PREMA: In Fusion (Label:

PREMA: In Fusion

Prema is a London-based Malaysian singer/songwriter/guitarist and ‘In Fusion’ is her second full album. She recorded her first back in the 90s and though it did well in her homeland, she knew a move to London was vital for her career to develop. In England, Prema painstakingly put together a song portfolio; then, to record it, she resorted to the new technology – My Space. Via that website she contacted the players she wanted – and what players! Without too much wrangling, Prema signed up Peter Erskine (drums), Luis Perdomo (Fender Rhodes), Damian Erskine (bass), Bashiri Johnson (percussion) and the renowned Wah Wah Watson on guitar. The result is an intriguing 13 song collection that, despite its cyber space conception, has a delightful, almost old-fashioned live and organic feel about it. The music clearly isn’t soul in the accepted sense, but soul fans who like the unusual, the more cerebral, even the quirky will find lots to like here. The key song, or so it seems to me, is the least typical on the album – the Latin swayer, ‘Mystical Rhythm’. It’s a gentle groove, but the clue is in the word ‘mystical’. All Prema’s songs have a mystical quality about them. They’re not the usual, formulaic tales of angst or love lost and found; nor will you get hackneyed exhortations to party, groove or shake parts of your anatomy. Instead you’ll get an oblique insinuation … in places demanding, but not any less passionate for that. ‘Mandalay’ is the best example. It sums up all the album’s quirkiness. It’s the LP’s catchiest cut and is real grower. Most of the rest is less instant in appeal, though ‘Somewhere In Between’ is a lovely, gentle ballad, while ‘Angel’ rides a classic floating, summer’s groove. Musically Perdomo’s Fender is outstanding throughout – especially on the opener ‘Underwater’, while fans of Wah Wah Watson might be disappointed by his almost laid back approach, though he shines on ‘Miracle’. He knows though that this is Prema’s album and he’s professional enough to allow her languid, laid back style take centre stage. ‘In Fusion’ is a left field soul album that will offer rewards for those jaded fans who are seeking something different. For more information go to
(BB) 3//5