Stoned Part I


Stoned Part I was the first self-released album from lost soul phenomenon Lewis Taylor. His third album proper, it was initially released on his own label Slow Reality in 2002. First ever vinyl edition. After parting ways with Island, and without a label deal, Lewis went back to his home studio and began to record Stoned Part I in 2001. Co-written and co-produced with longtime collaborator Sabina Smyth, Lewis sings and plays all the instruments on this beautiful, emotional and very human album. It represents Lewis at his most accessible and finds him in the middle ground between his two Island releases. In some ways, Stoned Part I distills the best of his musical sensibilities. The flawless production is dense, layered and very early-2000s slick. The bottom end is thick, funky and sexy. The complex, proggy-soul of title track "Stoned" opens the album with deep swinging funk and sweet soulful vocals, complemented by wah-wah guitar and swelling acidic synths. "Positively Beautiful" has shades of Curtis and Marvin; its richly layered harmonies propelled by a simple, metronomic click-track that gives way to a more fully fleshed beat for the magnificent coda. The slow, sweeping majesty of "Lewis IV" is all moody atmosphere, featuring dense, richly textured music and heavenly multi-tracked harmonies. "Send Me An Angel" is beautifully crafted sophisticated soul-pop songwriting in the vein of the very best Sade records. The smooth, psychedelia-lite "Til The Morning Light" is a gorgeous, sun-dappled love song, layered with Lewis's distinctive honey-drenched vocals. "Shame" packs so many shifting styles into one song; opening in a laconic, breezy style, not unlike a Dallas Austin or Rodney Jerkins produced R&B hit of the day, it morphs into a heavy psych-soul Soulaquarians wig-out before elegantly sliding into string-assisted symphonic soul and then back around again. The sublime, gentle head-nod funk-soul of "When Will I Ever Learn" (Part 1) is a neat, sweet bass-driven guitar-soul jam. "Lovin' U More" sounds like a classic turn-of-the-century Neptunes production. A Latin-tinged groover with more than a little Nile Rodgers-driven slick funk stylings, it's yet another instant Lewis bomb with those gorgeous harmonies and chart-friendly irresistible key-changes to boot. The funky seductive swagger of "From The Day We Met - Part II" opens the final side of wax, giving way to the gigantic buzzing synth-funk beast "Lovelight", a track so insouciantly mighty it should have been a massive hit for someone. To close this phenomenal album, the twisted electronic soul of "Sheneverdid" marries Lewis's beautiful falsetto to his virtuoso playing and an easy-cum-ominous musical backdrop. Mastered by Simon Francis. Cut by Cicely Balston at Air Studios and pressed at Record Industry.