Category: instrumental

New Video: Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD Releases a Gorgeous and Mind-bending Visual for Expansive “Beside April”

The acclaimed Toronto-based jazz-inspired act BADBADNOTGOOD — currently founding members Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) with Leland Whitty — have developed and honed a sound and compositional approach that draws from hip-hop, electronica, jazz, acid jazz and prog rock — and famously for jazz based interpretations of hip-hop tracks, which has allowed the acclaimed Canadian ensemble to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, Danny Brown, Mick Jenkins, Ghostface Killah and others.

Interestingly, BADBADNOTGOOD can trace its origins to its founders — Hansen, Sowinski and Matt Tavares — bonded over a mutual love of MF Doom and Odd Future. As the story goes, the band played a composition based on Odd Future’s music for a panel of their jazz performance instructions, who unsurprisingly didn’t believe it had much musical value. Instead of listening to their instructors, the band released the composition as “The Odd Future Sessions, Part 1.” The track eventually caught the attention of Tyler the Creator, who helped the video go viral.

BADBADNOTGOOD followed up with their full-length debut, 2011’s BBNG, which featured interpretations of A Tribe Called Quest, Waka Flocka Flame and of course,. Odd Future. Building upon a growing profile, the members of BADBADNOTGOOD recorded a live jam session with Tyler The Creator in Sowinski’s basement, with videos from the session amassing more than a million views each.

The Toronto-based act’s sophomore album 2012’s BBNG2 was recorded over a course of a ten-hour studio session. Featuring guest spots from Leland Witty (saxophone) and Luan Phung (electric guitar), the album was a mix of their own original material, as well as renditions of songs by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt and Feist. That year, the band was the official Coachella Festival house band, backing Frank Ocean and Odd Future over the course of its two weekends.

Their third album, 2013’s III featured “Hedron,” which was featured on the compilation album Late Night Tales: Bonobo. They also assisted with the production and composition of The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack.

The band’s fourth album, 2015’s Sour Soul saw them collaborate with Ghostface Killah on what has been described as a hip-hop album that nodded at jazz. They ended the year with covers of a handful of holiday standards, including “Christmas Time Is Here” with Choir! Choir! Choir!

Leland Whitty joined the band as a full-time member in early 2016, and the band quickly went to work producing “Hoarse” off Earl Sweatshirt’s full-length debut Doris and “GUV’NOR,” a remix, which appeared on JJ DOOM’s Keys to the Kuffs (Butter Edition). Capping off a busy year, they released their fifth album, the somewhat ironically titled IV, which featured Future Islands’ Sam Herring, Colin Stetson, Kaytranada, Mick Jenkins and JOVM mainstay Charlotte Day Wilson. The album was also named BBC Radio 6’s #1 album of the year.

The Canadian outfit’s highly anticipated psych jazz album Talk Memory is slated for an October 8, 2021 release through XL Recordings. Composed in conjunction with legendary Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai, the album features features guest spots from Karriem Riggins, Laraaji, Terrace Martin, and a list of others. Perhaps more so than their previously released material, Talk Memory sees the acclaimed act actively capturing some of the focus, energy and improvisation which is at the heart of their live show.

For the band, a song is a living, breathing entity that naturally changes and evolved as it’s played in different settings. The album plays with that thinking. After years of relentless touring, the band paused and refreshed and looked at their history and experiences before starting out on the creative process for the new album. And as a result, a sense of reflection and renewed communication is at the heart of their new creative approach. Interestingly, that led to the album’s title. While their earliest material took place very quickly, the band took on a much more international approach: The album was written over a two year period, with the band expanding upon the album’s material in the studio, rather that on the road.

Talk Memory’s latest single “Beside April” is an expansive and breathtakingly gorgeous composition featuring a cinematic string arrangement, skittering syncopated drumming and a mind-bending and expressive guitar solo. The end result is a song that — to my ears — is one part indebted to Brazilian psych rockers and JOVM mainstays Boogarins, one part jazz fusion, one part shimmering film score.

Directed by Camille Summers-Valli, the accompanying visuals draw some inspiration from the first motion picture, Horse in Motion 1878. The video itself manages to be simultaneously surreal, trippy and gorgeously shot. Plus, there’s a majestic horse that’s really the star of the entire affair. “There was really special energy around this video,” Camille Summers-Valli says. “The band wanted to do something with horses and equestrians. That’s where this begun. Funnily enough, I am petrified of horses. But it felt like a good way to overcome my fears. Subconsciously through a process of reading, finding references and discussing with my team, I started to piece together the puzzle of what this video could be. We shot this in Georgia; where the casting was incredible. The horse also was wonderful. So strong and majestic, we just wanted to do this beautiful creature justice. The magic aligned, so many great hard working people pulled this video together.”

