Tag: Larry Levan

New Video: Mexico City’s Sotomayor Releases a Trippy Visual for “Sin control”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Mexico City, Mexico-based sibling electro pop duo Sotomayor. The act, which the duo founded in 2015 features arguably two of their hometown’s most accomplished musicians: Paulina Sotomayor (vocals) is known for her work as a drummer in local rock/folk act folk act Jefes del Desierto,  and Raul Sotomayor (production), best known for his work as one-half of award-winning jazz/funk duo Beat Buffet and for creating DayOff, a Sunday afternoon party that presents global bass acts from around the world.  

Since their formation, they’ve released two albums –2015’s Salvaje and 2017’s Conquistador — that have received attention from Vice, MTV and KEXP for a sound that meshes elements of cumbia, Afrobeat, dancehall, Peruvian chicha and merengue with modern electronic production and rock ‘n’ roll-like urgency. Adding to a growing profile, the act has toured across the UK, the States and Colombia.

Recorded in studios in Puerto Rico and Mexico, the duo’s recently released Eduardo Cabra-produced, third full-length album Origenes further cementing their sound — while further drawing from the sounds of Latin America’s clubs and streets. Possessing a strong sense of tradition, the album’s material is centered around their unerring knack for pairing pop friendly melodies with rock ‘n’ roll urgency. But unlike their previously released work, the Sotomayors add and explore Afro Caribbean percussion to their overall sound and aesthetic. 

“Sin control” Origenes’ third single continues a run of club friendly material — but in this case, the track is a decidedly Larry Levan-era house inspired track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping Latin-influenced percussion and Paulina Sotomayor’s sultry and ethereal vocals. Nodding at the work of artists like Sango and Branko, the track is an infectious and summery bop written and designed to get asses shaking on the dance floor. 

Directed by Drew Boyle, the recently released video for “Sin Control” features some mind-bending  and lysergic computer animated visuals — also by Boyle — that at times pulsate to the music’s hypnotic beats. 

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New Audio: Mexico City-based Sibling Duo Sotomayor Returns with a Shimmering House Music-Influenced Bop

Sotomayor, is a rapidly rising Mexico City, Mexico-based sibling electro pop duo featuring arguably two of their hometown’s most accomplished musicians: Paulina Sotomayor (vocals), best known for her work as a drummer in local rock/folk act Jefes del Desierto,  and Raul Sotomayor (production), best known for his work as one-half of award-winning jazz/funk duo Beat Buffet and for creating DayOff, a Sunday afternoon party that presents global bass acts rom around the world. The sibling duo founded the act back in 2015 and although it’s their first collaborative project together, they’ve released two albums — 2015’s Salvaje and 2017’s Conquistador — that have received attention from Vice, MTV and KEXP for a sound that meshes elements of cumbia, Afrobeat, dancehall, Peruvian chicha and merengue with modern electronic production and rock ‘n’ roll-like urgency. Adding to a growing profile, the act has toured across the UK, the States and Colombia.

Recorded in studios in Puerto Rico and Mexico, the duo’s soon-to-be released Eduardo Cabra-produced, third full-lengh album Origenes is slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Wonderwheel Recordings. Reportedly, the act’s third album finds them continuing to draw their sound and aesthetic from the sounds of Latin America’s clubs and streets.  Possessing a strong sense of tradition, the material further cements the sibling duo’s reputation for an unerring knack for melody paired with a rock ‘n’ roll-influenced urgency — but unlike their previously released albums, Origenes finds the Sotomayors exploring and adding Afro Caribbean percussion to the mix.

Now. as you may recall, earlier this month I wrote about Origenes’ second single “Meneate pa’ mi,” a decidedly upbeat track centered around Raul Sotomayor’s thumping, club friendly production featuring a chopped and looped horn sample, tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with Paulina Sotomayor’s self-assured, half-sung, half-rapped vocal delivery. Interestingly, much like JOVM mainstay El Dusty, the Mexico City-based duo’s newest single envisions a globalized, genre-free world, a world as the great George Clinton once sung that’s “one nation under a groove.” Interestingly, “Sin control” continues a run of club friendly material — but in this case, the track is a decidedly Larry Levan-era house inspired track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping Latin-influenced percussion and Paulina Sotomayor’s sultry and ethereal vocals. Nodding at the work of artist like Sango and Branko, the track is an infectious and summery bop designed to get asses shaking. 

