Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: It’s all about Starfruit's collaborations | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: It’s all about Starfruit's collaborations

When Moonchild’s Starfruit hit my inbox, the first observation was Lalah Hathaway in the credits. I thought, “Hmmmm … Lalah’s bringing her luster yet again,” as when she won Grammys with Robert Glasper and Snarky Puppy. Her contribution here, “Tell Him,” was how I introduced this new release to The Soul Show on WYEP. Tracks featuring Rapsody, then Tank and the Bangas, followed.

Truth is, what makes this Moonchild album special is the guest roster: Ill Camille and Josh Johnson are some of the other visiting vocalists and musicians who offer valuable textures to the presentation. Moonchild’s own Amber Navran, with her breathiness and voice overdubs, feels formulaic without the support. I found myself dozing midstream until Ill Camille reignited things. Rap can spark.

One more reflective note before I return to the whys of this album pick: there was the constant reminder of my preference for bass from strings instead of keyboard. Fingers plucking and stroking make low notes sing. The deep registers on Starfruit drone at times. I can’t imagine what Dayton-based funk band Slave would have been without Mark Adams’ magic on electric bass. Yes, I know Stevie Wonder could pull it off with synths, as on “Higher Ground.” Not everyone can.

What intrigues me about Starfruit is Moonchild’s new collaborative experiment. Listen to “Need That” and “Love I Need.” I really enjoy what the visiting talent has brought along.
Mike Canton is the longtime host and producer of The Soul Show on WYEP 91.3FM. He recently launched a syndicated edition of the program, now airing in four markets. Both are produced in his Electric Basement Studios. Canton is also a Pittsburgh-area voice artist.

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