New Video: Born Allah Teams Up with Zpu-Zilla and DJ Nu-Mark on a Soulful and Swaggering Banger

Born Allah is a grizzled veteran of Los Angeles’ hip-hop scene. The Los Angeles-based emcee had been quietly enjoying retirement, when German-born producer Zpu-Zilla contacted Born Allah and sent him the beat for “Dedication.” The “Dedication” beat inspired the Los Angeles-based emcee to rethink his retirement — and ultimately, the end result wound up being Born Allah’s latest EP Analog Baby. “After we talked about it, I sent a stack of beats and Born was hyped,” Zpu-Zilla recalls. “I’m so glad I could take him out of retirement for this project, and I hope it was worth it.”

Analog Baby not only reflects the talents and passion of the Los Angeles hip-hop vet, but it lovingly captures the era of hip-hop that Born Allah comes from. “I recorded on four-track recorders, reel to reel, and analog gear,” Born Allah says. “I wanted to tap into that energy, feeling and love I had for rapping when utilizing that equipment.” “This is me having fun spitting again,” Born Allah continues, “I’m an analog baby in a digital world.”

The EP’s latest single, opening track “Dedication” is a golden era-inspired banger centered around tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap, a soulful gospel choir sample, thumping low end and some dexterous scratching from DJ Nu-Mark. Throughout the track, Born Allah spits some witty, grown-ass folks lyrics that mesh swaggering braggadocio and hilarious, self-deprecating and self-loathing: the track essentially finds the Los Angeles hip-hop vet saying “yeah, I made be a cantankerous old head, who talks too much about the ‘good ol’ days’ but my old ass can teach you a thing or two!” (Personally, there’s something about this track that I can really associate with. As I inch further into my 40s within an industry that seemingly values youth at all costs, I’ve kind of felt the same!)

Directed by GuapCityProductions, the recently released video was shot in Downtown Los Angeles — and it captures the bravado and swagger of the song by following Born Allah as he cruises through town and hangs out with his crew. And while the crew does feature some young bloods, they seem to pay the old timers one and respect — in a way that seems all too uncommon.

Formed in 2013, the Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia-based post-punk trio Ploho have firmly established themselves as one of the most prominent purveyors of a new wave of Russian music. Inspired by the aesthetic and sounds of late Soviet era of the 80s like Kino, as well as Joy Division, the band’s sound and approach also manages to reflect the icy chill of their homeland.

Since their formation, the Siberian band has been busy: they’ve released four albums, several EPs and over 10 singles, which they’ve supported with multiple tours across Europe with stops at over 40 cities. Building upon a growing profile, the band has made appearances at several prominent festivals including Боль in Russia, Kalabalik in Sweden, and Platforma in Lithuania. And as a result, the members of Ploho have slowly built up a fanbase in Europe and elsewhere. Building upon a growing profile, the band teamed up with Belarusian band Molchat Doma to collaborate on “Along the Edge of the Island” in 2019.

The rising Siberian act’s fifth album Фантомные Чувства (Phantom Feelings) is slated for February 5, 2021 release through Artoffact Records, the label home of acts like Bootblacks, ACTORS, and Kælan Mikla. The album’s latest single “Танцы в темноте (“Dancing in the Dark”)  is a perfect example of the band’s sound: shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, shimmering synth arpeggios, an angular and propulsive bass line, stuttering four-on-the-floor and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with ironically detached vocals sung in Russian. And while being a dance floor friendly bop, the song is imbued with the sort of nostalgia and melancholy that makes it sound as though it could have been released during 4AD Records‘ heyday.

Kevin Rodrigues is a Paris-born and-based electronic music artist, producer and DJ, best known in electronic music circles as Worakls. Rodrigues, who grew up in a musical family, started to learn the piano when he had turned three. After studying in a conservatory, he started to dedicate his time to electronic music and composition.

After receiving acclaim for his remixes and his earliest solo releases, Rodrigues along with his friends N’to and Joachim Pastor founded Hungry Music in 2014. Since the formation of Hungry Records, Rodrigues has been praised by Billboard, who referred to him as a “rising French DJ” and described his tracks as “serious techno with a light touch,” full of focused, nervous energy.”

In 2019, the rising French electronic music artist, DJ and producer released his full-length debut Orchestra. The label went on a brief hiatus — and they returned with a slew of releases including a series of remixes to celebrate the second anniversary of Orchestra‘s initial release.

