The remake of any song - the cover - is always a risk. But there are artists who possess such a unique and powerful skill set, that the risk taken seems lesser than and more so of a sure thing.
Cellist, Nicholas Yee, is one of those artists. Because of his approach which is, to say the least, not a common one, he has no problem establishing the kind of new energy and identity necessary for a fresh take on pre-existing work.
Even so, taking on the music of someone as dynamic as his fellow Canadian, Daniel Caesar poses its fair share of obstacles. Caesar's debut album, Freudian, delivered him to where he has always deserved to be - spearheading the R&B and soul scenes. And what delivered him to Freudian was a pair of deliciously tantalizing singles that allowed him to take the step from unendingly talented but humbly appreciated to full-blown protégé on the cusp of his anticipated debut. When the debut dropped, one strange omission was noted - one of those two singles, Japanese Denim, was nowhere to be found while its release partner, Get You become the project's bannerhead track.
Since the explosive release of the album and Caesar's insanely fast rise up the ranks of celebrity musicians, his pre-limelight work is yet to receive the amount of attention that it should. Everyone seems understandably stuck on Freudian while Caesar's relatively unearthed canon vibrantly extends into the past.
Yee's cover of Japanese Denim is however, both an ode to Caesar's underrepresented work and the kind of gorgeous reprise that will undoubtedly draw some mark of an audience to the track amongst others.
But above all else, Yee's cut of Japanese Denim is liquid. Its quiet strength lies in its simplistic complexity of sole traditional instrumentation churning out the equivocal multilayered emotion present in the original. Yet, even though it still feels like Caesar’s Japanese Denim, an identity of subtlety and the hallmark of class is carved into its string palette.
Like many of Yee’s deliverables, this one transcends the bounds of what the common ear usually equates as normal listening. It is of course a deviation from the public’s norm, but could and should be fully embraced in a manner similar to the way that modern electronic remix compositions are celebrated for their genius in adjustment.