WRD Trio is a dynamic and gritty organ trio that features three highly accomplished bandleaders and musicians:

Walter, Roberts and Deitch would often bump into each other at New Orleans Jazz Fest, and in those those meetings, the trio would longingly discuss future collaborations together. Generally fueled by Roberts’ long-held belief that the trio would yield something impactful and interesting, the Leeds-born, Denver-based guitarist realized that with the co-founding of Color Red Music, that it was a perfect time to bring everyone into the studio to put some tracks on wax.

The end result is the trio’s recently released full-length debut The Hit, which was written and recorded in just two single-day sessions at Color Red Studios. Sonically, the album is reportedly one-part Sunday stroll and one-part rocket ship to Saturn centered around their unmistakable simpatico. (Perhaps that simpatico draws from the fact that each member is a Taurus, with each member’s birthday being a week after the other.)

The Hit‘s first single “Chum City” finds the trio collaborating with The Twin CatsNick Gerlach on a funky and strutting number centered around a grinding and muscular groove reminiscent of Chuck Brown-era go-go music and Booker T and The MGs and an arrangement that’s loose enough for all of these talented musicians to deliver some impressive solos. Simply put, this one is just fucking nasty y’all.

New Video: Monsieur MÂLÂ Releases a Playful Visual for Slinky, Genre-Defying “Koss 5”

French musical collective Monsieur MÂL  — Balthazar Naturel (sax), Robin Antunes (violin/mandolin), Nicholas Vella (keys), Swaéli Mbappé (bass) and Mathieu Edward (drums) —features musicians, who have played with a who’s who list of internationally acclaimed artists including De La Soul, Mayra Andrade, CHASSOL, Ibrahim Maalouf, China Moses and a lengthy list of others. 

Last year, the act released their tropical and summery debut single “Misemo,” a genre-blurring composition centered around a sinuous bass line, soulful horns, twinkling strings and stuttering polyrhythm within an expansive composition. And as the band explained, their debut single encouraged the listener, whoever they may be, that sometimes you just need to dance, and it all go for a little while, at least.

Since then, the act has released a handful singles including “Lunitudine,” “Cor Anglais in E Minor (Op. 3)” that have received attention and airplay from Jazz FM, WorldWide FM, Music is My Sanctuary, Soho Radio, TSF and Le GriGri Radio. Building upon a growing profile, the French collective’s latest single “Koss 5” further establishes their genre blurring sound and approach. Centered around plucked strings, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, skittering drums, the slinky and expansive “Koss 5” features elements of funk, jazz fusion with some Makosa rhythms. As the collective explains the composition is an emotional tribute to Manu Dibango, who some of the band members have played with in the past.

Directed by Stan Amsellem, the recently released video for “Koss 5” features a collection of actors of various age groups playing as the members of the band as kids, as adults and as older adults. In some way, the visual plays to the power of music and creativity, suggesting that as long as one is creative, they’re forever young.

Oxydane is a new series of free, monthly tracks written and recorded by artists on French electronic music label Lake of Confidence. The latest single in the monthly series is “Venus” by the young, mysterious Bastia, Corsica, France-based producer Yiós. Centered around layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, a relentless motorik groove, the incredibly cinematic “Venues” sonically brings John Carpenter soundtracks to mind, as it seems to come from a dystopian future much like our own.

New Video: Acclaimed Argentine Producer Lagartijeando Releases a Mischievous and Trippy Dia de Los Muertos-like Visual for “Sidreal Cumbia”

lobal electronic music circles as Lagartijeando. Zundel’s work has been deeply influenced by this travels throughout Latin America: his psychedelic dance tracks often feature traditional folk sounds from the Bolivian altiplano, shaman chants, charagano loops, Brazilian jungle beats centered around modern electronic production.

the forthcoming album’s latest single “Sideral Cumbia” is a sculptured soundscape centered around minimalist drums, a bouncing baseline, brief bursts of staccato guitar, delicate synth arpeggios, traditional Latin percussion and an enormous horn section that keeps the song tethered to the earth just before it’s about to float off into the stratosphere.

eputation for blurring the boundaries between Latin music, folk. funk and electronic music with a mischievous and trippy flare. 

Directed and edited by Lucía Cárdenas, the fittingly trippy and mischievous visual for “Sidreal Cumbia” is shot in a gorgeous and cinematic black and white and follows a trio of people wearing black robes performing mysterious rituals while skeleton wearing kids bop around. It’s dia de los muertos surreally thrown into every day life.

