Tag: Grammy Award

Live Footage: Claritzel Miyares and Adrian Ghiardo Team Up to Cover Bad Bunny’s “Amorfoda”

Claritzel Miyares is a Cuban-Spanish singer/songwriter, who first made waves with a 2012 appearance on La Voz (the Spanish version of The Voice), where she impressed the show’s judges with a unique blend of traditional Cuban music, Reggaeton and modern pop. Since her appearance on La Voz, the Cuban-Spanish artist has been busy: She has spent the past few years touring across the world, her native Spain and the Canary Islands with a 10-to-11 member backing band.

Last year, the Cuban-Spanish artist celebrated her tenth anniversary as a musician and performer with the release of two singles last year:

  • “Te Equivocaste,” a single released to widespread acclaim.
  • “Vive Y Deja Vivir,” which derives its title from a familiar phrase in Spanish and English — live and let live. The song, which features a highly accomplished cast of collaborators including her brother, Grammy Award– winning Carlos Miyares (sax), Alejandro Delgado (trumpet), Eduardo Sandoval (trombone) and Carlos Reyes Compota (percussion). Naturally, the song is rooted in a much-needed message of peace, respect and understanding. “It really is an honour for me to collaborate with such impressive award winning musicians. I feel we have formed a dream team for this single and have produced a masterpiece with this record. The message is very important too,” Claritizel Miyares said in press notes at the time. “Most Cuban songs are about love and relationships but this has a much wider meaning. I want to encourage people to ‘live and let live’ and stop fighting about things in the world.”

Miyares closed out last year with a piano-led cover of Bad Bunny‘s “Amorfado” with master pianist and producer Adrián Ghiardo that retains the swagger and heartache of the original but paired with an old school pop/jazz feel and the Cuban-Spanish artist’s incredibly expressive and soulful delivery. While further continuing upon her unique blend of Cuban traditional music, pop and Reggaeton, Miyares’ rendition of the Bad Bunny hit is a perfect vehicle to introduce her soulful and expressive vocal to North American audiences.

New Video: Altin Gün Shares Kaleidoscopic Visual for Expansive and Anthemic “Rakiya Su Katamam”

Acclaimed Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop outfit and JOVM mainstays Altin Gün — founder Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals, keys) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s repeated tour stops to Istanbul with a previous band, which led to a deep and abiding passion for ’60s and ’70s Turkish psych pop and folk, and fueled by music discoveries Verhlust couldn’t find in his native The Netherlands.

Verhlust wasn’t just content to listen to the sounds he loved as an ardent fan; he had a vision of where he could potentially take that sound. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” 

The Amsterdam-based JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album, 2020’s critically applauded,  Grammy Award-nominated Gece helped to further establish their reputation for re-imagining traditional Turkish folk through the lens of modern psych rock and psych pop.

2021’s Yol, their third album, in three years, found the band continuing to draw from the rich and diverse traditions of Anatolian and Turkish folk but because of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of Altin Gün were forced to write in a completely new fashion for them: virtually — through the trading demos and ideas built around Omnichord808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email. “We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir explained in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”

The new songwriting approach, which featured arrangements built around Omnichord and 808s resulted in a bold, new sonic direction for the JOVM mainstays: sleek, synth-based retro-futuristic Europop with a dreamy quality, seemingly informed by an enforced period of uneasy reflection. Along with the change in sound and approach, Yol was the first album of the band’s growing catalog that saw them working with outside producers, Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album.

Just before the acclaimed JOVM mainstays went on an extensive North American tour, which included a two-night run Music Hall of Williamsburg last year, they shared the two-song digital single “Badu Sabah Olmadan”/”Cips Kola Kilit.” Both songs originally appeared in some fashion or another on the previous year’s Bandcamp-only album Âlem.

  • “Badu Sabah Olmadon” may arguably be one of the harder rocking songs the Dutch JOVM mainstays have released in some time, featuring a relentless motorik groove, some scorching guitar work, glistening synths and yearning vocals. “‘Badİ Sabah Olmadan’ is a traditional love song from the town of Kırşehir, where the poet begs his lover to come to him before the night ends,” the band explains in press notes. “We recorded an electronic version for our charity album Âlem, and then started to play it live with the band. We liked it so much that we decided to record a live band version. Happy to play it for our fans this spring!”
  • “Clips Kola Kilit” is a dance floor friendly, decidedly 80s synth bop centered around 808-like beats, glistening synth washes and wobbling bass synth paired with a coquettish and sultrily delivered spoken word/rap-like vocal. For those children of the 80s — like me — “Clips Kola Kilit” brings back memories of acts like WhodiniThe Human LeagueNu ShoozCherelle, and others. And interestingly enough, it sound as though it could have been on Yol but was cut from the album.

Slated for a March 10, 2023 release through ATO Records, Altin Gün’s highly-anticipated album, Aşk reportedly is a return to the ’70s Anatolian folk rock sound that characterized their first groundbreaking albums while capturing the urgency and power of their famously propulsive live show. Recorded using vintage equipment and techniques, the album’s ten songs feature visionary new interpretations and readings of traditional Turkish folk tunes, revealing how these old, beloved songs remain eternally resonant and ripe for constant reinterpretation.

