Kameko

Evalt: Evolutionary Alternative

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Every once in a while you stumble upon an artist unlike any other, one who transcends commercial genre and who prides himself on creativity opposed to commerce. Kameko is one of those rare artists, a guy who brings to mind true geniuses like Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Erykah Badu -- fellow soul-styled artists who aren't afraid to follow their muse rather than the paper trail. Granted, Kameko isn't quite in the same league as Prince, Stevie, or Erykah. Evalt: Evolutionary Alternative, his debut album, is an independent effort released by Tarpaul Records, and at this point, the guy is on the grind whereas those aforementioned eccentrics all found their niche commercially with time. Yet even if Kameko doesn't share the widespread acceptance of those artists, he certainly shares their raw talent. He's an original and a true talent, an artist who can seemingly do it all -- sing, write songs, arrange his own music, and put on quite a live show. Evalt showcases these talents well. It's a tour de force, for sure, comprising elements of numerous musical styles: singer/songwriter indulgence, neo-soul, Jimmy Cliff-style reggae crooning, spirituals, lite drum'n'bass soundscapes, alt-pop/rock, Prince-style guitar jams, a cappella scats, and vocal jazz workouts -- sometimes all within the same song! It's hard to say what's more fascinating: his songwriting (see the 9/11 response of "No More War"), his singing (the vocal acrobatics of the spare "Free"), his music (the raging Hendrix reprise of "Hollywood"), his arrangements (the showstopping "Concrete Jungle" interlude), or his heart (the confessional "Love Is the Only Way"). Yes, Evalt is indeed a tour de force -- a one-man talent show beyond ready comparison. That this is Kameko's debut makes it all the more astonishing. This guy is one in a million, no doubt, so if the major labels don't take note (which they may not, given that this is far too creative for MTV and commercial radio), at least you should. Consider this a heartfelt heads-up.

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