Lucas de Mulder is a Madrid-based guitarist, composer and bandleader. de Mulder recalls having The New Mastersounds‘ “Fancy” on heavy rotation during a particularly hot Spanish summer. Interestingly, de Mulder’s debut single as a bandleader — with a backing band of Chris Spies (keys), Nate Edgar (bass) and Alejandro Castano (drums) — “Warm Nights” featuring Color Red label head, New Mastersounds’ creative mastermind and founder and producer Eddie Roberts. Centered around a shuffling reggae riddim, a sinuous bass line and a conversational solos between the pair that sees Roberts passing the proverbial torch to a new generation of artists. But at it’s core the song — to me, at least — evokes a sultry summer night, much like tonight, where you’re desperately trying to keep cool but also enjoying the fact that everyone is wearing a lot less.

de Mulder’s Eddie Roberts-produced debut album as a bandleader is slated eat.for a Fall release.

Acclaimed Malian-born, Paris-based kora player Ballaké Sissoko comes from an equally acclaimed and deeply musical family: Sissoko is the song of the late, legendary kora master Djelimady Sissoko, best known for his work with Ensemble Instrumental Du Mali. Drawn to the kora at at a very young age, the younger Sissoko was taught the instrument by his father.

Tragicaally, Djelmady died while his children were very young — and Ballaké stepped up to take on the role of the family breadwinner, eventually taking his father’s place in Ensemble Instrumental Du Mail.

Interestingly, Ballakè Sissoko has had a long-held fascination with genres and sounds outside of the scope the Mandika people — i.e., flamenco guitar, sitar and others — which has inspired and led to a series of critically applauded collaborations with a diverse and eclectic array of musicians across the globe including Vincent SegalToumani Diabaté, legendary bluesman Taj Mahal and Ludovic Einaudi.

Now, as you may recall Nø Førmat Records released Sissoko’s 11th album Djourou earlier this year. The album features solo compositions while continuing upon his long-held reputation for collaborating with a cast of diverse and unexpected artists including Nouvelle Vague’Camille, African legend Salif Keita, young, leading female kora player Sona Jobareth, the aforementioned Vincent Segal and Malian-born, French emcee Oxmo Puccino among others. 

Deriving its name from the Bambara word for string Djourou can trace its origins to when Sissoko approached Nø Førmat label head Laurent Bizot with the proposition of blending solo kora pieces with unexpected collaborations. Interestingly, the label and Sissoko mutually agreed that he taake teh time to confirm enriching and challenging parternships with artists, who were also fans of Sissoko’s work. The album took a painstaking yet fruitful two years to write and record.

Over the past couple of months I’ve written about three of Djourou‘s released singles:

  • Frotter Les Mains:” Deriving its title from the French phrase for “rub hands,” the mediative track is centered around the simple percussive element of Sissoko rubbing his hands back and forth, shimmering plucked kora and Malian-born, French-based emcee Oxmo Puccino’s dexterous and heady bars in French. While being a much-needed bit of peace, thoughtfulness and empathetic connection in a world that’s often batshit insane, the two artists make a vital connection between the ancient and the modern, the West and Africa — with an important reminder that hip hop is the lingua franca of post-modern life. 
  • Album title track “Djourou,” which sees Sissoko collaborating with leading Gambian-born, female kora player Sona Jobarteh. Centered around the duo holding a musical conversation by trading expressive and shimmering, melodic kora lines paired with ethereal interwoven vocals, the track finds its collaborations making connections with across both contemporary African borders and through time. Interestingly, Sissoko sought out Jobarteh with a specific wish to connect with the younger generation of kora players — to rejoin with their common forebears, to weave a connective thread across borders that were unknown and unimagined to the griots of the Malian Empire’s presence over much of West Africa. 
  • Kora,” a collaboration with Nouveau Vague’s Camille centered around the electric and playful interplay between Camille’s coquettish vocals and Sissoko’s expressive yet melodic bursts of kora. The song itself is a love letter to the kora that suggests that the instrument holds an ancient, mystical power.

Djourou‘s latest single “Jeu Sur La Symphonie Fantasique 2” is an album bonus track that features Patrick Messina (clarinet) and frequent collaborator Vincent Segal (cello). This particular collaboration can trace its origins back to when the trio were all playing at the annual Berlioz Festival held in France: The trio were invited to create a piece to mark the 150th anniversary of Hector Berlioz’s death. The end result is a gorgeous re-imagining of “Symphonie Fantasique” that focuses on the composition’s “March To The Scaffold” segment that manages to draw parallels between the martial themes of the original composition and the historic battles of Sissoko’s Mandinka people. Interestingly, while being breathtakingly gorgeous, the track feels like a witty and playful conversation between three masters of their craft.

