Into the Multiverse (The Subsequel Mixes) is a new album from South Lond-based artist, Ultra_eko. This epic musical undertaking blends elements of hip hop with spoken word poetry, dance and a plethora of other genres. The style is deeply meditative, and Ultra_eko has a natural storytelling ability as he explores the realms of the multiverse with the appreciative listener. Ultra_eko has a crisp flow and maintains a commanding vocal presence throughout. His voice really holds your attention.
The backing music on this album is sleek and spectacular. It often has a retro-futuristic feel, invoking synthwave energy and vaporwave aesthetics. If you removed the rapping, many of the beats wouldn’t seem out of place in a high energy, 1980s workout video. Yeah, this is good stuff all right. The mix is clean and polished, boasting a professional sound and audio clarity that would impress even the most discriminating stereophiles.
Ultra_eko’s lyrics are rich and substantive. He combines deep philosophical questions about the cosmos with relatable day to day experiences, creating a vibe that’s intellectually far out but still relatable to the average person. The songs are dynamic and fluid, frequently changing and evolving in style, tone or tempo. Some tracks such as Pingu are laid back and reflective in nature, while other songs like Day Tripper are much more assertive in their intensity (particularly in the vocal delivery.) Surprisingly, Ultra_eko doesn’t just rap but also actually sings on a number of these jams. A good example would be Keep Busy, where he briefly ventures into indie synthpop and darkwave territory.
Into the Multiverse (The Subsequel Mixes) is a comprehensive release, both musically and philosophically. Clearly a lot of work must have gone into the creation of this deliciously complex project, and it paid off. From an creative/artistic standpoint, this is already one of the best hip hop albums of 2021. Ultra_eko comes through on the performance side as well.
Her Song is the debut single from NYC-based (but originally born in Thailand) singer/songwriter Arya Rita. Innovative and darkly ambient, this track is cutting edge indie pop at its finest. The synth-driven backing music is entrancingly hypnotic, while a robust beat keeps the action hopping. Arya Rita’s vocals are passionate and haunting. She’s a solid singer. Her voice projects well and she combines technical skill with an ability to convey genuine emotion. The recording makes effective use of harmonies and vocal layering to maximize the melodic impact. This stylish, substantive song constitutes an impressive debut. Stay tuned for another upcoming release from this artist in the near future.
Dopesmokers of the World Unite and Take Over is a new single from Indiana-based singer-songwriter, Blind Uncle Harry. This indie folk rock anthem contains elements of blues and Americana, as the artist playfully lays out his case for what he wants to happen. The backing vocals of the crowd give the song an “audience participation” vibe. One gets the sense this jam is a real hit at parties. Blind Uncle Harry’s witty lyrics and mellow delivery are those of a true hippie out of time. He really brings a lot of personality to the table.
The musical style is like if you were to blend 1880′s country with 1960′s folk, 1990s lofi and add contemporary social flair. Blind Uncle Harry does a nice job of balancing humor and fun with his underlying political message, which is that the world would be a much better place if everyone could learn to chill out and unite (at least over this one specific issue).
Pathway, Ultra is a new album from Dallas-based rapper Avery Sennin. The production quality is pristine and professional. Avery has a distinctive style. Unique rhythmic cadences and complex structure give songs like Back In My Day a creative edge. The beats on this jam are exotic, avant garde and maybe even slightly futuristic. Some portions are musically minimalist, but the action is punchy and Avery maintains a consistent flow and keeps the focus where it should be.
Another notable track is 222. The digits “222″ are a reference to angel numbers that relate to balance and harmony in one’s life. his spiritually oriented song features a beautiful, ambient backing. Before settling into a robust beat, the dreamlike intro is downright mesmerizing. Musically, this is my favorite track on the album. A cool thing about Avery’s rapping is that he can sing pretty well, too. Not only is his timing is on point (even at impressive speeds), but his actual voice is rather pleasant to listen to.
Due to the elaborate choreography, there’s a high degree of difficulty to making this music work, yet somehow he manages to pull it off. The audio clarity in the mix is excellent, allowing the listener to appreciate every bit of sparkling musicality. Pathway, Ultra is a very cerebral and reflective release, one which deals with some of life’s central questions in a personal and sonically satisfying way.