“These songs have been covered so many times, always,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says. ““But not really in psychedelic pop versions,” Jasper Verhulst adds. “It’s definitely connecting more with a live sound – almost like a live album. We, as a band, just going into a rehearsal space together and creating music together instead of demoing at home.”

Aşk will include the band’s dazzling reinvention of “Lelim Ley,” a classic song of lost love and exile, which features lyrics written by the late Turkish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist Sabahattin Ali (1907–1948), taken from Ali’s 1937 short story “Ses.” Lelim Ley” was joined by music composed by Livaneli and released in 1975. Since then, the song has been lovingly embraced as one of the most well-known and beloved songs among Turkish people across the world.

The forthcoming album’s latest single “Rakiya Su Katamam” is a kaleidoscopic, space rock/psych rock-like take on the folk standard composed by Turkish writer/theologian Mustafa Öztürk, featuring a relentless motorik groove paired with wah-wah pedaled guitar, Dasdemir’s plaintive yet sultry delivery, and a scorching guitar solo paired with the band’s unerring knack for razor sharp hooks.

Produced and directed by Sylvain Rusques and Simon Moreaux, the accompanying animated video features both line animation and collages of dancer Manon Colin dancing and running through two dimensional and three dimensional, kaleidoscopic realms. It’s fittingly mind-bending.

New Audio: King Canyon, A Supergroup Featuring Eric Krasno Shares Soulful Track with Son Little

King Canyon is a new supergroup featuring:

  • Eric Krasno, a a two-time Grammy winning, guitarist, producer and JOVM mainstay, best known for his work with Soulive, Lettuce, and Pretty Lights. Krasno has received seven Grammy nominations in the following categories: Best Blues Album, Best Contemporary Blues, Best R&B and Best Electronic Album.
  • Otis McDonald, a producer and multi-instrumentalist, best known for a large catalog that continues to be used in millions of videos across the Internet.
  • Mike Chiavaro, a Brooklyn-based electric and upright bassist, who has played with Richard Marx, Boy & Bear, and a lengthy list of others.

The trio can trace their collaboration back to April 2020: Krasno came across McDonalds music on Instagram and immediately became a fan. Months later, McDonald who had been woking on material with his longtime friend Chiavaro, enlisted Krasno to add some of his guitar to the mix. And before they knew it, the trio had an album’s worth of material rooted in classic R&B, funk and soul-tinged grooves, nostalgia, and a newfound friendship based in their mutual love for music.

For the creative process and the feel captured on the album are unlike any other project that these artists have been involved with previously. With each musician in a different location — Krasno in Los Angeles, McDonald in San Francisco and Chiavaro in Brooklyn — the band wrote and recorded material remotely while becoming arguably the highest band who never played a gig. “It was easy and fun. Exactly what it should be,” King Canyon’s Otis McDonald says. “It didn’t take long before we had a couple of albums’ worth of songs. Some tracks feature special guests and others showcase the power trio format. King Canyon is fresh and rooted in nostalgia.”

The trio’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a January 13, 2023 release through Mixto Records. The album will feature the trio collaborating with an impressive and eclectic array of guests including Tedeschi Trucks Band‘s Derek Trucks and Son Little. The trio have released two singles “Keep on Moving” and “Mulholland” that have received praise from the likes of Khraungbin, John Mayer, Black PumasAdrian Quesada, Live for Live Music, Jambands.com, and Relix.

The self-titled full-length debut album’s third and latest single “Ice & Fire” is an old-school soul and R&B-inspired strut centered around twinkling keys, an irresistible, funky groove and swinging, J. Dilla-inspired drumming paired with Son Little’s soulful yet plaintive vocal. Sonically, “Ice & Fire” brings a mix of JOVM mainstays Black Pumas and classic soul to mind — thanks to a dusty, old-timey feel with subtly modern production flourishes, and earnest performances.

“Son Little and I met a few years back at a festival. We had a lot of mutual respect for each other’s music and decided to start writing together,” Eric Krasno explains. “We instantly became tight as friends and frequent collaborators. Ice & Fire is a perfect mixture of the sounds of Son Little & King Canyon. Son’s lyrical imagery blends with the KC’s soundscape creating a unique and soulful sound.“

Live Footage: Larry & Joe Perform “Caballo Viejo”

Larry & Joe is a new duo that performs a fusion of Venezuelan and Appalachian folk music on harp, banjo, cautro, fiddle, maracas, guitar, upright bass and whatever else they decide to throw into the van. The duo features:

  • Joe Troop, a North Carolina-based Grammy-nominated bluegrass and old-time musician, who spent over a decade in South America with his acclaimed “latingrass” band Che Apalache. With the pandemic, Troop got stranded in his old stomping grounds and as a result, his primary project was forced into hiatus. Troop shifted into action, working with asylum seeking migrants.
  • Larry Bellorín, a Monagas, Venezuela-born, North Carolina-based Llanera music legend, and asylum seeking migrant. Bellorín works construction to makes ends meet, and writes and performs music in whatever spare time allowed.

