Category: World Music

New Video: Up-and-Coming French Electronic Duo Polo & Pan Release Gorgeous and Childlike Visuals for Breezy “Canopee”

Polo & Pan are a Paris-based electronic music production and DJ duo, comprised of Paul Armand “Polocorp” Delille, and Alexandre “Peter Pan” Grynszpan, both of whom are acclaimed artists in their own right. Grynszpan has developed a reputation for being an insatiable crate digger, who has been known to collect a wide and diverse array of records from musical gems of the early 20th century to contemporary electronica and electro pop to 70s Nepalese psych rock and so on. Unsurprisingly Grynszpan is one of the founders of Radiooooo, an online encyclopedic radio station that was launched back in 2013. Delille is best known for his work with MAD Agency creating workspaces for artists in industrial warehouses but also as a renowned DJ; in fact, both Grynszpan and Delille were resident DJs at Le Baron, and when they met, they discovered a common musical interest — creating a genre- and time-defying sound that manages to be dance floor friendly. 

The duo’s first release Rivolta found the duo meshing 30s Italian standards with 70s Giorgio Moroder-inspired disco, and their full-length debut Caravelle, which was released earlier this year will further cement the duo’s meshing of genres and time periods to create their difficult to pigeonhole yet wildly crowd pleasing sound. The album’s material draws from the sounds of South America, Tajikistan, China, Congo Africa and elsewhere — and the album’s latest single “Canopee” is a breezy and sultry song that draws from French chanteuse-styled pop, flamenco, thumping Italian disco and African percussion with an effortlessly seamless and slick yet soulful production.

Animated and directed by Bleu Garou, a.k.a. Chiara Luber, the recently released animated video is an exotic and vividly colorful visual that immediately brings The Jungle Book, The Little Prince and Babar to mind as it evokes a mischievous and childlike sense of wonder and awe, while being centered around an old-fashioned love story. 

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New Video: French Electro Pop Duo Synapson Teams Up with Sengalese Singer/Songwriter Lass on a Breezy and Genre-Defying Single

Synapson is a French electronic music production and artist duo, comprised of Alexandre Chiere (keys, saxophone, beats, vocals) and Paul Cucuron (drums, turntables, production and mixing) and since their formation in 2009, the duo have been critically and commercially successful — they’ve sold over 150,000 physical copies and have amassed over 100 million streams; however, they may be best known for their remake/re-work of Burkinabe singer/songwriter and musician Victor Deme’s “Djon’maya,” which they renamed “Djon Maya Mai,” and their original track “All In You,” featuring Anna Kova. Both tracks were smash hits in the duo’s native France, as they charted at #12 and #10 respectively. 

The duo’s soon-to-be released album Super 8 will further cement their reputation for a sound that possesses elements of nu-disco, deep house but it finds them at their most ambitious, as they collaborate with a diverse, international cast including French act M83’s Mai-Lan,  Archive’s Holly, Kaleem Taylor, L. Marshall, Idyllwild’s Casey Abrams, Miami-born, Paris-based rapper Beat Assailant, Jamaica-born, London-based Taneisha lJackson, Tim Dup, Haute’s Tessa B. and Blasé, Sengalese singer/songwriter Lass and a list of others. 

Super 8’s latest single “Souba” synthesis of French electro pop, house music and Afropop as its centered around a slick yet soulful production featuring a looped, shimmering guitar line, a sinuous bass line, thumping beats and a club rocking and radio friendly hook. And unsurprisingly, the two step inducing track will remind the listener that electronic dance music translates language and culture, and that perhaps most important, it’s music that’s always a beneficial unifying force. Additionally, the track will establish the duo on a growing list of French electronic music acts that blur genre lines with a globe spanning bent. 

The recently released video employs a simple but endearing concept — we see Lass and the members of Synapson hanging out in and around a prototypical European car. At points the videos features the members of the trio brooding, but for the most part they’re hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. 

