Tag: Moshi Moshi Records

New Video: Benin City Returns with a Thumping, House Music-Inspired, Club Banger

Comprised of Joshua Idehen (vocals, spoken word), Shanaz Dorsett (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Tom Leaper, the London-based trio Benin City have received both national and international attention for a sound that meshes Afro-pop, hip-hop, spoken word and electronica in a seamless, club banging fashion. The trio’s forthcoming sophomore effort Last Night is slated for a April 6, 2018 release through Moshi Moshi Records, and the album reportedly is an ode to London’s nightlife and club scenes with the trio commenting on what their hometown’s nightlife scene has meant to them while expressing anger, frustration and weariness over a rapidly disappearing scene.

For countless people across the world, especially those in a city like New York, the disappearance of beloved clubs, bars and music venues create much larger, universal questions: What does it mean for your town and its culture? What does it mean socioeconomically? With nightlife being both an escape from the soulsucking horrors of the daily grind and a way for weird kids passionate about dance, music, art and fashion to find a supportive loving alternate family, where do these kids go to find that kind of support and love? What happens to them if they never find the support and love they needed? Where do they find a sense of belonging and purpose? And if they have found all of that in a beloved club or bar, what happens when that spot closes?

Interestingly, each individual member of Benin City has spent the past decade in London’s nightlife scene in a variety of roles including artists, ravers, bartenders, bouncers, bar backs, scenesters, drinkers, partiers and weekend warriors, and as a result the album’s material emphasizes a deep, inconsolable sense of loss. As the trio’s Joshua Idehen explains, “London nightlife has been our way out, our release, our daily escape. We’ve been clubbers, barmen, part / full-time drinkers. We’ve served cocktails and downed shots. We’ve found ourselves on dancefloors and lost our dinners on nightbusses. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve engaged in dumb drunken squabbles and we’ve found ourselves in strangers’ houses. We’ve danced to songs we didn’t know the name of. We made landmarks out of hidden corners of London: Passing Clouds, Ghetto, Trash Palace, Plastic People, Vibe Bar, Cable, Crucifix Lane. Those places, and the stories they held are gone for good as London becomes pricier and ever more grey. On this album are some of those stories: this is an ode to London’s nightlife.”

Towards the end of last year, I wrote about album single “All Smoke, No Fire” a track that featured a minimalist yet propulsive and club rocking production consisting of stuttering beats, an eerily repetitive and chiming synth line and an enormous yet sinuous hook over which Idehen and Dorsett rhyme about prototypical club situations — while noting that those who engage in and love nightlife culture need it to survive with their dignity and sanity intact, even if the bouncer is a no-neck having asshole or if someone spilled their drink over that dope new outfit you brought just for that one night of freedom; but underneath it all is a subtle and undeniable sense of loss and unease over your personal headquarters disappearing — forever.

Last Night’s latest single “Final Form” is a thumping and sinuous house track production featuring arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, chiming percussion paired with a rousing and anthemic hook — and in some way,  the song strikes me as a swaggering and modern synthesis of Snap!’s “Rhythm is a Dancer,” and Stardust’s club classic “Music Sounds Better With You” but with an ecstatic yet deeply personal bent. As the British act’s Joshua Idehen explains, the song was inspired by a night at Zoo Bar, “I once went to Zoo Bar in the West End with a poet I really fancied. It was a Saturday night, and neither of us drank but we felt like dancing. They were playing soulful house (this was back in the noughties). Spurring and daring each other on, we started with the running man and ended up at last orders, dripping in the worst sweat, making up entirely new dance moves, downing large glasses of tap water. She, a Dragonball Z fan, kept saying ‘nah, you haven’t seen my Final Form. Next song I will be over 9000.’ Obviously, that stuck with me.”

As for the video treatment, Idehen explains, “Our last video for “All Smoke, No Fire” was in memory of all the clubs that have shut in the last five years, so we wanted our next video to celebrate the mainstream and alternative scenes still thriving in London. Working with George Bushaway, we crafted a narrative of two clubbers working up the courage to lose themselves in three very different dancefloors: Lindy hopping with Swing Patrol in Holborn, Jungle/Garage raving in Fire down [in] Vauxhall, and a soca night at Ruby Blue, Leicester Square.” The video focuses on these two lonely men, feeling self-conscious, awkward and as though they couldn’t possible belong — that is until they figure out a way to let go, and embrace the moment, absorbing the joy, ecstasy and community of the room they’re in, while being authentic to themselves.