Currently based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Troop and Bellorín are versatile multi-instrumentalists and singer/songwriters on a mission to prove that music has no borders, that music is the universal language. Their work is a distinct blend of their musical and cultural inheritances and traditions paired with storytelling about the ways that music and social movements coalesce.

The duo’s debut single is a subtle re-imagining of “Caaballo Viejo,” one of the most beloved and popular Venezuelan songs of all time. The song features the duo on their primary instruments: Bellorín on harp, Troop on banjo and vocals. While featuring a wildly different yet gorgeous arrangement, that gives the song a bluegrass twang, the Bellarín and Troop rendition is still centered around a timeless and deeply human heartache and longing that somehow effortlessly translates in every language.

The duo is playing a show at River Spirt Music, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY on January 28, 2023. For tickets and other information, check out the link: https://cliveshows.com/events/rsm-larry-joe/

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Altin Gün Share Dazzling New Single

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase for “Golden Day,” the acclaimed Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gün — founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s repeated tour stops to Istanbul with a previous band, and his deep and abiding passion for ’60s and ’70s Turkish psych pop and folk, fueled by discoveries Verhulst couldn’t find in his native Holland. 

But as the story goes, Verhulst wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan; he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” 

Altin Gün’s sophomore album, 2020’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece further established the band’s reputation for re-imagining traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. Last year’s critically applauded Yol was the band’s third album in three years. And while the album found the band continuing to draw about the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk, pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns forced the Dutch outfit to write music in a completely new way for them: virtually — through trading demos and ideas built around Omnichord808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email. 

“We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”

As a result of the new songwriting approach and arrangements prominently featuring Omnichord and 808, the album saw the band crafting material that was a bold, new sonic direction: sleek, synth-based, retro-futuristic Europop with a dreamy quality, seemingly informed by the enforced period of reflection.

Additionally, the members of the acclaimed Dutch act, enlisted Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders. 

The JOVM mainstays spent much of this year on the road, including a two-night run at Music Hall of Williamsburg earlier this year. (I was there for the first night of their two night run.) Just before they hit the road, the acclaimed Turkish psych outfit released a two song digital single “Badu Sabah Olmadan”/”Cips Kola Kilit.” Both songs originally appeared in some fashion or another on last summer’s Bandcamp-only album Âlem.

“Badu Sabah Olmadon” may arguably be one of the harder rocking songs the Dutch JOVM mainstays have released in some time, featuring a relentless motorik groove, some scorching guitar work, glistening synths and yearning vocals. 

“‘Badİ Sabah Olmadan’ is a traditional love song from the town of Kırşehir, where the poet begs his lover to come to him before the night ends,” the band explains in press notes. “We recorded an electronic version for our charity album Âlem, and then started to play it live with the band. We liked it so much that we decided to record a live band version. Happy to play it for our fans this spring!”

“Clips Kola Kilit” is a dance floor friendly, decidedly 80s synth bop centered around 808-like beats, glistening synth washes and wobbling bass synth paired with a coquettish and sultrily delivered spoken word/rap-like vocal. For those children of the 80s — like me — “Clips Kola Kilit” brings back memories of acts like WhodiniThe Human LeagueNu ShoozCherelle, and others. And interestingly enough, it sounds as though it could have been on Yol but was cut from the album.

Altin Gün’s latest single “Leylim Ley” is a classic song of lost love and exile that features music composed by renowned Turkish musician, author, poet and politician Zülfü Livaneli and lyrics written by the late Turkish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist Sabahattin Ali (1907–1948). Although Ali’s life was cut tragically and brutally short, Ali occupies an important spot in modern Turkish work with his limited body of work frequently reimagined through music, theater and more.

Taken from Ali’s 1937 short story “Ses,” “Leylim Ley” was joined by music composed by Livaneli back in 1975 and has since been embraced as one of the most well-known and beloved songs among Turkish people across the globe. Understandably, it’s been covered countless times over — and in a wild variety of styles.

Altin Gün’s rendition of the classic song is far more stripped down than some more recent renditions and sees the band pulling out the hypnotic and dazzling instrumentation to the forefront, emphasizing a woozy, heartsick longing — for home and for loved ones. The recording manages to capture the propulsive energy of their live show, while heralding the arrival of the band’s highly-anticipated fourth album, which is slated for release sometime next year.

New Video: Danger Mouse and Black Thought’s Posthumous Team Up with MF DOOM

Danger Mouse (born Brian Burton) is arguably one of the most versatile and prolific artists and producers in music right now: As an artist he has been one-half of Broken Bells and Grammy Award-winning Gnarls Barkley. As a producer, he has recorded collaborative albums with  Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O and the late, legendary MF DOOM. And he has worked with AdeleU2The Black KeysGorillazRed Hot Chili PeppersMichael KiwanukaParquet Courts and a lengthy list of others. 

Black Thought (born Tariq Trotter) is a co-founder and frontman of Grammy Award winning, pioneering hip-hop act The Roots. Trotter is also an accomplished solo artist who has released a critically applauded album and two EPs: 2020’s Streams of Thought Vol. 3: Cane & Able and 2018’s Streams of Thought Vol. 1 EP and Streams of Thought Vol. 2 EP, which helped further his reputation among the cognoscenti — and real hip hop heads — as one of the dopest emcees to ever spit bars. Adding to a lengthy list of accolades and accomplishments, Trotter has acted in film and theater, along with having writing and producer credits.

