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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
By April, all the 'next big things' talked up at the start of the year have usually had their first shot at the big time and released that all-important debut record. Jessie J may have shaken up the pop scene somewhat, but this year's other top tips haven't really hit the heights. Maybe Jamie Woon, who placed fourth in the BBC's now-annual 'Sound of 2011' poll, was wise...
Published on 18 April 2011 by Robert Wegrzyniak

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4 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dubstep by numbers
A previous reviewer used the title: 'Smooth' - I agree. To this ear, Jamie Woon is the Englebert Humperdink of dubstep.
Published on 26 April 2011 by S. HOAR


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 18 April 2011
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This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
By April, all the 'next big things' talked up at the start of the year have usually had their first shot at the big time and released that all-important debut record. Jessie J may have shaken up the pop scene somewhat, but this year's other top tips haven't really hit the heights. Maybe Jamie Woon, who placed fourth in the BBC's now-annual 'Sound of 2011' poll, was wise to wait then as his debut proper Mirrorwriting (which follows his 2007 hype-generating EP, Wayfaring Stranger) doesn't get its UK release until now. The 28 year-old singer/songwriter, who has a fondness for samplers and has previously supported Amy Winehouse, has been tagged as another addition to the increasing slew of 'dubstep' artists, but there's more to this than quake-shaking bass. Is Woon's debut worth the wait?

For those who aren't already familiar with 'Night Air', just give it a few listens and it'll feel like an old friend; Woon's effortlessly soulful vocal sounds like it's been sourced from a lost '90s R'n'B classic, while the sultry backing groove manages the difficult task of sounding both retro and futuristic thanks to intriguing touches like the spectral backing vocals and the sexy, limbre bass. Although it never becomes a tired formula, Woon twists this template into different poised shapes throughout the record: so for example, there's 'Street' underpinned by its two-step shuffle, and 'Middle's Jamie Lidell-styled jitter-funk given an unexpected majestic air by the appearance of staccato strings at the midway point. And no wonder 'Lady Luck' was chosen as a single, as it sounds irresistibly contemporary while still overlaying an old-school Timbaland beat with a catchy gospel falsetto during the chorus.

Even the 'ballads' are imbued with captivating inflections. Woon could have laid back and counted the cash by presenting some young pop upstart with the melody to a song like 'Shoulda' but this is more than a drippy boyband slowie; in the hands of Woon, it becomes a spacious and fulfilling sonic drama ("I walked when I shoulda run and I ran when I shoulda walked, and don't I know?"), experimental in its electronic leanings but never drowning things in ideas. Meanwhile, 'Spiral' may have began life on acoustic guitar but, in its recorded version, there's almost a William Orbit air to its somewhat peculiar, down-tempo soundscape. Although the album's unhurried confidence may have lost some listeners by the midway point, you really should stick around until the end, as that's where the album's most emotionally resonant treasure lies in the form of 'Gravity', parts of which are enchantingly atmospheric enough to suggest Woon may have a future in scoring films should Mirrorwriting fail to be a bestseller.

It's probably a fair guess to assume many of The xx's influences are shared by Woon, as their post-R'n'B, bass-happy sheen is similar in tone, although Woon's less glaringly 'indie' aesthetic probably won't capture the NME crowd's imagination quite so readily, despite the obvious craft and talent on display. Although his loop-happy electronic tendencies may also position him alongside James Blake, who beat Woon to the post by releasing his own debut in February, Mirrorwriting is less stubbornly experimental; and, although I admired Blake's debut, it's all the better for it. By combining underground sensibilities with a background in classic songwriting, Woon has delivered a solid effort that justifies the early hype. Let's hope this one gets the push it deserves; if not, then I wouldn't be surprised if Woon is able to comfort himself with a Mercury nod later in the year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soulful vocals & beats that move your feet and your heart, 7 Jan 2012
This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
My 18 year old son gave this to me for Christmas, knowing that I am a speculative buyer of 'new music' - or at least, in this case, new to me. These gifts have been a hit or miss affair (he turned me on to the Mumfords well ahead of the crowd but Passion Pit were a one-play wonder). But this album is simply outstanding. From the driving beats of the opening track to the mellow soul-folk of the last, it's beautifully crafted, full of great grooves and sung in a soulful, expressive voice that stands out as one of the best of the current generation. (Ed Sheeran, eat your heart out, much as I like you).
This is the kind of album that you keep going back to, whether you're giving it the focused attention of in-car driving music, chilling round the house or as a backdrop to eating with friends. Bring on the next album, Jamie, I'm longing for more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this, 24 April 2011
This review is from: Mirrorwriting (MP3 Download)
Just beautiful music, frankly. Some albums take time to grow on me, some have a couple or a few good songs and the rest are ok, but this is just a whole album of great songs. I first found out about Woon from the video of Spirits on youtube - well worth watching.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only 'BBC - Next Big Thing' worth hyping for, 22 April 2011
This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
Dainty vocals from Woon, ghostly backing vocals, bassy tones and ethereal reverberations ensure that sexiness profusely oozes from your speakers.

