Tag: Paris France

Live Footage: Rising South African Rapper Yugen Blakrok Performing “Ochre (Emerald Mix)” and “Picture Box” for La Bouclette TV

La Bouclette TV is a new French-based music media outlet founded by and carried by the efforts of a team of passionate people — cameramen, editors, sound engineers and journalists, who aim to produce authentic live footage with a polished aesthetic that highlight both emerging and established artists. Last year, the La Bouclette team invited rising Johannesburg, South Africa-based rapper Yugen Blakrok to perform some material off her most recent effort, the critically applauded Anima Mysterium, an effort that named one of the best hip-hop albums of 2019 by a number of media outlets. 

Over the past decade, the rising South African emcee has been a vital and hardworking member of the South African hip-hop scene for the past decade, gaining recognition through a number of features and live shows, and for a sound that mixed sci-fi  and trip hop inspired soundscapes with boom-bap beats and melodic melodies paired with Blakrok’s Lauryn Hill-like flow. She caught the attention of indie label Iapetus Records, home of artists like Robo, Hymphatic Thabs and Fifi the Raiblaster, who signed her in 2009. And as soon as she signed to the label, she teamed up with Sampletologists Kanif the Jhatmaster, starting a successful collaboration that began with a number of attention-grabbing singles and her full-length debut, 2013’s Return of Astro-Goth, an effort that was released to critical applause internationally and was championed by Chuck D and Sage Francis. 

Building upon a growing profile, Return of Astro-Goth received helped Blakrok receive three SA Hip-Hop Award nominations in 2014 — Best Lyricist, Best Newcomer and Best Female Artist categories. Since then she has toured across the European Union several times, opening for MC Lyte during her German and Swiss tour dates; Pete Rock and CL Smooth during their Denmark tour; Edo G during his Austrian tour; and Kemp (a.k.a. Little Ugly Mane) during his Czech Republic tour. In her native South Africa, she’s shared stages with Public Enemy, Sage Francis and Jeru the Damaja. She’s also been featured on several international collaborations, most notably on Kendrick Lamar’s curated Black Panther soundtrack, in which she contributed an attention-grabbing verse alongside Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar. 

Filmed while the rising South African emcee was in Paris for last year’s MAMA Festival, the Bouclette TV session features the emcee performing the atmospheric, Portishead-like album tracks “Ochre (Emerald Mix) and “Picture Box” in a warm and intimate setting. And throughout the session, Blakrok firmly cements her reparation for dexterous and sensual flows within mesmerizing and moody soundscapes. 

Advertisements

New Video: Paris-based Synth Pop Act Superjava Releases a Funky Club Banger

The emerging Paris-based, disco and funk-influenced electro pop act Superjava features one of the most diverse lineups I’ve come across in some time — its members hail from Jakarta, Indonesia; Lima, Peru; and Paris, France. The act can trace its origins to when its founding duo Archi and Alex met back in 2015 while they were studying at Berklee College of Music. The pair began crafting funky riffs — and when they relocated to Paris, they met the band’s third and final member Arnuad. 

The band’s debut EP, Javaland established the band’s breezy, hook-driven take on synth pop. As the band explains, Javaland’s follow-up, Soul Dance EP, which is slated for release later this year, “has two main goals: put a smile on your face and make you dance.” Interestingly, the EP’s latest single, the Shapes-era Miami Horror-like “Dance For Me” is centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, a big brass sample, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, thumping beats and an infectious hook featuring soulful backing vocals is a a feel good, club-banger meant to get you — and that pretty your thing you’ve been eying for the past three songs onto the dance floor. 

Directed by Dixhuit Prod, the recently released video features the brightly dressed members of Superjava along with a backing vocal section perfuming the song in front of a joyous party of young people getting down — and it’s fitting. 

New Video: Savages’ Jehnny Beth Releases a Feverish and Sensual Visual for “Flower”

Camille Berthomier is a Poitiers, Vienne, France-born, London-based singer/songwriter, actress, author and musician, professionally known as Jehnny Beth — and as the frontwoman of the Mercury Prize-nominated, critically applauded act Savages. With Savages, Beth has developed a unique lyrical perspective and stage presence that has captivated audiences across the world for the better part of the past 15 years or so. 