The acclaimed duo’s long-rumored, long-awaited and highly-anticipated joint album Cheat Codes was released earlier this year through BMG. While Cheat Codes simultaneously marks Danger Mouse’s first hip-hop album since 2005’s DANGERDOOM with MF DOOM and the follow-up to Black Thoughts’ solo trilogy Streams of Thought, their collaboration can be traced back almost almost 20 years earlier: Trotter and Burton first met back in 2005. They started working on material — but time went on, life happened, other projects and obligations came up. 

Following 2004’s acclaimed The Grey Album, Burton became one of the most in-demand and prolific producers of the day, helming several commercially and critically successful projects, which led to a bevy of accolades and awards. He also developed collaborations with a unique and eclectic array of artists while expanding upon and honing his own musicianship, production and writing. 

During that same period of time, The Roots released a batch of critically applauded albums and became the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon then The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Trotter released his aforementioned, critically applauded solo trilogy Streams of Thought. He collaborated with the likes of EminemJohn LegendPusha T.Griselda, and a list of others. He wrote, composed and starred in the widely-praised off-Broadway show Black No More. And adding to a lengthy list of accomplishments, he co-produced a TV series with his Roots bandmate Questlove

Each mistakenly thought that the other had moved on and their collaboration just died, but as it turned out, neither one never stopped wanting to work together. Burton had long felt an instinctive need to return to his roots and make a timeless hip-hop album. He knew that Trotter was one of the few emcees truly capable of fulfilling that vision. Simultaneously, Trotter was seeking a space, where he could express himself musically and creatively beyond the confines and structures of his own band. 

This time, Burton was a far more seasoned songwriter and producer, Trotter an even more extraordinary emcee.  So, setting aside all distractions, Burton played Trotter some new music he had had. The ideas and words quickly flowed — and the experience was liberating. 

Meticulously built over a period of several years, Cheat Codes finds Burton pushing widescreen, soul-infused hip-hop soundscapes to new directions paired with Trotter’s commanding presence, incisive lyricism and dexterous wordplay. Unlike the typical producer-meets-rapper/side project, Cheat Codes is an effort between two like-minded collaborators, who raise each other’s games to new heights. 

The album also features an equally acclaimed cast of guests including A$AP Rocky, Run The Jewels, MF DOOM, Michael Kiwanuka, Joey Bada$$RussRaekwon, and Conway the Machine

In the lead up to Cheat Codes‘ release, I managed to write about three of the album’s singles:  

  • No Gold Teeth,” which featured a warm and dusty psych soul-like production that brings RZAPete Rock, and DJ Premier to mind, that serves as a lush bed for Black Thought’s dense, rapid fire, lyrical deluge. 
  • Because,” which features a slow-burning, psych soul-inspired production paired with a vocal hook by Dylan Cartlidge. While being another example of the deep and uncannily innate simpatico shared between the two acclaimed collaborators, “Because” is chock full of dope bars, impressive wordplay and mind-blowing inner and outer rhyme schemes in an easy-going yet urgent cypher between Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Russ, that weaves in and out of the political and the personal. 
  • Aquamarine,” a woozy and cinematic song featuring skittering hi-hat, thumping beats and squiggling bursts paired with a soaring hook from acclaimed British soul artist Micheal Kiwanuka. The production is a lush and roomy bed for Black Thought’s imitable, hard-hitting bars. “For ‘Aquamarine,’ when I heard the music I just had a feeling to sing about standing up for something that’s unique and following that path”, Kiwanuka says. “I don’t know why but that’s what came out.  Sometimes when you’re following something that’s unique to you it’s as if ‘enemies are all around’. At times life can feel fragile like ‘everything’s burning down’. For some reason the chords and music made me feel that way.”  
  • Strangers,” a neck-snapping banger featuring four of the game’s dopest emcees right no — Black Thought, A$AP Rocky, Killer Mike and El-P spitting flames on a woozy and dusty production paired with tweeter and woofer rattling beats, sampled B-movie dialogue and soulful vocal samples.

The album’s latest single “Belize” finds Danger Mouse crafting a woozily cinematic soundscape featuring warm and soulful brass, a driving and hypnotic bas line paired with twinkling and reverb-drenched keys and an equally soulful vocal sample. The production is complex yet flexible enough to accommodate Black Thought’s razor sharp and precise bars and MF DOOM’s loose, almost conversational flow.

“Belize” much like the album’s other singles is an example of the power and creativity of like-minded collaborators pushing each other — and their respective work in brilliant, new directions. But it’s also a powerful reminder that the legendary artists never really die.

Shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white, the accompanying video features Black Thought in a sparsely arranged, old office space with a spotlight. The camera pulls back to reveal Danger Mouse in shadow, shooting his friend and collaborator. When DOOM starts his verses, Danger Mouse puts the camera on a tripod, so that he could pay his respects to the late legend.

