Tag: instrumental

Makaya McCraven is a Paris-born Chicago-based jazz drummer, beatmaker and producer, who has released a run of critically applauded, genre-defying and re-defining albums that includes 2017’s Highly Rare, 2018’s Where We Come From (Chicago x London Mixtape) and 2018’s Universal Beings through Chicago-based International Anthem Records. Highly Rare caught the attention of XL Recordings‘ Richard Russell, who recruited the acclaimed Chicago-based drummer, beatmaker and producer to re-imagine Gil Scott-Heron’s I’m New Here.  

Released earlier this year, McCraven’s We’re New Again places the original I’m New Here sessions in a new context. using samples collected from McCraven’s improvised live sessions with new wave Chicago jazz musicians and vintage samples taken from the acclaimed Paris-born, Chicago-based drummer, beatmaker and producer’s parents’ recordings.  It’s meant to reconnect Scott-Heron with his birthplace and hometown, as well as a lineage of jazz and blues that perfectly compliments the Chicago-born legendary artist’s imitable voice.

Slated for a July 31, 2020 release through his longtime label home. Universal Beings E&F Sides serves as an addendum to the critically applauded 2018 effort of the same name — but while featuring fourteen new organ beat music compositions that were cut from the original sessions and prepared and produced by McCraven as a soundtrack to a documentary on the recording of the original album. (The physical album will see a September 25, 2020 release.)

The Mark Pallman-directed Universal Beings documentary follows McCraven as he travelled to California, Chicago, London and NYC in a behind-the-scenes look at the creation and recording of his breakthrough album, taking the viewer through the story of his life, his process and the community of musicians that brought the album’s material to life.

So to build up buzz for the new album and the documentary, McCraven and International Anthem have released Universal Beings Sides E&F‘s first single, the angular and percussive “Mak Attack.” Clocking in a little under two minutes, the breakneck composition is centered around complex and rolling polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and twinkling bursts of keys.  The composition finds the musicians managing to walk a tightrope between chaos and order, free-flowing improvisation and structured composition and as a result, it explodes with a forceful and vital energy.

 

 

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New Video: Swedish Nu-Cumbia act Cumbiasound Releases an Adorable Visual for “Cumbia Alta Vida”

Daniell Fridell is a Swedish-based multi-instrumentalist and producer with a deep background in jazz, funk, soul and Balkan music, who spent a decade residing in Denmark. Throughout his career, he has played and produced material for albums, commercials, TV and for the theater — and as a result of his various work, Fridell has managed to tour across the European Union, Africa and the States.  

His latest project, Cumbiasound finds the Swedish multi-instrumentalist crafting compositions that draw from Colombian cumbia and Peruvian chicha with elements of reggae, Balkan folk, Afrobeat, soul and jazz among others. Interestingly, the project can its origins back to 2010 when Fridell first heard cumbia. “2010 I heard Cumbia the first time while standing outside of a supermarket eating ice cream,” Fridell explains in press notes. “It was blazing hot and all of a sudden this music came out of the speakers. ‘What’s that?’ I asked and the rest is history. A true love affair.”

Cumbiasound’s debut EP Vol. 1: Instrumentales sees Fridell collaborating with longtime friend and colleague Erik Axelsson who contributes trombone and euphonium to the mix. The EP’s latest single “Cumbia Alta Vida” is centered around shimmering and arpeggiated Rhodes, looping guitar and shuffling, Latin polyrhythm — and while sounding as though it were recorded sometime between 1962-1965, the song is a joyous and much-needed bit of escape. 

Speaking of escapism: the recently released video by Cesar A. Ortiz, the recently released video stars two adorable rugrats dancing to the song in their backyard and messing around with some instruments at home. We see the youngest kid, a tow-headed boy eating arepas — because of course. Life seems so much simpler in their eyes doesn’t it? 

New Audio: Canadian Sleaze Rockers The Death Wheelers Return with a Scuzzy New Single

With the release of their full-length debut, 2018’s I Tread On Your Grave, the rising Canadian act The Death Wheelers — Max “The Axe” Tremblay, Richard “Bastard” Turcotte, Sy “Wild Rye” Tremblay and Hugo “Red Beard” Bertacchi — have developed a reputation for a sound that’s largely inspired by the aesthetics and ethos of bikesploitation movies like The Wild Angels, Werewolves on Wheels and Psychomania — and Dave Allen, The Cramps, Motörhead, The Stooges, and Grand Funk Railroad. 

