Motown Gets Rewound by Quinn Luke aka Bing Ji Ling on “Shadow to Shine”

Quinn Luke (Bing Ji Ling) releases his third solo album, Shadow to Shine, featuring members of Antibalas, the Dap Kings, Scissor Sisters, and the Phenomenal Handclap Band. Enjoy a free download of “Move On,” the first single from Shadow to Shine at the end of this article.

Quinn Luke aka Bing Ji Ling

The nom de plume of one Quinn Luke, Bing Ji Ling is a NYC–based producer/ musician with a rich legacy of work behind and in front of him. Having co-produced, written, recorded and performed two full length records, an EP, and a slew of singles (not to mention numerous collaborations and remixes), Luke thought the time was right to work with outside producers for the first time.

Produced by Embassy Sound Productions (Sean Marquand and Daniel Collas, the men behind Phenomenal Handclap Band), the forthcoming LP, Shadow to Shine, is an infectious concoction of Soul, Pop and Psychedelia full of summer jams destined for heavy rotation. Featuring members of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Scissor Sisters, Antibalas and Phenomenal Handclap Band, Shadow to Shine is a work of stunning, soulful talent, marking the finest chapter in Luke’s already accomplished career.

The Background
As a member of the Phenomenal Handclap Band, Luke has toured the world supporting acts such as Franz Ferdinand, Simian Mobile Disco, and the Gossip, as well as playing festivals such as O2 Wireless, Latitude (U.K.), Field Day (Australia) and BBK Live (Spain). As Coppa, a duo comprised of Luke and legendary crate-digging haven Chris Veltri (of Groove Merchant), Luke has also produced a series of 12-inch singles that have earned the praise of Space Disco tastemakers Prins Thomas and Todd Terje. As Q&A (formerly Expanding Head Band), a duo with Tussle songwriter Alexis Georgopoulos Luke has releases on DFA Records, Smalltown Supersound, and Lo Recordings. Luke is also a constant member of legendary skater-cum-musician Tommy Guerrero’s group, who regularly wow crowds at various international festivals such as Fuji Rock Festival (Japan).

Bing Ji Ling
Named for the Chinese words for Ice Cream (Luke spent a year in Shanghai and became fluent in Mandarin during his residency), as Bing Ji Ling Luke has released two full-length albums, an EP and numerous singles. Last year’s single, “Home”, culled from his EP June Degrees in December – featured remixes by Tokyo Black Star, Phenomenal Handclap Band, and Blackjoy. The track has received significant support, most notably from David Mancuso at his legendary party “The Loft.” A Japan only compilation of Luke’s work to date was released in the Fall of 2009. Luke toured Japan, U.S. and Europe to promote June Degrees in December, including PS-1 Warm Up Music Series in New York City and SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. Over the past few years, Luke has also played venerable hot–spots such as Bowery Ballroom and Knitting Factory (NYC), Viper Room (LA), the Warfield (SF) and Liquid Room (Tokyo). The albums include contributions from No Doubt’s drummer Adrian Young and Luke’s right-hand man Merkely. Press interest has led to coverage in Pitchfork, XLR8R, Swindle, and ReUp Magazine.

The New LP
In 2005, Luke relocated from San Francisco to New York. With the move, came a renewed sense of purpose. After releasing the EP June Degrees In December, which found Luke bringing his taste for yacht rock and 80s R&B to the fore, he decided to work with outside producers for the first time. In the Fall of 2008, with Marquand and Collas at the controls, Luke set about trying something he’d never done: write songs and let the producers guide the direction each song would take. The results speak for themselves: a brilliant, effervescent album that showcases undeniable pop singles, brilliant arrangements and the breadth of a classic long–playing album.

Two minutes into the album’s infectious opening track “Move On”, you can tell this is something special. Recalling classic Motown in a way that would make Mark Ronson jealous, the song opens up with a dubbed–out flute solo breakdown. Meanwhile, the classic fuzztones and acoustic strum of “Bye Bye” recalls the oft–overlooked 70’s work by Arthur Lee’s Love. The swagger soul of “Hold Tight” showcases Luke’s vocal acrobatics, his pitch–perfect falsetto showing impressive range. Meanwhile, the gentle lilt of “Sunshine Love” shows Luke isn’t just a rocker, he’s a lover too.

Luke has the kind of melodic sensibility most would kill for. Which says nothing of his musical chops and taste for vintage instruments. Utilizing a small arsenal of gear that includes: A Fender Rhodes piano, analog synthesizers, all manner of percussion and bass, drums and guitar, Luke coaxes a warm, familiar sound that sounds fresh.

The latter–half of the album finds Luke opening things up. The breezy “Hypnotized” maybe the album’s deep cut, a brilliantly arranged gem which draws on Bill Withers and Shuggie Otis – with a sly wink to the Beatles – again showcasing Luke’s knack for catchy, memorable vocal hooks and producers’ Marquand & Collas inventive arrangements. Somewhere, Burt Bacharach is smiling. “Some Things Never Change” is a lovely ballad, combining baroque Pop with classic LA Pop. As usual, Luke has a knack for a chorus that won’t leave your mind. Closer “Where Am I Gonna Go” is a lovely, acoustic track that suggests a Hendrix ballad as written by Erlend Øye – filtered through an echo chamber – it brings the album down gently to an intimate close

Unquestionably Shadow to Shine is Luke’s shining moment to date. It’s the kind of album – like all great Pop music – that etches itself into you: The work of a great songwriter, great musicians and great producers pursuing something together.

Buy it from Other Music

Move On Bing Ji Ling 2:58 MP3/320

Bing Ji Ling website

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