New Video: Seattle’s High Pulp Shares Surreal and Symbolic Visual for “You’ve Got to Pull It Up From The Ground” feat. Theo Croker

Seattle-based jazz outfit High Pulp features:

  • Antoine Martel (keys, synths), a self-professed mad scientist with a wall of modular synthesizers and a passion for film scores and abstract soundscapes
  • Rob Homan (keys), whose innate ability to process, deconstruct and reassemble material on the fly bordered on the impressive and scary
  • Scott Rixon (bass), who comes from a punk and hardcore background and possesses pop sensibilities
  • Victor Nguyen (tenor sax), a Pharaoh Sanders acolyte with an ear for urgent, entrancing solos
  • Andrew Morrill (alto sax), whose bold tones and fearless harmonic sensibilities earned him a reputation for pushing the old school into the 21st Century
  • Bobby Granfelt (drums), whose hip-hop and bebop-inspired drumming laid the rhythmic foundation for the entire project

High Pulp can trace their origins to a loose, weekly jam session at Seattle’s historic Royal Room. “When you put us all together, our sound isn’t so much a fusion as it is a synthesis,” the band’s Bobby Granfelt says in press notes. ““There’s a lot of different personalities coming from a lot of different places, and we use it all as fuel to create something that’s totally our own.”

The Seattle sextet’s latest album Pursuit of Ends is slated for a Friday release through Anti- Records. The band’s unique brand of experimental jazz is simultaneously vintage and futuristic, often hinting at Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Aphex Twin and My Bloody Valentine and a wide range of others. The album’s material sees the band carefully balancing meticulous composition with visceral spontaneity and centered around virtuosic performances.

While High Pulp is primarily centered around their core six, Pursuit of Ends sees the band making judicious use of a board network of collaborators with guest spots from Jaleel Shaw (sax), who has played with Roy Haynes and Mingus Big Band; Brandee Younger (harp), who has played with Ravi Coltrane, The Roots, and Makaya McCraven; Grammy-nominated Theo Croker (trumpet); Jacob Mann (keys), who has played with Rufus Wainright and Louis Cole to help push their sonic boundaries even further.

Pursuit of Ends‘ latest single “You’ve Got To Pull It Up From The Ground” is a mind-bending and incredibly slick synthesis of bop, jazz fusion, funk and hip hop. The composition begins with an extensive bop jazz-inspired, drum solo. The song then quickly moves to a section featuring rapid fire percussion paired with sinuous bass lines, twinkling keys and a mournful, modal horn line led by Theo Croker’s expressive Miles Davis-like playing. Throughout the rest of the song, the melody floats and dances through the instrumentation. While the material is rooted in precise performance of the written composition, there’s ample room for soulful, free-flowing improvisation among a collection of sensitive and thoughtful artists.

“During COVID we spent a lot of time listen to Miles Davis’ Second Quintet, and specifically the drum solo at the start was inspired by ‘Agitation’ off of E.S.P.,” Granfelt explains “There’s something about that quintet that is so awe-inspiring. I think it’s the way they have such a deep shared concept which allows them to improvise in a meaningful way.”

“Pull It Up” is really a concept that is at the core of the band,” Granfelt explains. “It’s sort of about magic, sort of about will, sort of about self-love. It’s a concept based in the idea that things are already where they need to be, and it’s about unearthing what is already there as opposed to creating something ‘new’.”

Directed by Isaac Calvin and Seth Calvin, the accompanying video draws on the song’s overarching theme of digging deep, being persistent and staying humble. The video features Granfelt doing useful but mundane tasks: pulling nails out of a board, washing dishes, tying knots and so on. Towards the end f the video, Granfelt builds a shrine, but the offerings aren’t high quality of expensive; rather, they’re scuffed up, well-worn items including roadside flowers, cigarette butts, trinkets, tchotchkes and knick-knacks.

New Video: Danger Mouse and Black Thought Team Up with A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels on a Glitchy Roller Coaster Visual for “Strangers”

Danger Mouse (born Brian Burton) is arguably one of the most versatile and prolific artists and producers in music right now: As an artist he has been one-half of Broken Bells and Grammy Award-winning Gnarls Barkley. He has recorded collaborative albums with  Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O and the late, legendary MF DOOM. As a producer, he has worked with AdeleU2The Black KeysGorillazRed Hot Chili PeppersMichael KiwanukaParquet Courts and a lengthy list of others. 

Black Thought (born Tariq Trotter) is a co-founder and frontman of Grammy Award winning, pioneering hip-hop act The Roots. Trotter is also an accomplished solo artist who has released a critically applauded album and two EPs: 2020’s Streams of Thought Vol. 3: Cane & Able and 2018’s Streams of Thought Vol. 1 EP and Streams of Thought Vol. 2 EP, which helped further his reputation among the cognoscenti — and real hip hop heads — as one of the dopest emcees to ever spit bars. Adding to a lengthy list of accolades and accomplishments, Trotter has acted in film and theater, along with having writing and producer credits.