Recently, Patrice Bäumel, an acclaimed East German-born, Amsterdam-based electronic music artist, DJ and producer remixed Orchestra album track “Detached Motion.” The remix finds Bäumel retaining the arpeggiated and gently morphing synths of the original, the East German-born, Dutch-based producer’s take feels cinematic and expansive, with the track slowly and continuously building up energy and tension paired with a muscular and insistent thump and euphoric hooks. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — is a seamless synthesis of Tour de France-era Kraftwerk and deep house, imbued with a cosmic sheen.

.

gs.

Sofi Tukker — Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — is an acclaimed, Grammy Award-nominated, electro pop duo with a long-held reputation for crafting an inclusive and global take on electro pop/dance pop centered around self-empowerment, unity and liberation.

Despite the fact that they were unable to tour as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions, the JOVM mainstays have had a very busy and productive year last year: they’ve hosted one 300 live-streamed DJ sets since the beginning of the pandemic. They’ve also released a prolific stream of remixes and new material, including their Christmas-themed collaboration with HOLZBLÄSERCarol Von Holz” and the playful yet thumping, house music meets “Vogue“-like collaboration with Icona Pop, “Spa.”

The long-time JOVM mainstays start off the new with the release of James Hype‘s remix of “Spa.” While retaining the mischievous and anthemic feel and “Vogue”-like vocal delivery, the British DJ’s take pushes the sound into deep house territory with the addition of a persistent and remarkably sultry groove. And as a result the mischievous anthem to self-love and self-care feels gloriously indulgent and sensual.

New Video: L’Impératice Releases a Campy and Defiantly Feminist Visual for Strutting Disco Anthem “Peur des filles”

L’Impératice — founder Charles de Boisseguin (keys), Hagni Gown (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), Tom Daveau (drums) and Flore Benguigui (vocals) — is a Paris-based electro pop sextet that formed back in 2012. And since their formation the Parisian electro pop act has been extraordinarily busy: they released their self-titled, full-length debut in 2012. their sophomore EP Sonate Pacifique in 2014 and their third EP Odyssée in 2015.

In 2016, the French electro pop act released a re-edited, remixed and slowed down version of Odyssée, L’Empreruer, which was inspired by a fan mistakenly playing a vinyl copy of Odyssée at the wrong speed. L’Impératice followed that up with a version of Odysseé featuring arrangements centered around violin, cello and acoustic guitar.

During the summer of 2017, the members of L’Impératice signed to microqlima Records, who released that year’s Séquences EP. They followed that up with their full-length debut Matahari, which featured “Erreur 404,” a song they performed on French TV show Quotidien. Now, if you were frequenting this site last year, you may recall that I wrote about “Voodoo?,” a slinky disco strut featuring a propulsive groove, layers of arpeggiated synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and Benguigui’s sultry, come-hither vocals.

Directed by Aube Perrie, the recently released video stars L’Impératice’s Flore Benguigui and is set in an alternate universe in which she kills every man in her path during a potential extraterrestrial event. She later figures out a way to have her headless victims dance and play instruments — all while she collects more victims. Visually the new video makes playful references to Mars Attacks!, horror movies and Warren G among other things.

The French act’s highly anticipated sophomore album, the L’Impératrice and Renaud Letang co-produced Taku Tsubo is slated for a March 26, 2021 release through their longtime label home. Interestingly, the album derives its name from the medical term for broken heart syndrome takutsubo syndrome (蛸 壺, from Japanese “octopus trap”). The condition usually manifests itself as deformation of the heart’s left ventricle caused by severe emotional or physical stress — i.e., the death of a loved one, an intense argument with someone you care about, a breakup, a sudden illness or the like. And while the condition can occur in men and women of any age, it primarily affects older women.

“Peur des Filles,” Tako Tsubo’s latest single is a shimmering disco floor strut, centered around a sinuous bass line, atmospheric synth arpeggios, squiggling funk guitar, an infectious hook and Benguigui’s sultry come-hither vocals. But underneath the slickly produced dance floor friendly vibes, the song is a scathingly sarcastic ode to femininity and the differences between men and women. “Vive le difference! But be careful of those men folk, they’re afraid of strong and confident women,” the song’s narrator seems to say to its listeners.

