Band of the Hawk is back with another impressive jam and great example of collaboration done effectively. Dunno Wut To Believe In is a politically charged song which deals loosely with the current political climate and some of the hot button social issues of our time that never quite seem to go away. Setting aside the song’s message, these are all very skilled rappers. There are multiple artists affiliated with this song, so it’s tough to tell who’s who to give proper shoutouts and recognition, but what’s interesting is that they each have distinctive delivery styles, and even the tone of voice is substantially different…which adds something to the song. My favorite section is probably the middle one which features lyrics like Livin’ in the screenshot culture, snakes and vultures. The rapper in this segment is particularly crisp in his timing and diction. These guys all work well together though, and each adds a component to the track giving it another dimension.
Singer-Songwriter Nina Söderquist has released a new ballad. It’s performed as a duet featuring Nina and fellow singer Björn Skifs. As you may be able to ascertain from the title, it’s a song about a couple breaking up, with the mistakes having made by each partner being too much for the relationship to overcome, and it’s time to call it quits or “see it through” (to its conclusion I imagine.) One great thing about this song, is that these are two very talented, professional singers. This type of music is not easy to perform unless you really know what you’re doing. You just can’t fake your way through these kinds of vocals, the way one can with other styles of music. The pacing of the song is mellow but not depressing (even with the song’s bleak theme.) This track reminds me of the great light rock classic duets of the 70′s and 80′s. Nina and Björn have done an excellent job with this.
Orange County based artist Luke Fox has a new album that drops today, January 9th, 2018. When I say album, I do mean full album, as The Art of Sound contains over 25 tracks. Are all of these on the final release I wonder? If so then score. He doesn’t cut any corners on quality either, with each jam having a comprehensive and mostly professional sound.
One pattern that emerges is the artist seems to focus on a number of recurring emotional themes in his songs. Loneliness, romance and dreams feature prominently in the lyrical content. It is tough to categorize this music as The Art of Sound doesn’t quite fit neatly into any one genre. It has elements of indie, piano driven coffeehouse music. The tone, pacing and overall ambiance seem to gravitate in that direction. The vocals however have a pop, or even lite hip hop quality to them, both in delivery style and effects selection. I couldn’t help but think that with different backing track instrumentation, this could be marketed as a completely different style of music. This is what makes Fox’s album interesting. He really does have a unique, recognizably distinctive sound.
Since there are so many tracks on this album, it seems appropriate that I should talk about some of them individually. My favorite song on this release is Spell, which sports a haunting, minimalistic melody and memorable hooks. It also has one of the best vocal performances. Not a Regular Guy is one of the catchier songs. It’s in the form of a peppy and fun, singsong format, almost like an updated, contemporary incarnation of 70′s pop sing along classics like those of The Partridge Family or The First Class. It may be a stretch, but it does reach. Rhythm Rhyme is a song you can dance to, despite it’s relatively measured pacing (these songs are all fairly mellow.) It has a bouncy feel to it, enough to play at a dance club in between EDM bpm blitzkriegs.
Ultimately, I have to say that The Art of Sound lives up to its ambitious title. Luke Fox provides an epic experience. There is just an incredible amount of musical content for one to sift though here. I can’t help but be astonished at the amount of work that must have gone into this project. It would be impressive enough for this reason alone, but the artistry itself is solid, too.
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Crooner Steven Chera’s new album, The Classic Standards, features him performing classic songs from the early part of the 20th century. Inspired by Sinatra, Martin and the rest, Chera keeps the spirit of the Rat Pack alive. One can almost wonder if he is being channeled by Old Blue Eyes himself. Both musically and aesthetically he successfully captures the style and ambiance of this era with these songs. He does not merely mimic or emulate these legendary artists though, but rather he incorporates his own personality into the tracks, giving them a bit of personal flair. The result is that the album does not come off as overly derivative. This is a high quality production by an artist who has clearly spent quite a bit of time and effort in mastering this genre.
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Multi-talented entertainment personality, Keldamuzik (AKA Diva,) thrives as a recording artist, actress, TV Show Host and producer. Her music is animated and exuberant. It combines her lively personality with some pretty catchy beats. One of my favorite jams of hers is That’s Why which has a musical backing track that’s reminiscent of video game “chip tune” music but which features Keldamuzik’s epic lyrics such as:
“up top, I’m blessed with a c cup, down there I keep a lil’ peach fuzz”
These are enhanced by her delivery and “matter of fact” tone. It should be said also, that Keldamuzik isn’t all attitude. She’s also a decent singer and her single Queen For A Night showcases her vocal abilities and reveals a side of tender sincerity. Keldamuzik comes across as an ambitious and more than capable performer.
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Miami based artist Artdayn new single “Home Movie” combines a wide range of genres to produce a unique sound. Artdayn is well known for being a “singing Uber driver” and demonstrates his versatility on this track. There are elements of hip hop, pop, rock, R&B and even EDM here. He’s also a genuinely good singer, who doesn’t rely on a lot of sound manipulation or processing. One gets the sense that he could go full acapella, and it would still be worth listening to. Home Movie deals with themes of lust, being high and sexuality. On his website, he declares he “loves women,” and this song makes no secret of that. This guy has a lot of vocal talent, and it will be interesting to see how his music progresses.
Gerard Edery’s descriptively titled double-album, Best of Gerard Edery is noteworthy in it’s versatility. Like a musical chameleon he manages to impressively switch back and forth from a wide variety of ethnic folk styles, seemingly at will. He demonstrates a mastery of these various styles rather than coming off as someone with merely a “jack of all trades” level of competency. What’s remarkable is how authentically he is able to incorporate folk sounds from throughout Europe and the Middle East. Some songs have a distinctly Arabic vibe, while others like Los Ejes provide a Spanish ambiance. There is a certain blend to many of these tracks where they transcend boundaries to form a Pan-European / Middle Eastern sound. Music is one of the few areas where people are able to set aside differences and discover mutual appreciation. Gerard Edery achieves this with his compilation, and the result is an eclectic masterpiece. The pacing on these songs is very relaxed and tempered, and much of this music has a meditative quality, almost New Age at times. I would certainly recommend this music to anyone who appreciates exotic and esoteric folk music, performed at a very high skill level and professionally produced.
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Boomerang is a new album from Itamar Borochov, a world renowned jazz trumpet player. The listener will immediate recognize aura of professionality that is apparent immediately with the poignant first track, Tangerines. The sound is incredibly smooth and soft while maintaining a lively pulse. The pacing is more fevered and animated in later pieces like Jaffa Tune. Part of what Itamar celebrates in his music is the eclectic blend of different cultural influences and fashions which give take a little bit of the best of everything. The tracks are a musical representation and culmination of his experiences and absorptions. The result of this is an incredibly radiant recording, which is excellent at all levels of production and performance. Usually I can find something in a musical release to criticize, but every composition on Boomerang is top tier for this genre of music, in which there is little margin for error. These songs are meticulously constructed and performed with style.
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“Kickin’ Shit”(ft. CityBoyNarley and Produced by AdamOnTheTrack) is the opening track off CityBoySizzle’s EP, Just a City Boy. It’s a very creative and esoteric jam that begins as a kind of sample collage and then slowly transforms into a more straightforward hip hop song. The backing beat has a hypnotic chime to it. CityBoySizzle has a great sense of timing, and the interplay with the backing vocals is well done, giving the song another dimension of complexity. “Kickin Shit” is laid back, mellow and pleasant to listen to. It still has enough of a kick that you can dance to it.
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