Slated for a September 11, 2020 release through RidingEasy Records, the Canadian act’s forthcoming sophomore album Divine Filth continues the band’s reputation for crafting sleazy, handbanging instrumental anthems that simultaneously serve as the soundtrack for fictional bikesploitation films. Centered around power chord-driven riffs, Divine Filth reportedly finds the band riding the line between Motörhead, The Cramps and Dick Dale. 

Recorded in a breakneck 48  lives setting, Divine Filth is all killer, no-filler, no-bullshit scuzziness with a layer of crass that recalls Troma Films. This time, their sophomore album is loosely based around this fantastically dumb yet fucking awesome plot synopsis: It’s 1982. Spurcity is run-down,The crime rate is up and so is drug use. A new kind of kick has hit the streets and it ain’t pretty. DTA, a powerful and highly addictive hallucinogenic drug, is transforming its loyal citizens into undead trash. Its users experience an indescribable high, but it leaves them rotting away within days, craving human flesh. No one knows who is dealing this new potent drug, but rumour has it that the motorcycle cult, The Death Wheelers, is behind this concoction. Could this be the end of civilization as we know it? What is motivating this group of psychotic individuals?

Divine Filth’s first single “Corps Morts” will further cement the band’s reputation for sleazy headbangers, as its centered around thunderous drumming, grungy power chords-driven riffs, enormous hooks and an expansive song structure. Sonically, the track will bring The Sword to mind, as much as it does Motörhead and others but with a nasty crustiness on the surface. 

New Video: French Composer Christophe Menassier Releases a Cinematic and Achingly Melancholic Single

Christophe Menassier is a French-born and-based composer for TV, movies an online features — and since 2001, he has created scores for some of the world’s most prestigious and important brands, including Louis Vuitton, Jaeger-Lecoultre, Bulgari, Yves Saint Laurent and others. But interestingly enough, Menassier can trace his career back to the 1990s, when he started his career as a drummer and frontperson of French alt rock act STICKBUZZ, which played over 300 shows across France. 

Since becoming a composer, Menassier has been rather prolific: In 2003, he founded COLLECTIF K, a ten member band, which released one album, Resurrection. The following year, he released his solo debut, Marseille Marseille, a ten song album featuring compositions that were written to evoke life in the French Mediterranean city. 

2008’s Picture Shop, a collaboration with Quentin Leroux that was inspired by American movies and it further established Menassier’s sound and aesthetic. In 2011, Menassier and his life partner founded the electro pop act LOO & MONETTI, an act that has released two albums — 2012’s Marla’s song and last year’s Broken Inside, as well as a handful of EPs. Capping off a very busy period, Menassier created the score for Vianney Lebasque’s 2012 film Les Petits Princes. 

Released earlier this year, Menassier’s latest effort The Unknown Movie is arguably the m most personal album in his catalog. Although he started writing the album’s material back in 2015, the bulk of the album was written between 2017 and 2020 — and the album is the culmination of Menassier’s search for cinematic, lush and atmospheric textures and sounds while also being the soundtrack of its creator’s “inner film.” Since its release back in April, The Unknown Movie has received attention from the French press, and has stared to receive airplay on international radio stations across the States, UK and Italy. 

The Unknown Movie’s latest single “Melancholic Therapy” is a gorgeously cinematic and  track centered around twinkling piano arpeggios that gently builds up intensity about halfway through the composition with atmospheric synths before a quiet fade out. And while being breathtakingly beautiful, the track evokes an aching sadness — of the passing of time, of our impending mortality lurking around the corner and over everything’s impermanence. 

And how better to evoke it than two beach empty beach chairs, with people frolicking in the water,  just in the distance. 

DJ Williams is a Plainfield, NJ-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, composer. producer, guitarist and bandleader, who grew up in Richmond, VA. Throughout his nearly two decade career, Williams has developed and maintained a reputation for being both incredibly prolific and for being a highly sought-after collaborator: the Plainfield-born, Los Angeles-based artist is the founder of the Richmond-based band DJ Williams Projekt; the hip-hop/R&B act The Breaks; the acoustic duo Williams & Jones; and he’s probably best known for playing in the critically acclaimed, San Diego-based funk/jam-band act Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

Unsurprisingly, as a result of his various creative projects, Williams has toured around the planet, playing in clubs of all sizes, as well as the international festival circuit, playing some of the largest and most prestigious festivals across the US, Canada and Europe — and he’s shared stages with the likes of John Legend, Dave Matthews Band, John Oates, Warren Haynes, Ivan Neville, Big Daddy Kane, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Soulive, Levon Helm, Slightly Stoopid, Robert Randolph, Slick Rick and a growing list of others.