New Video: Wax Tailor Teams Up with Mark Lanegan on a Brooding and Cinematic Single and Visual

Vernon, Normandy, France-based DJ, producer Jean Christophe Le Saoût is an acclaimed producer and DJ who can trace his career back to the 90s: After a stint as a radio host in the Paris suburb, Mantes-La-Jolie, Le Saoût founded La Formule. In 1998 Le Saoût founded Lab’Oratoire Records and continued to produce material from La Formule, as well as Break Beat compilations and a collaboration with Swedish act Looptrop.

The Vernon, Normandy-based producer and DJ started the critically acclaimed symphonic, trip-hop solo recording project Wax Tailor in 2001, first appearing on a remix of Looptroop and La Formule’s “Deep Under Water.” Since then Le Saoût has released five, critically acclaimed full-length albums — 2005’s Tales of the Forgotten Melodies, 2007’s Hope & Sorrow, 2009 In The Mood For Life and 2016’s By Any Means Necessary — which found the French producer collaborating with an eclectic and diverse array of artists from all over the world.

Le Saoût’s sixth Wax Tailor album The Shadow of Their Suns is slated for release tomorrow. The album is the French producer’s first bit of new material in five years — and album continues his long-held reputation for collaborating with a diverse and eclectic array of artists, with the album featuring guest spots from D. Smoke, Rosemary Standley, Gil Scott-Heron, Del The Funky Homosapien, Mr Lif, Yugen Blakrock, Boog Brown, and JOVM mainstays Adeline and Mark Lanegan.

The Shadow of Their Suns’ material comes as a result of a lengthy period of deliberate and deep introspection inspired by a desire to truly observe and understand life in a way that’s impossible while living in the whirlwind of it all. And considering the horrible events of yesterday, an album that encourages observation, reflection, collaborative discussion, cooperation and collective action seems more urgent than ever.

New Video: Lost Horizons Teams Up with Ural Thomas on a Shimmering and Soulful Single

Lost Horizons — Cocteau Twins‘ and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde (bass. guitar, keys, production) and Dif Juz’s Richie Thomas (drums, keys, guitar) — each ended a 20+ year hiatus from creating music with the 2017 release of their full-length debut together, Ojaiá, (Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”) to critical praise. “These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world,” Thomas said in press notes at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music . . . And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!”

Since the release of Ojalá, the state of the world has gotten much worse. And while many of us had begun to feel hope that things may turn for the better with a Biden Administration, the events yesterday in Washington, DC has quickly brought that sense of hope and possibility crashing to the ground. Things are dire: our socioeconomic and political systems are collapsing, exposing both the worrisome gaps in our systems. The fight for a better and fairer world continues, as it always does but interestingly enough, one small portion of Thomas’ hopes have been immediately fulfilled: Raymonde and Thomas will be releasing a new album’s worth of together, In Quiet Moments.

Written and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, In Quiet Moments‘ material is inspired by the sense of existential doom, fear, uncertainty and anxiety of the larger world surrounding them and everyone else, as well as the same emotions and sensations of their own personal lives: Just as the duo were settling into the studio to craft the largely improvised, instrumental bedrock of the album’s material, Raymonde’s mother died.

As a response, Raymonde threw himself into his work as a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” The duo forged ahead, crafting 16 instrumental tracks that they sent to an eclectic array of guest vocalists including Ural Thomas, Penelope Isles‘ Jack Wolter, The Hempolics Nubiya Brandon, Tim Smith, Gemma Dunleavy, the innocence mission’s Karen Peris, Horse Thief‘s Cameron Neal, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio‘s Dana Margolin, John Grant, Ballet School‘s Rosie Blair, Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (as her solo recording project KookieLou) and an impressive list of others.

When they sent the instrumental tracks to their then-prospective guest vocalists, Raymonde suggested a guided theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.” Roughly half of the album’s lyrics were written during the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns but as it turns out, Raymonde in particular, saw a sliver lining: people were forced to slow down and take careful stock of themselves and their lives. Interestingly, after having heard a lyric written by Ural Thomas, Raymonde singled out on praise “in quiet moments,” and thought it would be a perfect album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful.”

Although generally centered around loss and heartbreak, the album’s material is imbued with a sense of hope. And as a result, the album subtly leans in the direction of rebirth more so than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” Thomas says. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” That shouldn’t be surprising as both Lost Horizons albums find the duo and their various collaborators on a journey through a dizzying area of moods and voices.

