Rapper Nick Nittoli (whom despite the name… may or may not actually be Italian) has a new release out, called Gimme Da Money. It is a fairly straightforward and pointed song. Frequently repeating the title mantra, Nittoli maintains a laser-like focus on what it is he’s after, throughout the song. He wants money. The song gets a deeper truth in that really money is what matters, and too often people are willing to accept flash and style as a substance for something they actually need. Nittoli won’t accept this con. He flat out states that he wants money, and isn’t interested in any BS. He’s also also a pretty solid rapper with a good sense of timing, and the song itself is quite catchy. The repetition works here, and I found myself humming this tune a few hours after listening to it. It would actually make a great subliminal motivational recording for aspiring entrepreneurs. Just pop this bad boy in the tape deck when you go to sleep and wake up the next morning ready to secure those bills
Hip hop artist “K Tuck’s” unmistakably southern background clearly plays a large role in his musical endeavors. His latest track, Larry Bird Pt 2, makes good use of K Tuck’s southern drawl and laid back delivery, creating a larger than life persona that’s almost instantly likable. Like most good rappers, he mixes casual seriousness with unexpected humor, peppered with pop culture references (ie Mr. Miyagi, Rocky etc.) He even takes a moment to dish about his own underwear. The musical backing for this song is incredibly chill, almost hypnotic. It almost reminds me of the darker music from 70′s Burt Reynolds action movies like Gator and White Lightning. True to the actual content of both the track and the video, Larry Bird Pt 2 is a kick back song, ideal for sitting in a backyard drinking 40s with your bros. Aside from being a mischievously clever poet with a knack for catchy pop lines, K Tuck has a decent stage presence and a charisma about him. You get the sense that this dude is laid back, low drama and throws a good party.
Set to appear on their upcoming EP titled Somewhere in Between,Wrote You a Song is a recently released single from Netherlands based band, “The Limiters.” The sound falls somewhere between alternative and adult contemporary rock. Had I listened to this song without knowing where the band is from I would have never assumed they were from the Netherlands. It could easily pass for American rock ‘n’ roll. Frontman Leslie Warendorff has the kind of vocals that were made for this style of music. His voice has a subtly refined ruggedness to it which combines with some exceptional singing ability to create a warm and gritty rock sound. Wrote You a Song is ultimately not boxed in by genre and will appeal to a wide range of listeners. It features high level performance and production quality while retaining the artistic credibility of an indie song.
In what amounts to a highly creative musical interpretation, musicians Stephan Weber and Oliver Soerup have produced their own derivative adaptation / homage to the famous Led Zeppelin song, Kashmir.This acoustic epic, titled Short Trip To Kashmir certainly does the original song justice. One area I would immediately give credit to is Stephan Weber for the vocals. It’s not easy to recognizably emulate the voice of Robert Plant, one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time. Weber’s performance isn’t perfect, but it’s damned good, and he performs at a high enough level for the song to be effective in its purpose.
The acoustic guitars and other instrumentals (bass, percussion, bagpipe-like keyboards) are all phenomenal, played with delicate precision while retaining a gritty, authentic sound with minimal effects and analog-like production values. In fact, tonally and largely due to the instrumentation used, I would venture to say that this version captures slightly more of the Arabic / Middle Eastern / Indo-Pakistani musical vibe (which influenced the original song) than the original song itself did.
Also worth noting is that Short Trip To Kashmir is also accompanied by a lengthy animated video. In a sense, it could almost be classified as a short film. The quirky and well done animation helps give the track a contemporary flavor making the music accessible to wider audiences. It also adds a visual component of fun and adventure to the music, giving the viewer a glimpse at the illuminating spirit of living life, while at the same time the musicians reveal a lighter side and remind us that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
All in all, Short Trip To Kashmir is an impressive endeavor. I could actually see this playing in some film festivals, if the Weber and Soerup don’t run into any copyright snags. While derivative in nature, there’s enough depth and substance here to qualify this as a work of art in its own right.