With the release of their full-length debut, 2016’s Erasing Rock, the Trento, Italy-based soul/funk act Les Juex Sont Funk — currently Michele Bazzanella (bass, sound effects, percussion and production), Carlo Nardi (guitar, talk box, keys, flute, tenor sax, percussion and production), Maurizio Brugnara (keys), Stefano Malchiodi (drums, percussion), Emiliano Tamanani (trumpet, flugelhorn), Lorenzo Sighel (alto sax, soprano sax, rap), Marco Pisoni (tenor sax, baritone sax), Greta Marcolongo (vocals) and Shanthi Kumari Roat (vocals) — quickly established a sound centered around dance floor friendly grooves and propulsive basslines.

Since the release of Erasing Rock, the Italian funk outfit’s lineup has expanded with the addition of its horn section — while still being faithful to the groove. Interestingly. during a writing retreat, the expanded lineup decided to spark their musical chemistry by jamming in the style of acts like The Meters, Shuggie Otis, Roy Ayers, Parliament-Funkadelic and others. They created a groove centered around bass and guitar paired with tight-hitting drums and a touch Latin jazz-like horns. The end result was a composition that spiritually recalled The JBs, James Brown‘s legendary backing band titled “A Tribute to the J.B.s.” Centered around shuffling guitar, a sinuous bass line, funky drumming and a Maceo Parker-like horn line before hitting into its dance floor friendly groove, the song manages to recall the Godfather of Soul’s legendary hit-making period with an uncanny accuracy.

New Video: Seattle’s True Loves Stick it to The Man in Visual for “Sunday Afternoon”

True Loves is a rising Seattle-based instrumental soul outfit that can trace its origins to a jam session back in 2014 between three of the city’s best players — David McGraw (drums), Bryant Moore (bass) and Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio‘s Jimmy James (guitar). Since then, the band has expanded into a globalized unit with the addition of Iván Galvez (percussionist), Odesza‘s, Monophonics‘ and PolyrhythmicsJason Cressey (trombone), Mackelmore‘s Greg Kramer (trombone), Gordon Brown (sax) and the acclaimed Skerik (sax). The band has developed a reputation as a must-see live act locally — and they’ve amassed millions of streams on YouTube.

The act’s full-length debut, 2017’s Famous Last Words received praise locally and as a result, the act landed sets at a number of regional festivals including Sasquatch, Doe Bay and Upstream. The members of the Seattle-based act followed the release of their full-length debut, with a handful of singles including 2018’s “Dapper Derp”/”Kabuki” 45RPM single and 2019’s “Famous Last Words”/”Mary Pop Poppins” 45RPM single.

The Seattle-based group’s sophomore full-length effort Sunday Afternoon is slated for release next Friday through Color Red, and the album sonically and thematically is a sort of soundtrack for the Sunday afternoon block party that has brought the entire neighborhood out. Last month, I wrote about the Greg Kramer and Bryant Moore co-written single “Yard Byrds,” a slow-burning, G funk-like pimp strut crafted around the use of just four chords. It’s the sort of song that will have you picturing yourself strutting and flossing down the street. Of course, building up buzz for the album, album single and title track “Sunday Afternoon” is a cinematic and strutting funky jam centered around an expansive composition that simultaneously nods at Ennio Morricone soundtracks and The Payback-era James Brown psych funk/psych soul.

Produced by Wild Gravity and filmed at Seattle’s Rainier Valley Cultural Arts Center, the recently released video for “Sunday Afternoon” is one-part A-Team, one-part Oceans 11, one-part Snatch-like visual that depicts the band plotting an ingenious heist to retrieve their master tapes, which were stolen by greedy, corporate music executive types. Of course, there’s a cork board with the plan marked down in detail — with each member of the band, playing their specific roles: the wheelman, the inside man, the muscle, the mastermind and so on.

With each member of the band donned in slick black suits, they successfully break into the corporate label’s compound to take back their masters and the label’s years of stolen earnings from hardworking artists. The video ends with the band proudly sticking it to the man while giving back to local venues and independent artists.
“We wanted to recognize what a difficult time this has been for musicians, venues, and their staffs while corporate greed continues and how artists are taken advantage of by those at the top who continue to prosper while others suffer—a modern Robinhood tale told through a heist video,” the band’s Bryant Moore explains.