Last year, I wrote about three of the album’s previously released singles:

“Cordelia,” a lush track centered around atmospheric synths, gorgeous steel pedal guitar from David Rothon, elegant strings from Fiona Brice, and John Grant’s brooding vocals. The song is a meditation on the passing of time, the inevitable changing of the seasons — but with the tacit understanding and acceptance that all things in our world are transient.
“One For Regret,” a dark and foreboding song centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming and Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin’s frantic vocals. While sonically, the song finds Raymonde and Thomas paying homage to the beloved sound and approach that won Raymonde accolades “One For Regret” is a meditation on the messiness of regret and loss, that acknowledges that regret and loss are a necessary part of life — and that the only way out is through.
“Every Beat That Passed,” an old-timey waltz centered around shimmering and arpeggiated keys, jangling guitars and Kavi Kwai’s Julia Ringdahl ethereal vocals. Much like its immediate predecessor, In Quiet Moments’ third single sonically seemed indebted to Raymonde’s while being defiantly upbeat.

The album’s fourth and latest single, album title track “In Quiet Momtents” features Ural Thomas. Born in Louisiana in 1939, the seventh of 16 children, a young Thomas learned how to sing in church. His family relocated to Portland, where he would spend the bulk of his life.

In the 50s, Thomas became a professional singer, opening for the likes of Etta James, Otis Redding, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder at the Apollo Theater. But by 1968, Thomas had returned to Portland. In terms of music, Thomas fell off the map, and not much is really known until the early 2010s when Scott Magee, a Portland-based soul DJ, was informed by the owner of Mississippi Records that Thomas — whose early records he regularly spun at this DJ sets — still lived in the area.

As it turned out, Thomas had been hosting weekly jam sessions at his home since the 1970s but seldom performed live. But Thomas and Magee started Ural Thomas and the Pain, an octet that backs Thomas. The act has released two albums so far, 2016’s self-titled debut and 2018’s The Right Time. So now that we went through the necessary background, let’s talk about the track: “In Quiet Moments” is a shimmering and slow-burning bit of old-school inspired soul meets shoegaze centered around twinkling keys, jazzy drumming, gently buzzing guitars and Thomas’ easygoing and gorgeous vocals. It’s a gorgeous and thoughtful track that evokes a complex and confusing array of emotions with a simple yet profound earnestness.

“Sometimes you just have a clear vision for a song and then try as you might, it doesn’t quite hit the mark and other times, you’re not quite sure where it’s going and then all of sudden it’s like The Matrix and you’re buzzing!” Lost Horizons’ Simon Raymonde says in press notes. ” I’d been talking to Ural and his team since I heard about him earlier that year, and they were all working on a new Ural Thomas and The Pain album, but just as I finished the bass part on our piece, which Richie had started at a session in London, my inner voice was screaming ‘ASK URAL TO SING!’ Scott and Brent who are his producers and write with Ural and in his band too, responded very positively to my enquiry and said Ural was into it, and it looked like they could do it all at their studio in Portland, AND film him at the same time as they were making a documentary about him! I couldn’t believe my luck. After he was done with the first half of the song I asked if he could make the ending spoken-word in the style of Gil Scott-Heron and he did something ad-libbed which I loved. I then asked Wendi Rose who sings with Spiritualized to add some of her beautiful vocals and I think this took it all to the next level. Paul Gregory and Jonathan Wilson also played some delicious guitar parts which were the fairy dust on top!”

“When I first heard the song, I thought it was such a wonderful thing, both open and calm, with that steady, insistent groove,” Ural Thomas adds. “The chords go from looming to embracing then back again, like a sad, friendly giant. It took a quiet moment to go over it in my mind and then we were off and running with the tune. At times I feel strong and one with the world. At other times I feel tiny and solitary. In a way they’re two parts of the same feeling. That sense of being closed in and defined by walls became more real just a short while after we worked on the song. But we’re all those other things, too—connected, hopeful, with a long arc that will go beyond this time.”

The recently released and cinematically shot black and white visual for “In Quiet Moments” is split between footage of clouds passing the sun, stock footage of a slow pan of a forest, Thomas singing the song in the studio and other natural phenomena. It’s a fittingly gorgeous and thoughtful visual.

Now, as you may recall In Quiet Moments was slated for a two part release through Bella Union. The first part was released last month with the second part due February 26, 2021, along with the physical release of the entire album.