Music Review: Mercury Prize Winner Benjamin Clementine

November 24, 2015

If you haven't yet, do check out Benjamin Clementine, whose debut, At Least for Now,  won the 2015 Mercury Prize for Album of the Year. Clementine's dark and beautiful, classically influenced piano artistry is at the core of his inventive approach to music making. His vocal phrasing is versatile and provocative; he lingers on vowels in almost unsettling places, so his voice often becomes an equal part of the arrangement to the piano, violin, hip hop beats, etc.—a la Meshell Ndegeocello.  Other times, Clementine's voice is way up front, yet still follows the intonation of the piano or violin—almost vibrating like a trill, full of breath, or wide open like a power chord. The listener hears slight hints of possible artistic influences, such as Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen, but Clementine's sound is so much his own: experimental but affecting and beautiful to behold.

 
Benjamin Clementine plays "Nemesis" from his Mercury Prize-winning album At Least for Now:
 
 
 
 
 
 
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