We reviewed the Chase & Status Remix of Nneka’s Heartbeat a while back on Jukebox, and while the dub + metal guitar remix is nice and all, the original is a song of stunning beauty and measureless depth. This track does so many different things at once, flitting from tinkling pianos and pulsating basslines that wouldn’t be out of place in house music to harsh percussive guitar chords to freewheeling, clattering drums out of highlife or another sub-genre I’m ill-equipped to identify. What prevents it from becoming a total mess is the unifying power of Nneka’s echoing, twisting performance. She dominates the mix, torquing her voice from nasal cries of pain to the deep tones of her repeated “BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD KEEPS RUSHING.”
I haven’t had time yet to check out No Longer at Ease, the 2008 album this is taken from, but ‘Heartbeat’ is easily one of my favourite discoveries of 2009.