The acclaimed duo’s long-rumored, long-awaited and highly-anticipated joint album Cheat Codes officially dropped today through BMG. While Cheat Codes simultaneously marks Danger Mouse’s first hip-hop album since 2005’s DANGERDOOM with MF DOOM and the follow-up to Black Thoughts’ solo trilogy Streams of Thought, their collaboration can be traced back almost almost 20 years earlier: Trotter and Burton first met back in 2005. They started working on material — but time went on, life happened, other projects and obligations came up. 

Following 2004’s acclaimed The Grey Album, Burton became one of the most in-demand and prolific producers of the day, helming several commercially and critically successful projects, which led to a bevy of accolades and awards. He also developed collaborations with a unique and eclectic array of artists while expanding upon and honing his own musicianship, production and writing. 

During that same period of time, The Roots released a batch of critically applauded albums and became the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon then The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Trotter released his aforementioned, critically applauded solo trilogy Streams of Thought. He collaborated with the likes of EminemJohn LegendPusha T.Griselda, and a list of others. He wrote, composed and starred in the widely-praised off-Broadway show Black No More. And adding to a lengthy list of accomplishments, he co-produced a TV series with his Roots bandmate Questlove

Each mistakenly thought that the other had moved on and their collaboration just died, but as it turned out, neither one never stopped wanting to work together. Burton had long felt an instinctive need to return to his roots and make a timeless hip-hop album. He knew that Trotter was one of the few emcees truly capable of fulfilling that vision. Simultaneously, Trotter was seeking a space, where he could express himself musically and creatively beyond the confines and structures of his own band. 

This time, Burton was a far more seasoned songwriter and producer, Trotter an even more extraordinary emcee.  So, setting aside all distractions, Burton played Trotter some new music he had had. The ideas and words quickly flowed — and the experience was liberating. 

Meticulously built over a period of several years, Cheat Codes finds Burton pushing widescreen, soul-infused hip-hop soundscapes to new directions paired with Trotter’s commanding presence, incisive lyricism and dexterous wordplay. Unlike the typical producer-meets-rapper/side project, Cheat Codes is an effort between two like-minded collaborators, who raise each other’s games to new heights. 

The album also features an equally acclaimed cast of guests including A$AP Rocky,Run The Jewels, MF DOOM, Michael Kiwanuka, Joey Bada$$RussRaekwon, and Conway the Machine

So far I’ve written about three Cheat Codes singles: 

No Gold Teeth,” which featured a warm and dusty psych soul-like production that brings RZAPete Rock, and DJ Premier to mind, that serves as a lush bed for Black Thought’s dense, rapid fire, lyrical deluge. 

Because,” which features a slow-burning, psych soul-inspired production paired with a vocal hook by Dylan Cartlidge. While being another example of the deep and uncannily innate simpatico shared between the two acclaimed collaborators, “Because” is chock full of dope bars, impressive wordplay and mind-blowing inner and outer rhyme schemes in an easy-going yet urgent cypher between Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Russ, that weaves in and out of the political and the personal. 

Aquamarine,” a woozy and cinematic song featuring skittering hi-hat, thumping beats and squiggling bursts paired with a soaring hook from acclaimed British soul artist Micheal Kiwanuka. The production is a lush and roomy bed for Black Thought’s imitable, hard-hitting bars. “For ‘Aquamarine,’ when I heard the music I just had a feeling to sing about standing up for something that’s unique and following that path”, Kiwanuka says. “I don’t know why but that’s what came out.  Sometimes when you’re following something that’s unique to you it’s as if ‘enemies are all around’. At times life can feel fragile like ‘everything’s burning down’. For some reason the chords and music made me feel that way.”  

“Strangers,” the last single off Cheat Codes before its release, is a neck-snapping banger featuring four of the dopest emcees out there right now — Black Thought, A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels spitting flames on a woozy and dusty production and glitchy centered around tweeter and woofer rattling beats, sampled, B-movie-like dialogue, soulful vocals. 

“We were honored to get down with our elite and legendary friends Danger Mouse, Black Thought and A$AP Rocky on this banger,” Run the Jewels say in press notes. 

I’ve said this before, and I’m not bullshitting here: Cheat Codes may arguably be the best hip-hop album — and possibly, the best album — of this year. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Continuing the duo’s ongoing visual collaboration with video production team UNCANNY, the accompanying, grainy black and white visual is a wild rollercoaster ride that sees each of the song’s four incredible emcees, Black Thought, A$AP Rocky, Killer Mike, and El-P passing the mic — or in this case their phones for them to spit fire. The video captures the song’s urgency and dusty glitchy vibe.

Danger Mouse (born Brian Burton) is arguably one of the most versatile and prolific artists and producers in music right now: As an artist he has been one-half of Broken Bells and Grammy Award-winning Gnarls Barkley. He has recorded collaborative albums with  Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O and the late, legendary MF DOOM. As a producer, he has worked with AdeleU2The Black KeysGorillazRed Hot Chili PeppersMichael KiwanukaParquet Courts and a lengthy list of others. 

