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South London's Henry Wu delivers a quintet of outstanding modern-day soul in the Negotiate EP

South London’s Henry Wu delivers a quintet of outstanding modern-day soul in the Negotiate EP
Alex Rennie

Review Overview



Negotiate, the latest release from Peckham-based beatsmith Henry Wu, is a sophisticated collection of grooves designed to indulge your ears.

As we touched on in last month’s State of Play, the five-track EP on Alex Nut’s new HoTep imprint is one of those rare and enticing releases that struggle to be pigeonholed. Rather, Mr. Wu has put together an intricate mosaic that slinks between the lines of definition, where hazy beats and sumptuous jazz cuts merge together to form an eclectic house-infused record.

Wu kicks off proceedings with Don’t Want The Regular, a buoyant and funk-drenched track, precariously balanced on a bumpy syncopated rhythm and blending the tantalising guitar melody with its atmospheric keys. An apt opener. With the low-slung tone established, Expensive Ghetto follows, featuring 22a Records cohort Mo Kolours, injecting a more abstract texture to the EP.



The off-kilter feel is synonymous with the distinct style this tight-knit collective have already established for themselves, while the frenetic saxophone and disjointed percussion transform it into a special slice of psychedelic jazz on a hip-hop tip. Venturing closer to the realms of house, Black Rigsby ushers in a welcome dose of up-tempo synth, exhibiting a distinctly Detroit flavour and providing a refined finale to a comprehensive A-side.

Flip to the B-side and you’ll find title track Just Negotiate, which features the blissfully soulful vocals of relative unknown Simeon Jones. The aerated analogue sounds ooze throughout with an almost cloud-like quality, so that it appears to float from beginning to end. Rounding off the record is Joint Seventeen, the focal point of which is a flawlessly slack bass hook that acts as a gentle full-stop to a truly diverse audio-adventure.

His musicianship and knack for weaving together jazzy melodies are self-evident here, and the apparent ease with which he can fashion a quintet of outstanding modern-day soul such as these is a testament to his relatively short but exponentially flourishing career.

Get Negotiate now from HoTep’s Bandcamp.