New Video: DRAMA Releases a Surreal and Otherworldly Visual for “Years”

Tracing their origins back to a chance meeting between its core duo back in 2014, the Chicago-based pop duo DRAMA — producer and DJ Na’el Shehade and vocalist Via Rosa — have managed to bootstrap a subtle yet rapid rise with a proudly DIY ethos, releasing several EPs of material that blurs the lines between R&B, dance pop, heartbreak and bliss, centered around a sound that meshes Shehade’s Chicago house-infused production and Rosa’s soulful delivery, inspired by jazz, hip-hop and Bossa nova. 

Now, as you may recall, the Chicago-based pop act’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Dance Without Me is slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Ghostly International. The album’s material reportedly finds the duo recasting romantic tragedy as moonlit self-acceptance. Instead of wallowing alone in their blues and heartache, the material features characters who sashay and strut, knowing their self-worth while being vulnerable. This album is dedicated to the people watching their friend’s love-lives grow and happen around them, and not having anyone,” Rosa says in press notes.

I’ve written about two of the album’s releases singles so far: “Gimme Gimme,” a sultry synthesis of Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa and classic, Larry Levan-era house — and “Nine One One,” a slow-burning, cinematic bit of Quiet Storm-like soul pop. “Years,” Dance Without Me’s fourth and latest single is a decidedly R&B-tinged affair that nods at What’s the 411-era Mary J. Blige and Robin S.; however, at its core, the song is full of uneasy conflict and bitter uncertainty : the song’s narrator recognizes that they’re deeply devoted to someone, who isn’t right for them. “This track is a bittersweet song about the conflict of wanting to let go but still hold onto someone you love, but you know they’re not right for you,” DRAMA’s Via Rosa says in press notes. “It’s about knowing you should walk away but also wanting to confess your unconditional and eternal love.”

Directed by Adam Chiayat, the recently released video features the members of DRAMA performing through a series of surreal and otherworldly transitioning spaces. “Filmed practically, we set out to create a series of otherworldly, constantly transitioning spaces for DRAMA to perform through,” the video’s director says in press notes. “Emotions can feel like they take us on a ride, floating us forward and bringing us towards things we need to tackle in our lives. The floating and the spaces seek to represent the themes of the song – speaking to your own heart, confronting your past and opening yourself back up to vulnerability.”

New Audio: Introducing the Sleek Dance Floor Friendly Sounds of Chicago’s DRAMA

Na’el Shehade is a Chicago-born and-based, Palestinian-American producer and DJ, who inherited an entrepreneurial drive from his late father, who immigrated from Palestine to the States in the 70s to build a better life. Shehade fell in love with DJ culture as a kid and as an adult took up music production and engineering. The Chicago-born and-based producer and DJ’s interest and passion led to a diverse and eclectic array of professional opportunities, including early studio work with Chance the Rapper and Kanye West and music projects for MTV and Bravo. 

Shehade’s collaborator Via Rosa grew up in a rather musical household: her parents played in a reggae band and toured as a family, homeschooling Rosa into her early teens. Although her music listening was limited primarily to oldies, Sade, Brazilian music and Afrobeat, a teenaged Rosa kept poetry journals — and by high school, she started writing songs and making beats. After relocating to Chicago in 2010, Via Roa connected with THEMPeople, a collective at the center of her adopted hometown’s sprawling hip-hop scene. 

Interestingly, the Chicago-based duo’s collaboration together, DRAMA can trace its origins to a chance meeting between them back in 2014. And since its formation, the duo have bootstrapped a subtle yet rapid rise on their own terms, centered around a sound that meshes Shehade’s Chicago house-infused production and Rosa’s soulful delivery, inspired by jazz, hip-hop and Bossa nova while managing to blur the lines between R&B, dance pop, heartbreak and bliss. Along with that, the duo have had a long-held history of a proud and bold DIY ethos, self-releasing several EPs and making multiple tours — on their own terms. 