Black Thought (born Tariq Trotter) is a co-founder and frontman of Grammy Award winning, pioneering hip-hop act The Roots. Trotter is also an accomplished solo artist who has released a critically applauded album and two EPs: 2020’s Streams of Thought Vol. 3: Cane & Able and 2018’s Streams of Thought Vol. 1 EP and Streams of Thought Vol. 2 EP, which helped further his reputation among the cognoscenti — and real hip hop heads — as one of the dopest emcees to ever spit bars. Adding to a lengthy list of accolades and accomplishments, Trotter has acted in film and theater, along with having writing and producer credits.

The acclaimed duo’s long-rumored, long-awaited and highly-anticipated joint album Cheat Codes is slated for a Friday release through BMG. While Cheat Codes simultaneously marks Danger Mouse’s first hip-hop album since 2005’s DANGERDOOM with MF DOOM and the follow-up to Black Thoughts’ solo trilogy Streams of Thought, their collaboration can be traced back almost almost 20 years earlier: Trotter and Burton first met back in 2005. They started working on material — but time went on, life happened, other projects and obligations came up. 

Following 2004’s acclaimed The Grey Album, Burton became one of the most in-demand and prolific producers of the day, helming several commercially and critically successful projects, which led to a bevy of accolades and awards. He also developed collaborations with a unique and eclectic array of artists while expanding upon and honing his own musicianship, production and writing. 

During that same period of time, The Roots released a batch of critically applauded albums and became the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon then The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Trotter released his aforementioned, critically applauded solo trilogy Streams of Thought. He collaborated with the likes of EminemJohn LegendPusha T.Griselda, and a list of others. He wrote, composed and starred in the widely-praised off-Broadway show Black No More. And adding to a lengthy list of accomplishments, he co-produced a TV series with his Roots bandmate Questlove

Each mistakenly thought that the other had moved on and their collaboration just died, but as it turned out, neither one never stopped wanting to work together. Burton had long felt an instinctive need to return to his roots and make a timeless hip-hop album. He knew that Trotter was one of the few emcees truly capable of fulfilling that vision. Simultaneously, Trotter was seeking a space, where he could express himself musically and creatively beyond the confines and structures of his own band. 

This time, Burton was a far more seasoned songwriter and producer, Trotter an even more extraordinary emcee.  So, setting aside all distractions, Burton played Trotter some new music he had had. The ideas and words quickly flowed — and the experience was liberating. 

Meticulously built over a period of several years, Cheat Codes reportedly finds Burton pushing widescreen, soul-infused hip-hop soundscapes to new directions paired with Trotter’s commanding presence, incisive lyricism and dexterous wordplay. Unlike the typical producer-meets-rapper/side project, Cheat Codes is an effort between two like-minded collaborators, who raise each other’s games to new heights. 

The album also features an equally acclaimed cast of guests including A$AP Rocky, Run The Jewels, MF DOOM, Michael Kiwanuka, Joey Bada$$RussRaekwon, and Conway the Machine

So far I’ve written about three Cheat Codes singles: 

No Gold Teeth,” which featured a warm and dusty psych soul-like production that brings RZAPete Rock, and DJ Premier to mind, that serves as a lush bed for Black Thought’s dense, rapid fire, lyrical deluge. 

Because,” which features a slow-burning, psych soul-inspired production paired with a vocal hook by Dylan Cartlidge. While being another example of the deep and uncannily innate simpatico shared between the two acclaimed collaborators, “Because” is chock full of dope bars, impressive wordplay and mind-blowing inner and outer rhyme schemes in an easy-going yet urgent cypher between Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Russ, that weaves in and out of the political and the personal. 

Aquamarine,” a woozy and cinematic song featuring skittering hi-hat, thumping beats and squiggling bursts paired with a soaring hook from acclaimed British soul artist Micheal Kiwanuka. The production is a lush and roomy bed for Black Thought’s imitable, hard-hitting bars. “For ‘Aquamarine,’ when I heard the music I just had a feeling to sing about standing up for something that’s unique and following that path”, Kiwanuka says. “I don’t know why but that’s what came out.  Sometimes when you’re following something that’s unique to you it’s as if ‘enemies are all around’. At times life can feel fragile like ‘everything’s burning down’. For some reason the chords and music made me feel that way.”  

“Strangers,” the last single off Cheat Codes before its release, is a neck-snapping banger featuring four of the dopest emcees out there right now — Black Thought, A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels spitting flames on a woozy and dusty production and glitchy centered around tweeter and woofer rattling beats, sampled, B-movie-like dialogue, soulful vocals.

“We were honored to get down with our elite and legendary friends Danger Mouse, Black Thought and A$AP Rocky on this banger,” Run the Jewels say in press notes.

I’ve said this before, and I’m not bullshitting here: Cheat Codes may arguably be the best hip-hop album — and possibly, the best album — of this year. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

New Video: Danger Mouse and Black Thought Team up with Michael Kiwanuka on a Woozy Banger

Danger Mouse (born Brian Burton) is arguably one of the most versatile and prolific artists and producers in music right now: As an artist he has been one-half of Broken Bells and Grammy Award-winning Gnarls Barkley. He has recorded collaborative albums  Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ Karen O and the late, legendary MF DOOM. As a producer, he has worked with AdeleU2The Black KeysGorillazRed Hot Chili PeppersMichael KiwanukaParquet Courts and a lengthy list of others. 