As a singer/songwriter, composer and bandleader, Williams’ work is generally centered around compelling melody, an eclectic musical palette and deliberate and careful songwriting, revealing his desire to push new sonic and stylistic boundaries. Williams’ latest project, DJ Williams Shots Fired features members of Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz‘s backing band, Slightly Stooped, Trey Anastasio Band,Lyrics Born, Soulive, Greyboy Allstars and others — including Dan Africano (bass), Kowan Turner (drums), Joe Tatton (electric organ), Scott Flynn (trombone), Nick Gerlach (sax) and André Mali (trumpet) and a rotating cast of collaborators and associates.

DJ Williams’ Shots Fired’s debut single “She’s No Good” quickly earned regular airplay on SiriusXM during the spring of 2018 and as a result, the band was named as a “heat-seeker” and “an artist to watch.” Building upon a growing profile, the act’s forthcoming effort is a concept effort conceived as a four-part soundtrack for an imaginary movie is slated for a Fall 2020 release through Color Red Records. Last month, I wrote about EP single “Iron Fist.” The track, which features elements of psych rock, jam band rock, arena rock and funk depicts a character known as “The Samurai,” represented through Williams’ slashing guitar work. The EP’s second and latest single “Sunset Trails” is a homage to the black and white Westerns a young Williams used to watch with his father. Centered around shimmering guitar lines, four-on-the-floor drumming, soaring organ chords, an enormous and expressive horn line, the end result is a strutting, hip-hop inspired take on Ennio Morricone/Spaghetti Western soundtracks.

 

 

 

DJ Williams is a Plainfield, NJ-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, composer. producer, guitarist and bandleader, who grew up in Richmond, VA. Throughout his nearly two decade career, Williams has developed and maintained a reputation for being both incredibly prolific and for being a highly sought-after collaborator: the Plainfield-born, Los Angeles-based artist is the founder of the Richmond-based and DJ Williams Projekt; the hip-hop/R&B act The Breaks; the acoustic duo Williams & Jones; and he’s probably best known for playing in the critically acclaimed, San Diego-based funk/jam-band act Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

Unsurprisingly, as a result of his various creative projects. Williams has toured around the planet, playing in clubs of all sizes, as well as the international festival circuit, playing the largest and most prestigious festivals across the US, Canada and Europe — and he’s shared stages with the likes of John Legend, Dave Matthews Band, John Oates, Warren Haynes, Ivan Neville, Big Daddy Kane, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Soulive, Levon Helm, Slightly Stoopid, Robert Randolph, Slick Rick and a growing list of others.

As a singer/songwriter, composer and bandleader, Williams’ work  boasts compelling melody, an eclectic musical palette and deliberate and careful songwriting, revealing his desire to push new sonic and stylistic boundaries. His latest project, DJ Williams’ Shots Fired features members of Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz‘s backing band, Slightly Stooped, Trey Anastasio Band, Lyrics Born, Soulive, Greyboy Allstars and others — including the likes of Dan Africano (bass), Kowan Turner (drums), Joe Tatton (electric organ), Scott Flynn (trombone), Nick Gerlach (sax) and André Mali (trumpet) and a rotating cast of collaborators and associates.

DJ Williams’ Shots Fired’s debut single “She’s No Good” quickly earned regular airplay on SiriusXM during the spring of 2018 and as a result, the band was named as a “heat-seeker” and “an artist to watch.” Building upon a growing profile, the act’s newest album, a concept album conceived as the four-part soundtrack for an imaginary movie is slated for an August 2020 release through Color Red Records. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Iron Fist” depicts a character known as “The Samurai,” represented through Williams’ slashing guitar work. Centered around a looping 12 bar blues like structure, the song features a chugging two-step inducing groove, twinkling and arpeggiated organ blasts, shuffling drumming and an enormous horn line, the track is as swaggering and expansive composition that meshes elements of psych rock, jam band rock, arena rock and funk that feels as though it captures the band’s live show and energy with an uncanny and unerring accuracy.

