Ben Harper – Bloodline Maintenance (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

(Last Updated On: September 21, 2022)

Ben Harper – Bloodline Maintenance (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 32:06 minutes | 591 MB | Genre: Rock, Blues, Folk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Chrysalis Records

It was like I was moving forward and venturing into places I had never been before. Taking everything I’ve learned from every other record and kind of setting fire to it all and starting over,” Ben Harper says of his new album Bloodline Maintenance. “And I knew the sounds I was hearing in my head were so unorthodox that I had to do most of it myself.” The result is a fearless and immensely soulful work largely inspired by the loss of a longtime friend and the lingering influence of a mercurial and charismatic father. Along with guitar and bass, Harper also played the drums including an eclectic assortment of percussions. The deliberately open spaces and accented beats influenced in large part by the exploratory rhythms of the hip-hop he has loved since his teens. The result is less a direct influence than the applying of hip-hop’s inventiveness to longstanding paradigms of soul, blues and jazz, spinning it all forward into a reconfiguration of a new black Americana. “If this is my Mule Variations, then hallelujah.” Harper says, referencing the groundbreaking Tom Waits record. Bloodline Maintenance is both a political and personally revealing work. It is soul music, but never a stylistic tribute to some bygone era. The sound and words are essential and undeniably timely. Harper acknowledges that much of the exploration on the record was fueled by an awareness of time. “It’s this notion of mortality and the people we have lost. The way I hoped it would all turn out and the realization that, as beautiful as it all can be, perhaps none of it matters beyond these moments.

The very title of Bloodline Maintenance underscores Ben Harper’s mission on his 2022 album: he’s focusing on how trauma and tradition are passed down from one generation to the next. Certainly, these ideas are inspired by the general turbulence of the 2020s, an era where there’s been an attempt at reckoning with the effects of systemic racism, but Harper’s personal framing is due to the 2021 passing of Juan Nelson, his longtime friend and bandmate. In the aftermath of Nelson’s death, Harper composed the bulk of Bloodline Maintenance on bass, which may be the reason why the record has an inherent deep funkiness: much of it slides and grooves, even when it’s drifting into provocative territory. Harper does dress Bloodline Maintenance with meditative grace notes — the eerie shimmer of “Below Sea Level” functions as a slightly deceptive keynote — but most of the record finds social commentary and soul intertwining in a smooth, vibrant fashion reminiscent of the prime Curtis Mayfield albums of the 1970s. That’s not to say that Harper is stirring up old ghosts or is bound by the confines of retro-revivalism. The soul at the heart of Bloodline Maintenance functions as the music that bonds generations, allowing the singer/songwriter to delve into blues, doo wop, and hip-hop, all in a manner that feels heartfelt, not flashy. The result is one of Harper’s richer records: it’s impossible to separate the music from the message, which makes it all the more resonant. – Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Tracklist:
01. Ben Harper – Below Sea Level (01:47)
02. Ben Harper – We Need To Talk About It (02:53)
03. Ben Harper – Where Did We Go Wrong (02:44)
04. Ben Harper – Problem Child (04:31)
05. Ben Harper – Need To Know Basis (01:59)
06. Ben Harper – It Ain’t No Use (03:29)
07. Ben Harper – More Than Love (03:07)
08. Ben Harper – Smile At The Mention (03:38)
09. Ben Harper – Honey, Honey (03:31)
10. Ben Harper – Knew The Day Was Comin’ (02:10)
11. Ben Harper – Maybe I Can’t (02:12)

Download:

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