘Blue Note Re:Imagined’ where legendary recordings by the likes of Donald Byrd, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter were “reimagined” by specifically UK acts Emma-Jean Thackray, Alfa Mist, Jordan Rakei amongst many others.

But even beyond jazz, the UK is continually able to boast an increasing array of success stories where artists are achieving this breakthrough recognition while still not compromising the musical styles and ideals that garnered them their initial following. Referring to themselves as a “community project”, The Silhouettes Project is indicative of those values of honesty within the music their artists make and about developing an infrastructure for them to learn and grow with help from likeminded artists around them.

An incredibly inspiring story, the Project was instigated by Asher Korner and Jaden Osei-Bonsu as a way to bring young artists together and to help the UK’s hip-hop scene ascend to a greater level of prominence. The album itself is comprised of fifteen tracks that were initially released individually as singles through the Silhouettes Project Bandcamp page starting from the 3rd September 2020 with the release of ‘At The Bay’ by Bel Cobain and Lex Amor. Subsequent singles were unveiled every Thursday that followed until there were fifteen of these incredible soul-infused hip-hop gems representative of the boundless talents adorning London’s underground music scene.

The production throughout is fantastic – really enhanced by the use of rich piano loops, crisp drums and warm keyboards displaying a cohesive uniformity as if the tracks were all born of the same session. Enny’s somewhat sombre but infectious ‘For South’ delivers as a strong album highlight as do many of the hip-hop and soul crossover collaborations like ‘What U Need’ by KeepVibesNear & Nix Northwest and ‘No Peace’ by Kieron Boothe & Morgan Lorelle. Elisa Imperilee’s centre stage performance on the neo-soul inspired ‘Closer’ again is an absolute must listen.

A quick special mention really should go to the wonderful artwork by Sergio Alférez that accompanies the full album as well as each of the individual singles really helping to establish a wonderful aesthetic in tune with the whole project.

The Silhouettes Project is a staggering achievement and a genuine testament to the vision put forward by project founders, Korner and Osei-Bonsu.

Imran Mirza