Black Thought (born Tariq Trotter) is a co-founder and frontman of Grammy Award winning, pioneering hip-hop act The Roots. Trotter is also an accomplished solo artist who has released a critically applauded album and two EPs: 2020’s Streams of Thought Vol. 3: Cane & Able and 2018’s Streams of Thought Vol. 1 EP and Streams of Thought Vol. 2 EP, which helped further his reputation among the cognoscenti — and real hip hop heads — as one of the dopest emcees to ever spit bars. Adding to a lengthy list of accolades and accomplishments, Trotter has acted in film and theater, along with having writing and producer credits.

The acclaimed duo’s long-rumored, long-awaited and highly-anticipated joint album Cheat Codes is slated for an August 12, 2022 release through BMG. While Cheat Codes simultaneously marks Danger Mouse’s first hip-hop album since 2005’s DANGERDOOM with MF DOOM and the follow-up to Black Thoughts’ solo trilogy Streams of Thought, their collaboration can be traced back almost almost 20 years earlier: Trotter and Burton first met back in 2005. They started working on material — but time went on, life happened, other projects and obligations came up. 

Following 2004’s acclaimed The Grey Album, Burton became one of the most in-demand and prolific producers of the day, helming several commercially and critically successful projects, which led to a bevy of accolades and awards. He also developed collaborations with a unique and eclectic array of artists while expanding upon and honing his own musicianship, production and writing. 

During that same period of time, The Roots released a batch of critically applauded albums and became the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon then The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Trotter released his aforementioned, critically applauded solo trilogy Streams of Thought. He collaborated with the likes of EminemJohn LegendPusha T.Griselda, and a list of others. He wrote, composed and starred in the widely-praised off Broadway show Black No More. And adding to a lengthy list of accomplishments, he co-produced a TV series with his Roots bandmate Questlove

Each mistakenly thought that the other had moved on and their collaboration just died, but as it turned out, neither one never stopped wanting to work together. Burton had long felt an instinctive need to return to his roots and make a timeless hip-hop album. He knew that Trotter was one of the few emcees truly capable of fulfilling that vision. Simultaneously, Trotter was seeking a space, where he could express himself musically and creatively beyond the confines and structures of his own band. 

This time, Burton was a far more seasoned songwriter and producer, Trotter an even more extraordinary emcee.  So, setting aside all distractions, Burton played Trotter some new music he had had. The ideas and words quickly flowed — and the experience was liberating. 

Meticulously built over a period of several years, Cheat Codes reportedly finds Burton pushing widescreen, soul-infused hip-hop soundscapes to new directions paired with Trotter’s commanding presence, incisive lyricism and dexterous wordplay. Unlike the typical producer-meets-rapper/side project, Cheat Codes is an effort between two like-minded collaborators, who raise each other’s games to new heights. 

The album also features an equally acclaimed cast of guests including A$AP Rocky,Run The Jewels, MF DOOM, Michael Kiwanuka, Joey Bada$$RussRaekwon, and Conway the Machine

So far I’ve written about two Cheat Codes singles:

No Gold Teeth,” which featured a warm and dusty psych soul-like production that brings RZAPete Rock, and DJ Premier to mind, the production serves as a lush bed for Black Thought’s dense, rapid fire, lyrical deluge. 

“Because,” which features a slow-burning, psych soul-inspired production paired with a vocal hook by Dylan Cartlidge. While being another example of the deep and uncannily innate simpatico shared between the two acclaimed collaborators, “Because” is chock full of dope bars, impressive wordplay and mind-blowing inner and outer rhyme schemes in an easy-going yet urgent cypher between Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Russ, that weaves in and out of the political and the personal. 

“I’ve always been a big fan of Black Thought and Danger Mouse. I think Black Thought is one of the greatest rappers ever, so when they asked me to get on this record, it was a no-brainer, plus the record is fire!” Joey Bada$$ says of his contribution to “Because.” “I still remember the first time I heard ‘You Got Me,’ the video was shot on my great-grandmother’s block and I was actually there that day when I was a child. It changed the way I looked at music. I’m very honored to be a part of this track. We’re making history!”

“Being able to collaborate with one of the greatest lyricists of all time is an honor and to do it in unison with Danger Mouse is something I’m just really proud to be a part of,” Russ added. 

Cheat Codes‘ third and latest single, the swaggering “Aquamarine” is an atmospheric yet soulful bop centered around a woozy and cinematic production featuring skittering hi-hat, thumping beats and squiggling bursts of guitar. The production serves as a lush bed for Black Thought’s hard-hitting, densely worded bars and a soaring hook from acclaimed, British soul artist Michael Kiwanuka.

“For ‘Aquamarine,’ when I heard the music I just had a feeling to sing about standing up for something that’s unique and following that path”, Kiwanuka says. “I don’t know why but that’s what came out.  Sometimes when you’re following something that’s unique to you it’s as if ‘enemies are all around’. At times life can feel fragile like ‘everything’s burning down’. For some reason the chords and music made me feel that way.”  

British production duo UNCANNY contributes a visual for “Aquamarine,” that captures the three artists in a kaleidoscopic and feverish light.