New Video: Introducing the Power Chord-based Rock of Vancouver’s SAVVIE

Savannah Wellman is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based singer/songwriter and musician, whose solo recording project SAVVIE as Wellman described in an email to me “is sexy, gritty rock ‘n’ roll, delving into the murky depths of lust, love, and everything in between.” Wellman’s latest single “Creature of Habit,” is the follow up to 2015’s debut effort Night Eyes, and the power chord-based, arena rock and radio friendly hook-driven single was produced by John Raham, who has worked with The Belle Game, Dan Mangan, and Dralms sounds as though the Canadian singer/songwriter was drawing from The Black Keys, as well as JOVM mainstays The Coathangers and Anna Rose. As the Vancouver-based singer/songwriter explains in press notes “everyone has their vice, and ‘Creature of Habit’ begs the question — is that a bad thing? is it worth fighting? Sometimes it most definitely is, but sometimes we need to hold on to what makes us happy.” 

Directed by Nakasone Folk, the video as Wellman told Billboard is “a take on the idea of struggling with trying to be different. It kind of takes us through a cleansing, the idea of wanting to let go and cleanse yourself of these habits that you might hold onto, but at the end seeing in your reflection that they never really leave you. It’s still a a part of you, and maybe in some cases, it’s not all that bad. Some habits can get the best of you, and sometimes they’re the release you need.” And as a result, the video features a lot of inky and murky blacks, brilliant and heavenly whites, and mystical cleansing rituals; it’s sexy but darkly so and fitting. 

New Video: Introducing the Global, Genre- Blurring Sound of Up-and-Coming Benin-born, New York Artist Shirazee

Shirazee is  Benin-born, New York-based Afrosoul artist and singer/songwriter, who studied in Ghana, overcame homelessness and after spending a stint in Atlanta, relocated to New York to pursue his dream of being a performer and singer/songwriter. Since then, Shirazee has written for and collaborated with Afrojack, Sting, Ty Dolla $ign and Kiesza — and as a solo artist, the Benin-born, New York-based artist has received attention from Wonderland, OkayAfrica and Hunger Magazine, as well as millions of streams across Spotify and Apple Music for a sound that draws from Afropop, American hip-hop and contemporary electronic music paired with songs that possess underlying personal narratives.

The up-and-coming Benin-born, New York-based Afrosoul artist’s debut EP Make Wild finds him collaborating with the Brooklyn-born and-based hip-hop artist and producer SAINt JHN — and as the Brooklyn-based artist and producer says of their collaboration, “he’s a friend first and a rising star in his own right second. When he heard me playing Juju in Toronto and asked to jump on it, I thought he was kidding, until he insisted, ‘Juju issa vibe!’”

“Make Wild,” the EP title track and latest single is a breezy and summery track featuring thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and looping guitar lines, and a sinuous and infectious hook — and while managing to be a slickly produced amalgam of African pop, Afrobeat, American electro pop and soul, the up-and-coming Benin-born, New York-based artist manages to do so in an incredibly accessible, crowd pleasing fashion.

Produced by WOVE, the recently released video employs the use of incredibly vibrant video, full of colors meant to evoke sunset over the Sahara Desert as Shirazae sings to a gorgeous woman just out of his reach. 

 

Last month, I wrote about the Paris-based electronic music production and DJ duo, Polo & Pan, and as you may recall, the act is comprised of two DJs, who are equally acclaimed DJs and producers in their own right — Armand “Polocorp” Delille, and Alexandre “Peter Pan” Grynszpan. Interestingly, Grynszpan has developed a reputation for being an insatiable crate digger, who has been known to collect a wide and diverse array of records from musical gems of the early 20th century to contemporary electronica and electro pop to 70s Nepalese psych rock and so on. He’s also one of the founders of Radiooooo, an online encyclopedic radio station that was launched back in 2013. Delille is best known for his work with MAD Agency creating workspaces for artists in industrial warehouses but also as a renowned DJ; in fact, both Grynszpan and Delille were resident DJs at Le Baron, and when they met, they discovered a common musical interest — creating a genre- and time-defying sound that manages to be dance floor friendly. 