Interestingly, Beth’s solo debut To Love Is To Live, which is slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Caroline Records finds the longtime Savages frontwoman boldly stepping into and claiming the spotlight. Recorded in Los Angeles, London and Paris, the album finds Beth collaborating with an eclectic array of producers and artists including Flood, Atticus Ross, longtime collaborator and Savages bandmate Johnny Hostile, Adam “Cecil” Barlett, The xx’s Romy Madley Croft,IDLES’ Joe Talbot and Golden Globe-winning actor Cilian Murphy. Reportedly, the album is ad ark and cinematic meditation on the strangeness of being alive. Thematically, the album sees Beth tapping into and accessing the darkest and least comfortable parts of herself to craft material that’s cathartic, abrasive, fearlessly honest and vulnerable. 

To Love Is To Live’s second and latest single “Flower” is a brooding and atmospheric track centered around a murky and tempestuous pulse, shimming synth arpeggios and Beth’s sultry cooing and crooning. The end result is a song that’s simmers with a feverish and obsessive lust. Reportedly written about a pole dance at Los Angeles’ Jumbo’s Clown Room, the song details the complicated and confusing depths of sexuality, desire, possession and loss. 

Directed by Peaky Blinders’ Anthony Byrne, the recently released video for “Flower” continues an ongoing collaboration with the acclaimed director. Shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white, the video — fittingly enough — is a fever dream that captures the intersection of fantasy, desire, longing and loss. 

Along with the release of her solo debut, the acclaimed French-born, British-based singer/songwriter, musician and actress will be releasing her first book, a collection of erotic short stories paired with photography from her longtime collaborator and bandmate Johnny Hostile. Slated for a June 11, 2020 release through White Rabbit, Crimes Against Love Manifesto (C.A.L.M.) will help to establish Beth and Hostile as two of the most provocative and forward-thinking voices in contemporary fiction and erotic art. 

New Audio: Makaya McCraven Re-Interprets and Re-Imagines Gil Scott-Heron’s Last Album

Gil Scott-Heron was a Chicago-born, New York-based poet, author, spoken word artist, singer/songwriter and musician, best known for his critically applauded and influential spoken word work in the ’70s and ’80s, which fused elements of jazz, blues and soul paired with lyrics that focused on race, poverty and other sociopolitical concerns. Much ink has been spilled on how Scott-Heron’s Pieces of a Man, which features his most famous, most well-known piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” and Winter in America have influenced hip-hop and neo-soul.

In the last decade of  his life, Scott-Heron battled drug addiction and had several stints in prison;  however, he still managed to be a remarkably prolific artist, recording, writing and touring when he was able. Interestingly, the Chicago-born, New York-based poet, author, spoken word artist, singer/songwriter and musician’s last album, Richard Russell-produced  I’m New Here was first conceptualized in 2005 and was recorded in a series of recording sessions that started in January 2008. Released in 2010, the critically applauded I’m New Here was Scott-Heron’s first album in 13 years. Arguably, one of the most personal albums of his lengthy and influential career, I’m New Here featured introspective and confessional lyrics touching upon and expressing themes of regret, reconciliation, redemption, pride, dignity, defiance and acceptance paired with sparse arrangements and a minimalist production.

During the last year of his life, the influential, Chicago-born, New York-based poet, author, spoken word artist, singer/songwriter and musician finished work on a memoir and returned to the studio with Richard Russell to record stripped down versions of some of his best known material. Both the memoir and the material, which was released as Nothing New was released posthumously on what would have been Scott-Heron’s 65th birthday.

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. Interestingly, 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.  Slated for release this Friday through XL Recordings, We’re New Again marks the second full-length interpretation of the album, following Jamie xx’s remix, 2011’s We’re New Here. (Coincidentally, We’re New Again will be released exactly a decade to the day of the original’s release.)

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.  McCraven’s re-imagining of the material attempts to reconnect  the legendary and deeply influential artist with his birthplace and hometown, as well as a lineage of jazz and blues that perfectly compliments Scott-Heron’s imitable voice. 

Clocking in at about 74 seconds, I’m New Here album track “Where Did The Night Go” is a hauntingly sparse and uneasy track in which Scott-Heron’s grizzled baritone recites half-sung, half-spoken observations on insomnia, loneliness, desperation and writer’s block. Last month, I wrote about We’re New Again’s first single, “Where Did The Night Go” found McCraven pairing Scott-Heron’s voice with a sample from Stephen McCraven Quartet’s “Silhouette of Eric,” gorgeous, fluttering flute and thumping boom-bap meets bop jazz-like drumming.  McCraven’s take on the song creates a warmer vibe than the original while giving it a deceptively anachronistic sound, as though it could have been recorded during the Pieces of a Man or Winter in America sessions. 