DRAMA’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Dance Without Me is slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Ghostly International. Thematically, the album’s material reportedly finds the duo recasting romantic tragedy as moonlit self-acceptance while the material pairs  Rosa’s candid lyrics focused on expressionistic narratives about the intricacies of interpersonal relationships with sleek, dance floor friendly production. Instead of wallowing alone in their blues and heartache, the material features characters who sashay and strut, knowing their self-worth while being vulnerable. This album is dedicated to the people watching their friend’s love-lives grow and happen around them, and not having anyone,” Rosa says in press notes. 

“Gimme Gimme,” Dance Without Me’s second and latest single is a sleek and slickly produced club banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, Via Rosa’s effortlessly soulful vocals, twinkling hi-hats and a euphoric hook. And while seemingly being a sultry synthesis of Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa and classic, Larry Levan-era house, the track finds its love-sick narrator wobbling between aching vulnerability and proud, self-reliance, as she searches for a sign that it’s okay to love again. 

“The idea was to have a conversation with my myself about what kind of man I’m looking for,” Rosa explains in press notes. “In the chorus I repeat the line ‘I need you to stand and deliver. Cause I need a man that’s not gonna give me any any…’ The end I purposely left blank so listeners could insert what they don’t want from their next lover. Oddly enough the song was inspired by the closing scene in the movie Grease where Sandy sings to Danny ‘You better shape up cause I need a man.’ Only in my world, I’m Sandy, my heart is Danny and I’m telling my heart to shape up and give me what I want.”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Oslo, Norway-based singer/songwriter, composer and keyboardist Arthur Kay. And as you may recall Kay has been a prominent member of his hometown’s music scene for the better part of the past decade as the frontman of of the galactic jazz act Dr. Kay and His Interstellar Tone Scientists and collaborating and touring with Norwegian rapper Ivan Ave.

Key’s self-titled solo debut EP was released earlier this month, and the EP’s material draws from several disparate and rather eclectic influences, at points channeling Thundercat, James Blake, and Sun Ra Arkestra, all while finding the Norwegian singer/songwriter, composer and keyboardist boldly stepping into the spotlight.  Earlier this year, I wrote about “Holiday Pay,” a thumping, house music-based workers anthem with glistening and twinkling synths, cowbell-led percussion and infectious hook that celebrates socialism and socialist policies — in particular, that Norwegian employers are required by law to pay employees a certain percentage of the previous year’s wages to be used for the employee’s vacation time.

The EP’s second single “Higher Ground” was a slow-burning track that was one part dream pop, one part hallucinogenic dirge and one part shoegaze, as it was centered around a sparse arrangement of twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, Kay’s dreamy crooning and narcoleptic drumming. And while arguably the most peaceful song off the EP, the song was fueled by a sweaty desperation.  “Lyrically, it is about the silence and calmness that comes after a big emotional and chaotic event,” Arthur Kay explained in press notes. “Those days or weeks where you feel that if you just put everything in your life on hold, to make it through the next hour without remembering or engaging in those memories, you’ll just barely make it through.”

“Say It Out Loud,” the EP’s third and latest single is a two-step-inducing bit of synth-led dance pop that’s one part Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing and one part Larry Levan-era house music, as the track is centered around arpeggiated keys and synths, thumping beats, cowbell-led percussion, Kay’s plaintive vocals and a sinuous hook before ending with a shimmering jazz-like. And while focusing on his singular voice, the track manages to reveal Kay’s incredible versatility and dexterous musicianship.

 

Last month, I wrote about Brijean Murphy, a Los Angeles-born, Oakland-based percussionist, who has made a name for herself as a highly-sought after touring musician with stints in the touring bands of Toro Y Moi, U.S. Girls and Poolside, as well as several others. Interestingly, Murphy can trace the origins of her musical career to her childhood — Murphy’s father, Patrick is a percussionist and engineer, who taught a young Brijean her first drum patterns on a pair of congas that she inherited from the late Trinidadian steel pan drum legend Vince Charles.

