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U-Nam - Future Love

Posted by Riley Welch on 2019/03/11

Normally when an artist of any medium draws from such personal downturns in life to express their inner feelings within their work, the result can be one of profound morosity and depression.  But then again, there’s never been anything ‘normal’ about French-born guitarist, composer, producer, and Skytown Records CEO genius U-Nam, and Future Love is definitive proof of that.

Laying the foundation for the project was a complex divorce from his musician wife late last year. But instead of a collection of songs of bitterness and inner reflection, U-Nam, aka Emmanuel Abeteboul deviated from the norm, and redirected any animosity into creative fuel that propels this superb album of 13 songs of entirely original material. Rhythmically captivating, with infectious guitar melodies are the centrepiece of every track Future Love, with rich and lush additional instrumentation from extraordinary accompanying talent. The first hint of brilliance came in late 2018 with the initial single "Is That So?", a Wave Top 10 #1 hit brimming with funk and the rapid-fire airy and intoxicating flute melodies of his former wife. Flip ahead a few calendar pages to early 2019, and the full release of Future Love yields another stellar ultra melodic groove, the title track, which simmers with the accompany soul rich vocals of Tim ‘TiO’ Owens and Kim Chandler. By this time the album is instantaneously impacting smooth jazz charts nearly everywhere.

U-nam’s signature sound has long been defined by music that is not only uptempo and infectious but emotionally uplifting and positive, drawing from retro pop and funk influences of past decades. Future Love continues that mantra and legacy. "Changes" is another beat-driven and unrelenting track on a project where nearly every song is produced with live drums from Fran Merante, as opposed to computer programmed, soul-less rhythm. Add the expertise of musicians Andrey Chmut, Mattias Roos, Valeriy Stepanov, Kim Hansen, Michael White and several other distinguished and meticulously vetterd guest artists, Future Love erupts into a stylish and uber chic assortment of hypnotic bliss. Synthesizer arrangements provides even more heightened dimensionality by delivering a vibrant and flowing a string section feel and sound at times, and additional horn section is only another stylish component of the album.

"Good Old Days" packs punch like a classic dance track and makes one reflective for the era of Nile Rogers and Chic when symphony and percussion were inextricable. A funky Latin rhythm and beat on "El Fuego" offers a brilliant cultural dynamic to Future Love, and also pays tribute to U-Nam’s Southern European ancestral roots. "A Change Of Heart" is dynamically sublime and rekindles ones memories of ‘80s Euro-dance and pop from the days of clubbing and buying 12 inch singles. 

Speaking of throwbacks, U-Nam breathes new life into a couple of classics, including Luther Vandross’ "Get It Right", and again the backing vocals of Owens and Chandler are pure soul magnificence on this hip R’n’B track. And a cover of Deodato’s "Never Knew Love" (composed by Katrese and Jerry Barnes), shows U-Nam is well schooled in the ‘old school’ era, again accompanied by Owens and Chandler.

I’ve had the personal good fortune of befriending U-Nam over the years, to the point where weekly e-chats to say ‘ hi’ or be privileged to get a sneak preview and offer feedback on another brilliant forthcoming project, so I inquired about how one could rise from personal turmoil to produce a full album that brims  with happiness and positivity.  He responded The idea behind the album and especially the tittle “Future Love” was to try to turn all the negatives things that happened in my personal life in 2018 in a more positive way for the future and make some positive and uplifting music, there has been a lot of changes in my life, in many ways and some still ongoing but I want to focus on the future and leave the past behind.” 

The album was originally to be titled ‘Changes’, but even that was, as we say, subject to change.  As U-Nam pointed out,” I changed it to “Future Love” to make a point! I’ve put as always all my heart and soul into it, even though this one resonates in a more personal way than some of my previous albums, but I’m very happy of the outcome and how people have already embraced it!” 

How could anyone not to want to embrace a future that is so musically sophisticated, inspiring and full of hope and happiness?

Reviewed by Stu Berketo

On-Air Host

Wave.fm 

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