To the electronica-lite of Zero 7’s 2001 debut, Simple Things, Jamaican-born Mozez brought hot buttered soul and Marvin Gaye assurance, the former church singer wrenching real soul out of a pure digital frieze. So Still confirms his instinctive cadences and silken vocals but also his bliss-filled songwriting skills. Joined by top producers Nightmares on Wax and Madonna’s Guy Sigsworth, Mozez spins philosophical tales of life, love, and eternity. Some will tag So Still as the ultimate vocal chill-out album, or simply new-age dance fodder, but beneath the album’s shimmering surface lie exquisite songs crafted with real-world chops that go beyond samples or computer editing software. “Spinning Top” has the æthereal sway and earthbound sadness of a gospel choir, and it’s given flight by the sweet vocals of Yvonne John-Lewis. “Getting Better” and “Take the Sun” are daydream reveries complete with radio-ready vocal hooks. Several tracks (“Feel Free,” “Somehow Now,” “Eternity”) recall Seal’s call to humanism as well as the esoteric weirdness of early Genesis, all drenched in gossamer synths, trip-hop beats, and twinkling sound effects. So Still is the album Massive Attack could have made had they chosen light over darkness, or perhaps Portishead’s Dummy rid of despair.
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