Fresh new single, hot off the presses today is I Can’t by Angelle. It’s bright and upbeat R&B pop song. The backbeat has a colorful, candy-like charm to it, and Angelle really can carry a tune. Her powerful and dynamic vocals quality as an instrument in and of themselves. I Can’t is essentially a love song, where Angelle broadcasts to the world how amazing her experience with this particular romantic interest is. She sings with passion and the recording is crystal clear. There’s no autotune here or processing tricks, just a good clean sound production that showcases Angelle’s talent in its organic and lovely form.
Finally something useful for a change. Samplified, a music production company produces sample packs (loops, sounds, etc) to assist musicians in making music. Their latest sample pack, Lo-Fi Hip-Hop & Drum Kit Pack ‘Lost Sessions’ (Production from legendary lofi producer ‘Fat Jon’ and sound engineer/designer ‘Meeke’) delivers pretty much exactly what the name suggests. It features some choice analog sounding, deep cuts complete with subtly crackling tape hiss and all the goodies you want in Lo-Fi samples. While this pack is advertised primarily for hip hop, upon listening to it the pack seemed to me to have plenty of genre crossover appeal. The surreal, often eerie, synth driven ambiance of many of these samples and loops would be suitable for a wide Variety of EDM and vaporwave-like projects. Regardless of what you plan to use them for, buying one of these packs can save you a lot of time you’d otherwise be spending poking around google and youtube collecting weird snippets of random stuff.
Time is a artfully complex new reggae/dance track from DeepJahi. The word “time” is actually an appropriate title for this song as DeepJahi showcases an incredible knack for musical timing. He delivers the lyrics with such precision (within a complex framwework) that one is immediately impressed. It helps that he combines this skill with actual singing ability as well. His voice is all around easy on the ears. Time manages to blend elements of both reggae and synth to creating a satisfying ambiance. The production on this track is excellent. From an audiophile perspective, sonically it’s one of the best produced reggae tracks I’ve ever heard. This song is smooth and crisp all the way around.
Roc Kartel’s new jam, Crazy Moniqua is intriguing in that it is a hip hop song but contains subtle elements of other genres like synth and even rock. One can almost imagine the background music being combined with different vocals for a completely different style of music. Roc does this song justice though with his laid back yet charismatic delivery and what appears to be a genuine reverence for the subject matter (Moniqua.) It’s just hip hop enough have cred with those audiences but still catchy and “pop” enough to appeal to normies. The video for this song is simple but very well done and professional. Rather than waste time on expensive exotic sets, Roc Kartel creates a character driven narrative which engages the viewer/listener. Nothing distracts us from Moniqua, even when we are focused on Roc, he always brings our attention back to her. It’s a pretty solid single from an up and coming artist, who’s probably one or two lucky breaks from a hit song.
New York Soull is the latest album from an artist, “Indie Soull” (real name Mutch Katsonga.) It features a number of NYC live performances as well as some recording sessions. The soulful acoustic minimalism combined with the organic nature of these recordings gives the album a very intimate feel, as though you’re listening to someone performing right in your living room. I mean that in a good way, since there’s nothing amateur about this music. It has the mark of a veteran, well-traveled performer whose paid his dues playing the coffee house circuit, and can pick up and play at the drop of a hat. Some songs like Glow have an earthy, 60′s folk vibe, and Indie Soull is actually a pretty decent vocalist. My favorite song on this album has to be the acoustic driven Sunshine and Storms, which is an absolute masterpiece.
Dario Tartagni’s Music Inspired By the Lord of the Rings is just that and more. Taragni, a composer from Rome has put together an entire album of symphonic music inspired by the Lord of the Rings story / franchise. Some of the tracks even feature voiceover narration. What’s incredible about this is just how amazing it is. This is not some hobbyist attempt at musical fanfiction. The quality of these recordings and the beautiful complexity of the compositions are of such a high caliber that they rival the music of the actual mega-budget film itself. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing a version of the movie which replaced the original soundtrack with Tartagni’s music. Putting this together had to have been a real commitment and labor of passion. Epic doesn’t even begin to describe it. I would recommend this album not just to fans of Lord of the Rings but to anyone who appreciates symphonic music.