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Prince: Piano And A Microphone


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"Is that my echo? Can you turn the lights down? Good God!"


It's January 1983 and Prince is sitting at the piano in his home studio in Minneapolis. He has a cassette recorder, some spare time and a bunch of songs in his head.


Over the next 35 minutes, he stomps his feet and stretches his muscles, careering through gospel, jazz, funk and - for 88 tantalising seconds - a nascent version of Purple Rain.


Then he gets up, chucks the tape in his vault and goes off to become a megastar.


By highlighting this intimate, insightful performance, the star's estate is making a statement about how it intends to treat his archive - not as a cash cow, but as a way to explore and illuminate Prince's extraordinary creativity.


Ahead of the album's release, we spoke to archivist Michael Howe and musician Lisa Coleman - who played keyboards in Prince's band, The Revolution - about the new album, and what else we might hear from the vault.


For years, the cassette languished in Prince's cavernous archive, identified only by a hand-written label reading "Cold Coffee & Cocaine" - a song he'd seemingly made up on the spot.


But now the tape is being released as Prince: Piano And A Microphone 1983; the first in what will presumably be a stream of posthumous records.


Edited by Rabs
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