Joseph Malik Diverse

Soul music comes in many guises. Scottish singer-songwriter and vocalist Joseph Malik understands this deeply. He lives it in fact, offering the gift that is Diverse. Malik is a gifted storyteller with an observant eye, warm heart and a rich falsetto voice. "I don't claim to be a singer of songs, I just seem to write these words as I go along," he offers on "Melodies," but Malik's fine-tuned words speak of plenty: human interaction, life as a black man, government policies and more. For someone so deeply immersed in club culture - he's been DJing since the early '90s and producing beat-heavy material for labels such as Mo' Wax, Response and Yush - Malik is incredibly intuitive and comfortable working within the sounds of folk, blues, jazz, soul, pop and more. It's little surprise then to find him passionately covering Bill Withers' "Take It All In and Check It All Out," clearly feeling a connection with the similarly diverse and legendary songwriter. Like Withers, Malik is just as captivating when singing over simple acoustic instrumentation as he is when moving our booty. "As I Rise" and "Evil Things" are but two fine examples, both allowing his voice to soar over acoustic guitar and simple accompaniment. On the flip, "I Don't Want" and the awesome "Futuristica" are for the open-minded dance floors, the latter fusing elements of folk, jazz and Brazilian rhythms to produce body moving grooves. Malik may have come to attention of late as a versatile vocalist - working with folks like the Trüby Trio and Scottish drum & bass duo Grand Unify - but the truly special Diverse is what allows him to shine. Do yourself a favour and absorb every moment. (Compost)