Polo & Pan’s first effort Rivolta found the duo meshing 30s Italian standards with 70s Giorgio Moroder-inspired disco and unsurprisingly,  their full-length debut Caravelle, which was released earlier will not only further cement their reputation for their crowd pleasing, genre-meshing and anachronistic sound as the album’s material draws from the sounds of South America, Tajikistan, China, Congo Africa and elsewhere; in fact, album single “Canopee” was a breezy and sultry song that drew from French chanteuse-styled pop, flamenco, thumping Italian disco and African percussion with an effortlessly seamless and slick yet soulful production.

Caravelle‘s latest single “Arc-en-ciel” is a summery and breezy blast centered around a calypso-inspired production featuring an infectious ear worm of a hook, thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a looped strummed guitar sample, ambient and ethereal electronics and arpeggiated synths paired with vocals sung in a sultry and beguiling French. It’s a sexy and effortlessly cool club banger that radiates with a bright, neon-colored joy.

The renowned French electronic duo will be embarking on their first Stateside tour ever, and as a result of the album already amassing more than 23 million streams, their June 12, 2018 Bowery Ballroom stop; their June 19, 2018 Los Angeles stop at the Echoplex; and their June 20, 2018 San Francisco stop at The Independent are already sold out. Check out the tour dates below.
Tour Dates: 
6/12 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
6/14 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
6/16 – Montreal, QC – MTELUS
6/17 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell
6/19 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex (SOLD OUT)
6/20 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent (SOLD OUT)

 

 

Now, throughout the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based collective Red Baarat, and as you may recall, the act, which derives its name from baraat, a wild South Asian wedding procession that often features the groom riding a horse, an enormous group of extended friends and family, singing and dancing to music led by a brass band with drummers, and what the color red symbolizes in both Indian/South Asian and Western cultures — fiery, red-blooded passion. And with the band, they view it as the passion they have towards creating and playing music, as well as the passion they inspire and elicit from fans and others, who catch them live. Led by Rochester, NY-born, Brooklyn-based bandleader, dholi, drummer and composer Sunny Jain, and featuring John Altieri (sousaphone), Ernest Stuart (trombone), Jonathon Haffner (saxophone), Sonny Singh (trumpet), Chris Eddleton (drums), Rohin Khemani (drums), and their newest member Jonathan Goldberger (guitar), the collective originally formed in 2008 — although it wasn’t until the release of their critically applauded and commercially successful sophomore effort Shruggy Ji that the band received widespread attention for a seamless and genre defying sound that draws from Indian classical music, bhangra, hip-hop, rock, pop and New Orleans brass. And as a result of Shruggy Ji‘s critical and commercial success, the collective has made appearances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festivals in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, have played sold out headlining shows at the Luxembourg Philharmonic, the Bowery Ballroom and have performed at the request of The White House, TED and the Olympic Games.

Slated for release at the end of the month through Rhyme & Reason Records, Red Baraat’s Little Shalimar and Sunny Jain co-produced Sound The People reportedly continues the band’s exploration of South Asian culture and music but while placing in within a larger context of an increasingly globalized generation, reflected by the diverse background of its individual members. Adding to the global focus, the album features guest spots from Pakistani singer and writer Ali Sethi, Das Racist’s Heems, American poet and activist Suheir Hammad and American humorist John Hodgman. “With the migration that’s happened, there is all this varied and expressive music that has erupted from the South Asian Diaspora,” says Jain. “Sound The People is a shoutout to, and celebration of this community around the world.”