 

 

 

 

Crowd Company is a rising, London-based acid jazz/jazz fusion/funk octet featuring core members Rob Fleming (vocals, guitar), Emil Engstrom (bass), Claudio Corona (keys), Esther Dee (vocals), Jo Marshall (vocals) and Robin Lowrey (drums) with a horn section including a rotating cast of top local players like Piers Green and Ed Benstea that specializes in sound that draws from and features elements of 1960s soul, 70s jazz fusion, contemporary funk, the blues and jam band rock: their material is centered around arrangements that feature Hammond organ, a virtuous horn section, soulful vocals and three part harmonies and funky grooves paired with razor sharp hooks.

The British octet has also built up a reputation for a powerhouse live show, while opening for an impressive list of acclaimed and legendary artists including The MetersGeorge Porter, Jr., JOVM mainstays Soulive, The New Mastersounds, Saun & Starr, James Taylor Quartet and Monophonics among others.

Earlier this year, the band released their most recent album, the Alan Evans-produced and mixed Lowdown, which The Big Takeover lauded as an album “that bursts at the sonic seams with rich, vibrant and varied compositions.”  The rising British act’s latest single “Orbital” was recorded during the Lowdown sessions at Evans’ Iron Wax Studios. And although the track sees the members of Crowd Company continuing their collaboration with Lettuce’s Ryan Zoidis and Eric “Benny” Bloom, it wasn’t included as one of Lowdown‘s album tracks. Clocking in at a little under 5:30, the funky and intergalactic composition sees the act bridging acid jazz, jazz fusion, retro-futuristic funk and psychedelia in a way that reminds me of Switzerland’s merchants of jazzy grooves L’Eclair— but with an enormous Parliament Funkadelic-like horn section.

New Video: Phillipe Blaze Releases an Intimate Look at Guadeloupe in New Visual for “DLO”

Phillipe Blaze is a Guadeloupe-born and-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and composer, whose family moved to France when he was small.  Spending much of his life in France, Blaze’s musical career can be traced back to the 80s: he participated in Paris’ reggae and rock scenes before relocating to Nantes. Eventually, Blaze wound up returning to Guadelope and while there he discovered the traditional music of the island — Zouk and Gwo Ka which is played with a big drum, locally known as ka. 

After working with the island group’s biggest names, Blaze released his first bit of solo material in 1996; however, by the following year, he founded JÒD LA (which in French means today) and through the release of three albums, the act honed and developed Gwo Ka Evolutif, which meshes the 7 rhymes of traditional Gwo Ka and Western instrumentation — i.e., guitar, piano, bass, sax, etc. Since then, Blaze has gone solo — and his latest single, the 13 song Eritaj features 8 compositions and 5 songs, including the album’s latest single, “DLO.” Centered around shimmering and looping guitars, propulsive polyrhythm and fluttering flute, the track is a breezy bit of Afropop influenced Tropicalia. 

The recently released video offers a glimpse of daily life on the Guadeloupe island group — but there’s a decided focus on the importance of water in our daily lives. 

New Audio: French Producer Sory Releases a Cinematic and Retro-futuristic New Single

Deriving his name from a French word for “tawny,” an orange-brown or yellowish-brown, Sory is a mysterious and emerging Parisian electronic music producer and electronic music artist, who has started to receive attention for a sound that’s heavily influenced by electro pop and electro funk. Thematically, the French producer and artist’s work draws from his lifelong obsession with robots — with the material taking the listener on an intergalactic future in which humanity is at one with machinery. 

Last month, Sory released his debut EP, the four song Fall ‘N’ Rise,  which featured lead single “Sitting on a cloud.” “Sitting on a cloud” gave a hint at what listeners should expect from the effort: slickly produced electro pop that nodded at funk and disco, centered around vocodored vocals. The EP’s second and latest track, the cinematic “Cyberpunk attack” is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, four-on-the floor drumming and an enormous hook. Arguably, the most retro-futuristic of Fall ‘N’ Rise’s four tracks, “Cyberpunk attack” manages to bring Daft Punk, Giorgio Moroder and John Carpenter soundtracks to mind. That shouldn’t be surprising: the song imagines an attack in which humans are captured and made into cyborgs through the implantation of bio-mechanical components. In the case the song’s composer imagines a future in which a memory chip that captures the entirety of his personality, memory, talents and history was implanted in his brain. The track asks if that were to happen, how does one regain their humanity and soul?