I’m New Here’s album title track “I’m New Here” is a folksy-leaning track in which Scott-Heron’s grizzled baritone is paired with a gorgeous and easy-going strummed guitar, which gives the song a contemplative, autumnal feel. Knowing that the legendary artist died a year after the release of I’m New Here gives the track an aching sense of mortality, just under the surface. McCraven’s re-imagining of the song gives the material a dreamy and ethereal air, as Scott-Heron’s voice is paired with a shimmering harp arpeggios, squiggling blasts of keys, some expressive guitar lines and boom-bap like drumming. But along with that it finds McCraven and company making a vital connection between hip-hop, jazz and poetry while pointing out Scott-Heron’s momentous influence. 

Born to an English father and Italian mother, the emerging Paris-born and-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and electronic music artist, Frank Woodbridge grew up in a passionate, musical household: at an early age, the Woodbridge family spent their evening listening to their vinyl record collection in front of their huge stereo. “My father loved The Kinks, The Beatles, The Bee Gees and Al Jarreau. My mother introduced me to Stan Getz, Carole King and the romantic refrains of the crooners that reminded her of her childhood,” Woodbridge recalls fondly in press notes. “From the age of ten, I was already deep into The Cure, Depeche Mode, U2. My teenage neighbor had decided to perfect my musical education. And then, Bernard Lenoir on Inter, the many weekends in London . . . I was an indie kid, that was my life.”

After spending many years in rock and electro pop groups as a singer/songwriter and self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Woodbridge has spent the past few years focusing on composing and composition for films, the web, TV games, sound design for events and stage music for theater. Currently, the French composer, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and electronic music producer works with Andre Manoukian on his daily chronicle for the Daphne Burki-hosted TV show,. Je T’aime, ETC — and he wrote a comic book Inversion, which follows its composer protagonist.

Centered around layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, Woodbridge’s latest single, the cinematic “Lola dans le bus” recalls JOVM  mainstays Uppermost and M83— but with a dreamy yet melancholy air. Woodbridge explains that the track is an electronic track he composed to drive or daydream along with. He adds that the song is  about running into an ex-girlfriend he lost contact with: he saw her on a bus and waved at her but she didn’t see him. So as a result the song has the sensibility of a missed connection that you’ll never get back — and of unfinished business.

New Audio: Emerging French Producer Dantec Releases a Trance-Inducing New Single

Mathieu Dantec is a rising Paris-based electronic music artist and producer, who initially developed a reputation across his hometown’s music scene as a sound guy, who has owned his own studio for the past decade. Interestingly, a few years ago, Dantec decided that it was time to finally step out from behind these scenes to pursue a long-held dream of pursuing his own music career. And in October 2018, the rising French electronic music artist and produce released his debut EP under the moniker Dantec, which introduced the listener to his sound, which draws from a variety of his different influences, including heavy rock, 60s-70s rock, world music, reggae, classical music, jazz, techno, trip hop and others. 

Dantec’s sophomore EP will further cement his growing reputation for crafting thoughtful, genre-defying music. The EP’s first and latest single is the shimmering and brooding, Portishead-like “Silence.” Centered around thumping and stuttering beats, looped brass samples, a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitars, DJ scratching and chopped and distorted vocal samples, the trance-inducing track as the French producer and artist explains is an example of some “simple loop-based construction:” the main brass sample was taken from a old take from a recording session at one of his first studios. The musicians were indiscipline and he had to repeatedly shout “Silence!” during the session.  

“I don’t remember how I got to loop this piece of sound, not on purpose I guess,” Dantec adds. “I first gave it a beat and bassline, and a good friend composed for fun the “trip hop” inspired guitar lead. The dark part imposed itself but was just an idea for years. Later when I had become a studio owner I asked professional rock performers to play on the track, and the original idea finally revealed! [The] last element I’ve added was the trancey-acid 303 in the heavy part: I had my serious mix of influences but honestly I’ve never considered this track (and so many others i plan to release) as ‘serious.’ It’s just for fun . . .” 

New Video: Introducing the Motorik Groove Driven Psych Rock of Paris’ MAGON

MAGON is an Israeli-born, Paris-based psych rock singer/songwriter and producer. His latest album Out in the Dark was released last October through December Square/Differ-Ant Records. And with the release of the album’s first single “The Streets,” the Israeli-born, Paris-based artist quickly established a unique sound, which he has described as urban rock on psychedelics. 

Out in the Dark’s latest single is the decidedly cocaine fueled, glam rock-like “My Reflection.” Centered around a chugging motorik groove, angular and slashing guitars and MAGON’s ironically detached vocals, “My Reflection” may remind some listeners of The Strokes — but with an unvarnished sense post-modern self-awareness. “‘My Reflection’ is one of the most introspective songs on the album,” MAGON wrote to me in an email. “It resumes my life up and evokes my life philosophy. it’s also one o the rare songs for which I wrote the lyrics fully before composing it.” 