Jain began writing Sound The People‘s material a few short weeks after Trump’s election victory, and as she says in press notes, “the record is a call to action against the various inequalities and injustices that we’re seeing. We desperately need citizen engagement in response to those injustices.” Earlier this month, I wrote about album single “Kala Mukhra,” which featured Ali Sethi contributing his sonorous baritone — but as Jain explains, the song is ” . . . our take on a Punjabi folk song called ‘Ghora Mukhra.’ I first heard this song a couple of years ago when Ali Sethi shared a 1950s recording with me, featuring the acclaimed ghazal singer Iqbal Bano, with a brass band. I’ve heard very few Punjabi brass band recordings featuring a vocalist and so when Red Baraat was gearing up to work on a new album, it seemed fitting to try and see what we could do with this song. The meaning of Ghora Mukhra literally means “white face.” There’s a fetishization in South Asian culture about being fair-skinned or light-skinned, something that is pressed upon women. It’s ridiculous, but this kind of nonsense is witnessed throughout the world to varying degrees. So while we loved the melody and brass band flavor of this song, we needed a different narrative. I asked Ali if he could come up with some lyrics that are more aligned with our beliefs and also reflective of the times we are living in.” And while being a propulsive and densely arranged song, the song manages to be a boldly and proudly defiant and danceable track that will remind listeners that music holds a profound and true power.

Album title track “Sound the People” which finds the acclaimed collective collaborating with Heems is a swaggering, hip-hop inflected take on their sound; but it’s also the most overt politically charged song they’ve released to date, as the song touches upon race, the connectedness of the South Asian Diaspora despite the age-old differences in religion, culture, regional or nationalistic identities and so on. The song brings up a key fact that despite the fact that the listener may be Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Afghani, Bhutanese, Muslim, Christian, Hindu and so on and so on, that in the age of Trump and other right wing nationalist/nativist movements, that they’re brown — and that unity and empathy among other people of color and other marginalized communities is the only way that to ensure survival in our dire and frightening times.  But along with that it’s an urgent call to arms that says “time to unite and fight through music, dance, art, love, humor, empathy and everything else you can throw. All hands on deck!”

“Heems and I met several years ago when he was still doing Das Racist,” Red Baraat’s Sunny Jain recalls. “When Red Baraat started working on the new album, there were various ideas I had about [the] South Asian Diaspora, migration and Trump’s disconcerting victory, but it hadn’t all been tied together just yet. I shared all of this with Heems and also sent him a couple of songs I had composed specifically thinking about his flow. The band was tracking for a few days at Studio G in Brooklyn and I asked Heems to come in and lay down a rap. He turned up in the studio and did his thing and that’s when we all realized, ‘Holy crap! This is the title track!’ He pulled the whole album concept together with those words.”

The members of Red Baraat have a long-held reputation for being relentless road warriors and they’re about to embark on a lengthy world tour that will include a June 8, 2018 stop at Flushing Town Hall. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES:
6/8 – Flushing, NY – Flushing Town Hall
6/11 – Camden, NJ – Sunset Jazz Series at Wiggins Waterfront Park
6/22 – Los Angeles, CA – The Satellite

6/25 – Mill Valley, CA – Sweetwater Music Hall

6/26 – Oakland, CA – The New Parish
6/28 – Saskatoon, SK – SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
6/29 – Saskatoon, SK – SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
6/30 – Victoria, BC – TD Victoria International JazzFest | Centennial Square
7/1 – Vancouver, BC – TD Victoria International JazzFest | David Lam – Park Main Stage
7/25 – Reno, NV – Artown
7/27 – Denver, CO – Clyfford Still Museum Summer Series

7/28 – Basalt, CO – The Temporary
8/11 – Greensboro, NC – Lebauer Park
8/13 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
8/16 – Madison, WI – The Central Park Sessions
8/17 – Detroit, MI – The Cube at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Here Lies Man Returns with an Anthemic and Scuzzy Take on Afrobeat-Tinged Psych Rock

I’ve written quite a bit about the  Los Angeles, CA-based act Here Lies Man over the past year or so, and as you ay recall, the act, which was founded by Marcos Garcia and Geoff Mann, both of whom had stints in renowned Afrobeat collective Antibalas have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that seamlessly bridges classic, Fela Kuti-era, funky Afrobeat grooves with classic, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin-era, power chord-fueled rock.

