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Taking the Michael; GIG NEWS & LISTINGS By BRENDAN MCKEOWN & MARK WHYTE.

It has been an explosive year for Michael Kiwanuka, finally returning with a second record following four years of self-questioning and a loss of confidence in his craft.

What he eventually delivered was one of the most expansive albums of this year, and one that should surely stand the test of time. Working alongside Danger Mouse, Inflo, and Michael's long-standing producer Paul Butler, Love & Hate showcases the extraordinary vision of this uncompromising young British artist in delivering a near peerless record.

If his first album was about returning home again, Love & Hate is about leaving it behind and stepping out - and finding himself outside his comfort zone. It's an outward-looking recording, drenched with emotional density and rich, soulful production at the helm.

"I trust my creative process now," he explained in a recent interview with the BBC. "I've got way more confidence in what I'm doing.

"One of the main changes was being open to collaborating and showing people my writing process.

"It's quite a private place but through getting over that it helped me get out of ruts and patterns, that were pulling me down.

"I'll probably still make some bad music from time to time but I'm in it for the long haul now."

There are stand-out tunes throughout, but the album genuinely deserves to be listened to as one, littered as it is with 'headphones moments' that require real attention to the light and shade of its creation. That said, amongst the cluster of individual highlights is One More Night, a song that quickly become another highlight of a rich, engrossing live set, and acts as another fitting example of what makes this such a special record.

One More Night is honest, unabashed, and ambitious, this is Kiwanuka emerging from the emotional cocoon of his first album, and ready to secure his position as one of the UK's most exciting talents. A beautiful melody, wrapped in gauzy textures, it's a fantastic song, exquisitely arranged, something Love & Hate is packed with: the work of an artist coming into his own.

The record was rightfully shortlisted for this year's Mercury Music Prize, Michael's second nomination in as many records and further testament to this truly unique young talent.

Michael Kiwanuka plays the Limelight next Friday night and tickets are PS15 each, available from usual Ticketmaster - or maybe even FREE if you wanna read on..

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ENGROSSING: Michael Kiwanuka

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2016
Words:400
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