There's a heartbeat that runs throughout the album, tugging all the songs together into a seamless soundtrack for two lovers embarking upon a sensual journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond my expectations, 30 Nov 2011
This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
First heard & saw 'Lady Luck' on little known music tv channel in Malaysia. I listened to some of his tracks on youtube & was convinced I should buy the album. Wow would be the word I choose to describe Jamie Woon. His voice is soulful and the tracks are amazing. One of the best albums released in 2011 that I have bought.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth, 25 April 2011
This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
I liked this album immediately, but am glad I held off from reviewing it for a while. Bit like James Blake, I thought, but more conventional tunes and arrangements. Bit like some of the slower soul songs of recent Plan B, but less intense. Bit XX; bit George Michael even. And the production, a bit like Burial, but not as experimental - although clearly doing the same sort of thing, as the wonderful mix of Wayfaring Stranger proved. Bit like lots of things I like, but without that something special to make it really stand out.

Two weeks later, I'm in thrall to it. I love everything about it, and the tunes that sounded kind of familiar but indistinct at first, are all now completely individual, and wonderful. It was Shoulda that first really got me into it. And once I'd played that to death, Tmrw. Then Lady Luck and Night Air, and Gravity... It's all superb. And that voice, that I thought initially was a bit ordinary, is so beautiful and sensual and smooth. I'd have given it 3 maybe 4 stars if I'd done this review the week I bought the cd, thinking it was nice but a bit too derivative. Now I'd give it 6 stars if I could - and it all sounds uniquely of Jamie Woon and no one else. Outstanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
Excellent debut album from South Londoner Jamie Woon. He creates a distinctive sound and atmospheric music. I like his use of electronic instruments and looping which he recreates amazingly live. Highlights of the album include Lady Luck, Gravity and Night Air. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it more than one listen, 31 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
I bought this cd on a whim as I did 5 years ago when I bought his mum's (Mae McKenna) album Shore to Shore. My intuition has served me well. Although their styles are very different they both can sing in tune and are very soothing and melodic. Because this album is unusual, I didnt find it an instant hit, nonetheless I cannot resist playing it again and again. Each time the album gets clearer and more defined. There isnt a track on it that I dont like. I am finding it a very intimate album. Jamie must have confidence in his ability to be able to let his voice tell the stories with minimal background synth, acoustics and vocals. Other people have described it as RnB and soul style. Whatever it is Im already waiting for album no. 2.... And I hope he tells his mum to hurry up with her follow-up to Shore to Shore!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 19 May 2012
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This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
First heard Jamie in a bar in krakow. We all said who is this talented person, little did we know at the time he was the British singer Jamie Woon. Went straight back to our hotel and downloaded Night Air, Shoulda and Street. Street is fantastic chill out. Can't get enough. Bought the CD on our return back to Uk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good. A sort of dark pop, soul with echoes of the '80., 29 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Mirrorwriting (Audio CD)
Really a good album and an excellent voice.
Not easy, or catchy, the value of the album is the atmosphere that remind the dark side of the '80 pop interlaced with a modern soul.
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