Is “Blank Project” a jazz, soul, art or pop album? Listening to the disc attentively one could easily say all of the above, as the Swedish-born singer Neneh Cherry (known by mainstream music fans for her collaboration with Senegalese star Youssou N’ Dour) does her thing on her first solo release since 1996. Backed solely by Four Tet’s mix of percussion and electronic sounds, the music grabs you from the beginning with the Afro-inspired “Across The Water” and doesn’t let go until the very last track.
The album is a tour de force that might not be too appealing for easy-pop listeners. “Naked” has an acid-jazz feel with lyrics sung at an incredible speed, while “Out of the Black” (featuring Robyn) has a drum ‘n’ bass backdrop to Cherry’s sensual vocals. “Dossier” is another exercise in creativity as it is mostly the singer’s voice and manic drumming and extraneous sounds in place of regular instruments with a disco-like coda. This is definitely not easy listening, as it requires repeated hearings until you actually get it. (Ernest Barteldes)