Stories & Feelings is a new EP from English-born artist, Jake Kelly. It’s a remastered version of his (also relatively recent) previous album of the same name. The sound on the opening track, This Should Be the End, is peppy and bright, blending energizing melodies with emotive vocals. In contrast, You Never Heard and Knocking are sentimental, acoustic jams. The songs have a flavorfully eclectic and carefree sound, perhaps owing to Kelly’s well traveled background. Even though he’s only in his early 20s, he’s already spent time living in England, Ireland, China, Vietnam, and Germany.
Jake Kelly puts a lot of passion into his vocal delivery. The musical side of the mixes is fairly minimalist, so his dynamic voice drives much of the action. Ultimately this is just a solid indie release, enhanced by the artist’s unique background, style and influences.
Nothing Ever Happens To Me is a new album from indie folk/rock outfit, Deep Rivers. The audio on these recordings is fantastic, as you can hear every delicate guitar detail and vocal expression. This is just a very intimate and emotionally satisfying release. It’s almost like you’re attending a personalized performance in someone’s living room. The title track is probably the best example of this. Other songs like Grave Digger Diaries combine a more intensely rocking sound with a quaint, haunting ambiance. There’s plenty of dreamy, wet reverb and creative effects that accentuate the sound. These guys are definitely professionals, as this album is meticulously constructed. Solid songwriting and execution, with just enough creativity to keep things stylish and interesting.
White Haze is a new single from Margaret Anne and the Rock It Man. Blending elements of roots, country, rock and blues, singer-songwriter Margaret Anne has really cultivated a unique style. This avant garde song transitions through multiple different genres throughout the song, almost as if they were moods or seasons. Ranging from an epic rock opera style intro to sentimental folk to peppy pop, the sections of White Haze take the listener on an ethereal musical journey. Production quality is smooth and offers excellent clarity. Margaret Anne has a stellar voice. She really projects well and seems to put everything she has into every note.
This release also contains a second track, Cabin Boy. This jam has a bluesy feel to it. Grooving guitar melodies and a lounge-like atmosphere make for a lively musical experience. Be sure and check out some of Margaret Anne’s other recordings, which are equally captivating and available on Spotify.
Existence is an album from Ohio-based musician, Brady Arnold. Brady, a prolific artist who began making music in 1992, has released a whopping 60(!) albums in total. Blending elements of indie pop/rock, industrial and goth, the songs are emotionally deep, rich with abstract messaging and curious metaphors. The ambiance of Existence is definitely on the darker side, as this concept album explores themes like death, denial, and regret.
Musically, the tracks are intense and melodic, with guitars driving much of the action. Meditative and ethereal, these recordings have a retro-futuristic quality, reminiscent of groups like Erasure but with more of a gritty edge. The mix has a metallic, industrial-like feel which balances nicely with Brady Arnold’s passionate, dynamic vocals. His performance is introspective, and the lyrics reflect intensely personal experiences. He can actually sing, too. It’s incredible that an individual can put out so much material and have it be of such high caliber. This guy is genuinely talented and Existence is brimming with artistic substance.
Wild Story (featuring Peter Parkway) is a new single from hip hop artist, Rich Po. Citing Jay Z as his greatest musical influence, Rich Po maintains a smooth flow and conversational delivery style. This latest track is punchy and action packed, making lyrical use of almost every moment of its 2 minute runtime. The minimalist beat is crisp and has just enough musical elements to keep the jam melodious. Ultimately though, this is a vocally driven song with an emphasis on narrative and (as the title suggests) storyline. Both of these performers can definitely rap, and they project with confidence.
Girls Just Want To Have Fun (feat. Rufus Wainwright) is a single from artist, Frally. The song is a re-imagined version of the iconic Cyndi Lauper classic from the 1980s. Frally apparently recorded this jam as an homage to Paris Hilton. What’s interesting about this track is that the pacing is more mellow, and the tone is more sentimental than the original, which was lively and upbeat.
In Frally’s version, the mood has a tragic, almost haunting vibe. The element of rebellion is still there, but it’s more emo. There’s more of an emphasis on the struggle and the toll of becoming your own person, rather than just partying and letting loose in a shopping mall. This is a great example of how the listener’s perception of a song can be completely changed if the presentation is altered, even when the melody and lyrics are the same. It’s worth mentioning also that Frally’s gives a solid vocal performance, and the recording itself is technically competent.