Shot on a grainy VHS-like film, the video which is set in a rainy European town, follows a beautiful woman as she vamps, runs, smokes and generally pisses away her time. It’s purposefully DIY — but while possessing a mischievous sense of humor: it evokes what bored, self-aware and yet cool young people do all over the world. “I shot the video one day in December in Bucharest with my girlfriend Alexa and her sister Yvonne, who are natives of the city,” MAGON explains in an email. “We used an old DV camera that my bassist Gauthier gave me, which has a great vintage look, and in post production, we really had fun grading (mainly to b&w) editing and superimposing the footage. Yvonne, who is 17 was really happy with the final result, although she was quite worried it would turn out to be shit. I would like to keep on making videos with Alexa because she’s super talented and intuitive with visual arts.” 

Kouny Mestre is an emerging Paris-based singer/songwriter, recording engineer, producer and electronic music artist, best known as Kouny. His latest single,  “No Matter What They Think” is a hook-driven and infectious, radio friendly club banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering beats and Phoebe’s ethereal yet sultry vocals, while the French singer/songwriter, recording engineer, producer and electronic music contributes the song’s hook and some brief harmonies.

Sonically, the French singer/songwriter, recording engineer, producer and electronic music artist’s latest single manages to recall 90s house — and unsurprisingly, as a result, the song features an upbeat and uplifting message of accepting oneself, no matter what anyone says or does. “We live in a society where people often adapt what they do, what they think or who they are to be loved by others and to fit into society,” Mestre explained to me in an email. “The song is all about accepting yourself and enjoying the moment, no matter what people think, a simple but genuine way to share the message.”

 

 

New Video: Genre-Defying French Artist MHUD Releases a Bloody Commentary on Violence and Toxic Masculinity

Initially beginning his creative career as a painter, the mysterious Strasbourg-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer MHUD got into music as a creative outlet relatively recently. And in short period of time, the Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist has developed a reputation for material that thematically focuses on man’s spiritual, emotional and intellectual split from himself — paired with a sound that’s genre defying. 

The mysterious Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist’s full-length debut is slated for a March 2020 release, and the album’s latest single “Cheval de Bataille” is a slickly produced track that possesses elements of trip hop, electroclash, electro pop and arena rock as its centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, buzzing, distortion pedal-fueled guitar lines, a motorik-like groove, expressive blasts of horn and arpeggiated synths. Sonically speaking, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me a bit of synthesis of fellow countrymen Black Strobe, Dystopico-era Kriget, Third-era Portishead, Evil Heat-era Primal Scream and The Deltahorse.  

Produced by David Garnacho and Nicolas Bouf, the recently released video for “Cheval de Bataille” follows the violent fantasies of a nerdy and relentlessly bullied office drone, who gets his revenge at a team-building paintball game. In the face of psychological violence in relation to economic and societal pressures, some people feel as though the only response they have is to respond with physical violence, the Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist says of the video treatment. The directors and the artist went with a hyper realistic take on violence — so that the impact it has on people can’t be trivialized or glorified. But on another level. it points out how toxic masculinity can lead to increasing amounts of brutal and senseless violence. 

Flora Hibberd is a rapidly rising London-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter — and with the release of “The Absentee” and “In Violence” off her recently released J.C. Wright–produced debut EP, The Absentee, the London-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter, who cites Nick Cave, Joan Baez and Jacques Brel among others, has already had her early work described as “intelligent and measured . . ” and her songs “deeply rooted in the timeless lyricism of Dylan and Cohen.”

Interestingly, as Hibberd says in press notes. “‘The songs of this EP emerged over months and years, and were refined in bars, apartments and on the streets. ‘The Absentee’ was written fifty metres below the English Channel, three years ago. ‘In Violence’ was written in 2017 in the garden of the Musée Rodin. Their influences are too many to name; random encounters with poetry, art, music and language in all its forms have bled into my writing in ways of which I am often unaware. They are about real people and real events. But they are also about impossible people, and impossible events. My hope is that they find you here, on the blurred edge between reality and dreams, in the half-awake place where the familiar merges with the unknown.”

“As Long as There Is Night,” the EP’s latest single is a gorgeous song centered around a spectral arrangement of shimmering and soaring strings, strummed acoustic guitar and Hibberd’s mesmerizing vocals. And while clearly drawing from a timeless folk tradition, “As Long as There Is Night” manages to simultaneously evoke a lingering and bittersweet fever dream and an aching longing for those things, places you can never get back.