The Los Angeles-born, Oakland-based percussionist managed to find some free time to collaborate with Doug Stuart, a producer, who shares a background as a jazz and pop session musician, who has worked with JOVM mainstays Bells Atlas, Meerna, Luke Temple, Jay Stone and others. Written and recorded in marathon sessions at their intimate home studio, wedged between rarely over-lapping tour schedules, the duo formed BRIJEAN, a project that meshes Murphy’s Latin jazz and soul upbringing with Murphy’s 70s disco and 90s house-inspired production.

Slated for a June 28, 2019 through Native Cat Recordings, BRIJEAN’s debut effort, WALKIE TALKIE EP finds Murphy stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist in her own right. Now, as you may recall, the slickly produced “Show and Tell” was centered around a sinuous and propulsive bass line, glistening chimes, shimmering synths, Latin soul percussion, dreamily delivered vocals singing metaphysical-leaning lyrics, and a sleek hook within an expansive and trippy arrangement that nods at Roy Ayers and classic house. The EP’s latest single, the dance floor friendly EP title track “Walkie Talkie” features a sinuous, 90s house music-influenced production consisting of shimmering arpeggiated keys, tweeter and woofer rocking low-end and Latin percussion — and unsurprisingly, the song brings Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles and Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa to mind, complete with a coquettish air.

 

 

I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed New York-based electronic dance music/neo-disco outfit Escort and their indomitable frontwoman and bassist  Adeline Michele throughout the course of this site’s eight-plus year history.  Now, as you may recall, the Escort frontwoman will be releasing her self-titled full-length on Friday, and the album is a bit of a sonic and aesthetic reset button from the full-length that she released a few years ago.  In fact, the album’s first single “Emeralds” was a slinky, 80s Quiet Storm-inspired synth soul that brought Prince to mind, while being centered around a a sinuous bass line and Adeline’s sultry vocals. “Before,” the album’s  Chaka Khan and Rufus‘ “Ain’t Nobody,”  Mary J. Blige’s “Be Happy,” and Patrice Rushen‘s “Feels So Real”-like featured shimmering and arpeggiated synths and Adeline’s pop superstar vocals. 

“Hi Life,” the latest single off the Escort frontwoman’s soon-to-be released album is a straightforward yet ecstatic house music banger featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a rousing hook and Adeline Michele’s sultry pop superstar vocals. Sonically, the song brings Inner City’s house music classic “Good Life” and Larry Levan to mind but with a modern sheen.

 

 

Rohan Newman is a a Melbourne, Australia-based producer and electronic music artist, best known in electronic music circles as Roland Tings, and back in 2012, as a relative newcomer, the Australian producer and electronic music artist caught the attention of renowned electronic dance music label, 100% Silk Records, who released his debut EP.  And unsurprisingly, thanks to the cosign from the renowned Southern California-based label and the international attention he received, Newman quickly became one of Melbourne’s go-to producers and DJs, performing at some of the city’s most raucous house parties and basement jams. With an even larger profile, Newman quickly signed to renowned Norwegian electronic music label Internasjonal, founded by alt-disco, electronic music star Prins Thomas, and the label released Newman’s 2015 full-length debut, an album that Triple J named their Feature Album of the year.

Newman’s sophomore Roland Tings effort, Each Moment a Diamond was released earlier this year, and the material revealed a subtle yet decided change in his songwriting approach: Newman rented a studio located in Melbourne’s industrial backstreets and treated the entire songwriting and production process, much like a 9-5 job in which he deliberately developed a routine around a repetitive and dependable schedule — every morning, Newman ate the same breakfast, rode his bike along the same route to the studio, spent hours writing and revising and when finished, he’d hang out with the same group of friends at the same places. Being at the studio all day every day was psychologically demanding. For each good idea I had, there were maybe 30 bad ones, which is hard to face when you look back on months of work and realize the majority of the material will never make the record. Eventually though I was able to see each ‘failure’ as a crucial contribution to overall whole,” Newman reflected in press notes.  “The routine also allowed me to grasp good ideas when they surfaced -– when something was different, when something sounded great, I quickly noticed and was able to follow each thread. Another valuable realization from this process was knowing when to stop, when to let go of an idea, power down the studio, get on my bike and head home.”