You Will Know Nothing, Here Lies Man’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort is salted for a June 15, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album reportedly finds the band refining and expanding upon their sound. As the band’s co-founder Marcos Garcia explains in press notes, “We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs. Tony Iommi’s innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are talking the same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi, it was the blues, for us to comes directly from Africa.” Additionally, the band members specifically focused on writing catchier, much more anthemic material and thematically conceptualized lyrics focusing on states of being and consciousness centered around somewhat slicker production that its predecessor. As Garcia continues in press notes, “We wanted to go deeper with the sonic experience. Even though it sounds more hi-fi than the first record, it was important that it didn’t sound too polished.”

The members of the band note that the album’s material is also centered around musical theory with interludes between songs being 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the tempo of the proceeding song. “The reason it breaks down to 2 over 3 or 3 over 4 is that everything in the music rhythmically corresponds to a set of mathematical algorithms known as the clave. The clave is an ancient organizing rhythmic principle developed in Africa,” Here Lies Man’s Geoff Mann explains in press notes. “We dove deep into the texture of the music, beyond the groove and the riff. Although something might sound like one instrument, there are subtle layers shifting through. It’s definitely a headphone album.”

Much like its predecessor, Garcia and Mann recorded You Will Know Nothing in their Los Angeles studio on a Tascam 388 8-track recorder. Congas were later recorded by percussionists Richard Panta and Reinaldo DeJesus. Then Garcia traveled to New York to record the interludes with former Antibalas keyboardist Victor Axelrod. The members of the band had to balance a busy touring schedule with mixing, which took most of the creative process of the album with the band having to find the proper sonic space of each particular layer of musical detail. Interestingly, the band split mixing duties with their debut’s engineer Jeremey Page mixing drum parts. 

“Taking the Blame,” You Will Know Nothing’s third and latest single continues in a similar vein as the preceding two singles “Fighting” and “That Much Closer” as its centered around some blistering and guitar pyrotechnics, propulsive drumming and percussion — and while it effortlessly meshes psych rock, stoner rock, Afrobeat and 70s era classic rock, the song is a dense and incredibly textured piece that requires multiple, careful listens making it ambitious yet anthemic and accessible headphone friendly rock. 

 

 

Polo & Pan are a Paris-based electronic music production and DJ duo, comprised of Paul Armand “Polocorp” Delille, and Alexandre “Peter Pan” Grynszpan, both of whom are acclaimed artists in their own right. Grynszpan has developed a reputation for being an insatiable crate digger, who has been known to collect a wide and diverse array of records from musical gems of the early 20th century to contemporary electronica and electro pop to 70s Nepalese psych rock and so on. Unsurprisingly Grynszpan is one of the founders of Radiooooo, an online encyclopedic radio station that was launched back in 2013. Delille is best known for his work with MAD Agency creating workspaces for artists in industrial warehouses but also as a renowned DJ; in fact, both Grynszpan and Delille were resident DJs at Le Baron, and when they met, they discovered a common musical interest — creating a genre- and time-defying sound that manages to be dance floor friendly. 

The duo’s first release Rivolta found the duo meshing 30s Italian standards with 70s Giorgio Moroder-inspired disco, and their full-length debut Caravelle, which was released earlier this year will further cement the duo’s meshing of genres and time periods to create their difficult to pigeonhole yet wildly crowd pleasing sound. The album’s material draws from the sounds of South America, Tajikistan, China, Congo Africa and elsewhere — and the album’s latest single “Canopee” is a breezy and sultry song that draws from French chanteuse-styled pop, flamenco, thumping Italian disco and African percussion with an effortlessly seamless and slick yet soulful production.

The renowned French electronic duo will be embarking on their first Stateside tour ever, and as a result of the album already amassing more than 23 million streams, their June 12, 2018 Bowery Ballroom stop; their June 19, 2018 Los Angeles stop at the Echoplex; and their June 20, 2018 San Francisco stop at The Independent are already sold out. Check out the tour dates below.
Tour Dates: 
6/12 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
6/14 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
6/16 – Montreal, QC – MTELUS
6/17 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell
6/19 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex (SOLD OUT)
6/20 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent (SOLD OUT)