In February Gil Scott-Heron released his first new record in about 16 years. It’s almost all new, original material, save for a couple songs, like the title track. “I’m New Here” comes from Bill Callahan’s A River Ain’t Too Much To Love when Callahan was still recording under the Smog name. Maybe Scott-Heron couldn’t resist the song’s title, or the opening verse (“I did not become someone different / I did not want to be”) for his return to recording. Brit directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard captured Scott-Heron doing a growling, minimal performance of the song live inside Clinton Recording Studio. Oakley Hall’s Pat Sullivan backs him up on guitar. It’s a straightforward, live-in-the-studio video, but the directors add in soft background projections of Scott-Heron walking around Harlem to add another dimension to the performance — he’s carrying a bundle of flowers, as if he’s on his way to meet someone.
Watch it at IFC.
I’m New Here is out now via XL Recordings.