Now if you were following this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about two of Each Moment a Diamond’s singles — the Zonoscope-era Cut Copy inspired house music track “Higher Ground” and the Larry Levan-era house meets Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves-like track “Garden Piano.”  Interestingly, Newman has managed to make 2017 an extraordinarily busy year, as he just released follow up single “Eyes Close,” a song  inspired by his recent relocation from Melbourne to New South Wales’ Central Coast, and the song which features layers of shimmering arpeggiated synths,thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and twinkling, cosmic ray-like electronics will further cement his reputation for crafting sleek, assertive yet chilly house music; however, unlike his previously released material, this particular single manages to swoon with a sense of exhilaration and freedom, as though a weight as been slowly lifted — or of closing your eyes on a sunny day, craning your head towards the sun to feel its warmth on you, and then opening your eyes to bursts of light.

As Newman explains in press notes, “I wanted to make a song that would capture what I could only describe as cold euphoria. The exhilaration of being feeling untethered after a long time in the same routine. The intoxicating smell of eucalyptus after a long time in the city.” He continues,  “I wanted to make something that captured the beauty of that coastal landscape in winter. The way the trees on the windward side of the headland grow with twisted branches, braced against the southerly storms. I wanted to make something that sounded like total release, coming out of a dark place into somewhere filled with light.”

New Video: Gorillaz Collaborates with Peven Everett on Their Most House Music-Inspired Track in Years

Created by Blur frontman and founding member Damon Albarn and renowned comic book artist Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz is a virtual band, featuring animated characters 2D (vocals), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar) and Russel Hobbs (guitar) that exploded into with the international scene with the 2001 release of their eponymous debut. The BRIT and Grammy Award-winnng act has since released three critically applauded and commercially successful albums — 2005’s Demon Days, 2010’s Plastic Beach and 2011’s The Fall and with each of their four previously released albums the act has topped charts around the world, receiving millions of streams, selling millions of copies and playing arenas, clubs and festivals from San Diego to Syria. Along with that the act has won the Jim Henson Creativity Honor and have been recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the planet’s Most Successful Virtual Act. 

Humanz, the virtual act’s fifth and latest album was released to critical applause last month and the album has continued the band’s incredible run of commercial successes with the album landing at number 1 and number 2 on the US and UK charts respectively, as well as topping the iTunes chart in over 60 different countries. Produced by Gorillaz, The Twilite Tone of D /\ P and Remi Kabaka, the album was recorded in studios in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Jamaica and has the members of the virtual band — er, Damon Albarn and company — collaborating with an eclectic and accomplished array of contemporary artists including Savages’ Jehnny Beth, Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, De La Soul, D.R.A.M., Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones (!!!), Zebra Katz, Mavis Staples (!!!), Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T., Peven Everett and others. 

Humanz’s latest single “Strobelite” features the members of Gorillaz collaborating with Harvey, IL-born, Chicago, IL-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Peven Everett, an artist whose work has spanned across R&B, jazz, hip-hop and house music.  The Harvey, IL-born, Chicago-based artist received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music when he was 17 before leaving to collaborate with the likes of Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis. Since then Everett has contributed trumpet on a handful of jazz recordings, including Curtis Lundy’s Against All Odds while becoming a leading figure in Chicago’s house, soul and R&B communities, releasing seven solo albums. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Gorillaz collaboration with Everett is the most dance floor-friendly track they’ve released in several years — since, perhaps “Dare” off Demon Days, as the album’s  latest single features Everett’s soulful crooning singing uplifting lyrics over a club banging, Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles-era house music production featuring cosmic ray-like synths, twinkling keys and dance floor-friendly beats; it’s frankly the sort of song that’s so uplifting that you’d have to dance and smile — and if you didn’t there was something deeply wrong about you. 

Directed by Stoke, UK-native Raoul Skinbeck, the recently released video for “Strobelite” features Peven Everett with the members of Gorillaz and a multicultural cast of clubgoers tearing up a London nightclub and if there’s one thing that the video confirms in an increasingly unsettled and frightening world that it’s the things that remind us of our humanity that unite us — that music has the power to let us escape for a little bit, to have us fall in love, and to remind us of who and what we are; and that there’s freedom on the dance floor.