Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #9 Jamie Lidell
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until we unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#9 Jamie Lidell
I was watching Jamie Lidell's videos on the Warp Records DVD the other night. They really blew me away. I had forgotten what a freak Jamie was, and is. You get the impression that even Jamie's mundane acts are full of energy, creativity, and genius. He can create something edgy and original out of an act as simple as shaving (as the Frederick D. video for "The City" demonstrates). These videos also remind you that Lidell does it all. He's an actor, a vaudevillian, a musician, and a man with an absurdly sweet voice; all this, and one of the top production talents ever to sample and assemble a song on-the-fly. Jamie is also an endless reference bag, incorporating everything from soul and hip hop to punk and techno. All mashed up and spit out in the Technicolor of Jamie's crazed audio hallucinations. He's possibly the single most unique talent in on our top 100 list.
When I first discovered Jamie Lidell, he was a loop happy DJ that created live music from samples of his own beat-box vocals and throaty whines. (Who is this lunatic wearing shredded plastic garbage bags? Check out: Live at the Royal Festival Hall 2004) After I saw him live, I realized that he was the most arresting performer out there (with the possible exceptions of Soulwax, Nick Cave, and Tom Waits). I still think so. Somehow he is able to seamlessly combine the sensibilities of performance art with the vigor and honky-tonk touches of a Vegas show. What could be better?
With his most recent album, Jim, Lidell has reinvented himself as the sort of Net-age soul singer we saw emerging on Multiply. He's far less edgy than he was on earlier efforts, but all the production talent remains - on or off the stage. In many ways, Jim feels like the Lidellian character sketch of the moment. We can only wait eagerly to see who he is the next time.
- Ken Manning
Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.
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