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New Video: Benin City Releases a Poignant Ode to London’s Disappearing Nightlife Scene

Comprised of Joshua Idehen (vocals, spoken word), Shanaz Dorsett (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Tom Leaper, the London-based trio Benin City have received both national and international attention for a sound that meshes Afro-pop, hip-hop, spoken word and electronica in a seamless, club banging fashion. Interestingly, the trio’s forthcoming sophomore effort Last Night is slated for a April 6, 2018 release through Moshi Moshi Records, and the album reportedly is an ode to London’s nightlife and club scenes with the trio commenting on what their hometown’s nightlife scene has meant to them while expressing anger, frustration and weariness over a rapidly disappearing scene. 

Certainly, as a New Yorker with some of my favorite venues and bars seemingly every few weeks, it leaves larger universal questions– what does it mean for your hometown and its culture? With nightlife being both an escape from the daily grind and its increasing horror, and a way for weird kids to find a supportive, loving, alternative family, it leaves some universal questions for anyone who loves nightlife and/or clubbing — namely, what does it mean for my city culturally and spiritually for these places to disappear because of gentrification? With a significant portion of the nightlife scene, they’ve found the supportive and loving family that has eluded them their entire lives, where do they find that sense of belonging and purpose — if their favorite club or bar closes? 

With each individual member of Benin City spending the past decade of their lives in London’s nightlife scene as artists, ravers, bartenders, bouncers, bar backs and scenesters, drinkers and partiers, the album’s material emphasizers a larger sense of inconsolable loss. As the trio’s Joshua Idehen explains, “London nightlife has been our way out, our release, our daily escape. We’ve been clubbers, barmen, part / full-time drinkers. We’ve served cocktails and downed shots. We’ve found ourselves on dancefloors and lost our dinners on nightbusses. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve engaged in dumb drunken squabbles and we’ve found ourselves in strangers’ houses. We’ve danced to songs we didn’t know the name of. We made landmarks out of hidden corners of London: Passing Clouds, Ghetto, Trash Palace, Plastic People, Vibe Bar, Cable, Crucifix Lane. Those places, and the stories they held are gone for good as London becomes pricier and ever more grey. On this album are some of those stories: this is an ode to London’s nightlife.”

Last Night’s latest single “All Smoke, No Fire” consists of a minimalist, propulsive and club banging production featuring stuttering beats, an eerily repetitive and chiming synth line and an enormous yet sinuous hook over which Idehen and Dorsett rhyme about prototypical club situations and while noting that there’s a sense of needing nightlife to survive with one’s dignity and sanity intact even if the bouncer is an asshole or someone spilled their drink on you; but underneath that there’s a sense of anger and frustration over another beloved place disappearing forever.  

Directed by Shaun Grant, the recently released video foe “All Smoke, No Fire” features nighttime footage of the London area and friends of the trio meeting in front of closed clubs, beloved landmarks and libraries, with the some of their friends speaking about the loss of their scene with a poignant and devastating honesty. 


 

 

Mark Dobson, the creative mastermind behind the British electronic music sensation Ambassadeurs has developed a reputation as a producer and electronic music artist for a sound that employs the use of samples that have been processed beyond recognition and that’s informed by dub, hip-hop, jazz, and drum ‘n’ bass. And as result of his signature sound and production style, Dobson has also become a go-to producer as he’s done work for a number of renowned labels including Tru Thoughts, Ninja Tune, Moshi Moshi, Fat Cat, Wah Wah 45s, Universal, and Rough Trade — all while heading his own label, Lost Tribe Records and releasing a number of free singles for his rapidly growing fanbase. (He currently has 35,000 followers and his singles on SoundCloud have exceeded over 7 million plays.)

Dobson has received airplay from several BBC Radio 1 personalities,  as well as praise from the likes of The Fader, Mixmag, Vice, i-D, Clash, XLR8R and others, and as a result he has opened for the likes of renowned artists such as  ODESZA, Machinedrum, The Gas Lamp Killer, Danny Brown, Gold Panda, Daedelus and Kelpe, had a 15 date co-headline tour across North America with Daktyl and played at festivals such as Hard Day Of The Dead, Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, and The Sound You Need Festival.

2015 has been a rather busy and prolific year for the London-based electronic music artist and producer as his debut effort Patterns was released to critical praise earlier this year, along with a number of EPs. Building up on the increasing buzz and serving as a teaser for his forthcoming 2016 efforts, Dobson recently released his latest single “Halos,” which was written and recorded during a vacation in the country — and in some way that vacation has influenced the single’s sound as it is reportedly much more organic than his previously released work as layers of staccato synths are paired with skittering drum programming, swirling electronics and soulful vocal samples with warm bursts of strings and twinkling keys. Sonically, the song seems to be equally influenced by Peter Gabriel (think of “Shock the Monkey” and “Biko“) as it is by house music; as I listened to the song I was reminded of Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves. In other words, the material manages to be atmospheric and melodic, while possessing a cinematic quality.