Set to release his sophomore album One of Many on Fat Beats, Eric Lau‘s journey has been one for the story books. Releasing his debut New Territories back in 2008, garnered much attention and led him to creating seminal productions with Dego, Guilty Simpson, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Lupe Fiasco, and Oddisee. He has grown into a unique producer who is unafraid of creating themes that force him to explore new sounds.
“Where To Go Now” featuring Tawiah (who has bloomed into an incredible artist over the years) is the first single from One of Many and really is this year’s summer soundtrack. The album has Lau call on his usual cohorts, including Rahel, Fatima, Olivier St. Louis, and Georgia Anne Muldrow, where he collaborates extensively with multi-instrumentalist, Kaidi Tatham (Bugz in the Attic) on the album.
Check out “Where to Go Now” below; One of Many is set to release 17th June.
“Where To Go Now” feat. Tawiah
I will be completely honest. I did not drink the Kool Aid and join the masses chanting Kenrick Lamar until January of this year. The bright and shining star at Aftermath, who decided the release date for good kid, m.A.A.d city should fall on October 22nd 2012, is genius! Know that Kendrick Lamar will clean up at all the award shows come 2014. Now with a hot video for single “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” arguably one of the hottest tracks on the album, Lamar is set to really dominate as the new West Coast rapper to make change. Continuing from the “Poetic Justice” premise, they attend the funeral of the young woman who got shot, with comedian/actor Mike Epps playing the alcoholic Pastor. Check it out below.
Carl Hudson is a session keyboardist and second signing to the UK based label Digisoul. We have heard his skills on music fronted by Jocelyn Brown, Jean Carne, Leon Ware, Omar, The Valentine Brothers and many sessions with Soulpersona on his debut release Soulcoaster, which was a smooth blend of progressive soul, rare grooves, jazz funk, hip hop, and disco infected beats. Zoology for Martians is a sophisticated collection of instrumentals that continue in the Digisoul vein. Created in a few days with the help of Digisoul musicians Nick Van Gelder (Drums/Percussion) Andy Tolman (Bass), Terry Lewis (Guitar), Neil Waters (Flugal Horn), and Bob Dowell (trombone), they blend sounds that you would expect from the likes of Herbie Hancock, Don Blackman, George Duke.
Zoology for Martians is available on Amazon for purchase.
The genesis of The Courtney John Project is a labour of love and an exploration of different musical forms. Future is the debut album from The Courtney John Project and features lead singer Courtney John, who is no stranger to the music industry – having won awards and topped reggae charts. And it should also be noted that both John and producer The Wizard are descendants of reggae royalty (The Wizard is the daughter of the great Beres Hammond and John is his nephew). With that kind of pedigree, it’s no wonder that they partnered with Steven “Lenky” Marsden, Grammy-winning producer who has worked with dancehall acts such as Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, and Lumidee.
The Courtney John Project subverts reggae music but at the same time preserves its core elements, where the trio incorporate electronic formations to create a new musical genre, that they describe as rootstronic.
Future is positioned as a reggae revival, reminding us of what it was, and what it can become, and from listening to this album, it can certainly become a movement. John‘s lovers rock vocals harken back to some of reggae’s great vocalists, such as Desmond Dekker, Alton Ellis, and of course his uncle Beres. The album exhibits music’s boundless universality, allowing three people to step right out of the box and into a new musical sphere.
With Future hitting the stores today, we were able to catch up with Courtney John to talk about The Project, his career thus far, and what’s in the future for the group. As you read the interview, you can listen to a couple of tracks embedded between questions.
Muphoric Sounds: How was The Courtney John Project born?
Courtney John: They were looking for a track to place in the Oliver Stone directed movie Savages. The Wizard and I, were working on a track, well actually the first single “Soul of A Man” and we called in Lenky to do some additional keyboard. The song wasn’t chosen, but while in the studio we realised there was a great energy; one that we had to capture more of. A new sound was being created. It was days later that The Wizard and myself decided to call this sound “Rootstronic”…the band was immediately formed.
MS: Will it be a one-off Project in style and sound?
Courtney John: No, I plan to keep the sound evolving and keep the doors to the Project open to have other musicians and artists be a part of The Courtney John Project creative process.
MS: Why did you call it “The Courtney John Project”?
Courtney John: I decided on the name “The Courtney John Project” because it represents what the process was like initially…I was experimenting with a new sound vocally and I invited these two talented musicians into the process and it seemed like we were working on a project.
MS: Your relationship with The Wizard is not only a musical one, but you are cousins! When did you decide to start making music together? How have you helped each other grow as artists?
Courtney John: Yes, we’re cousins. We started out writing songs together many years ago and it kinda segued into a mentorship vibe when she expressed that she wanted to produce. It’s a good working environment because Wiz brings all that is fresh and new and I bring the years of experience. She gives me the ability to always try to innovate and keep things on the cutting edge. I guide her through a lot business knowledge that she needs…writing techniques and artist development.
This is the first video (well actually, the second, if we count the teaser video shot in Copenhagen last summer) for the track “The Man.” Directed by Robin Brunson of Hextatic, who is known for creating trippy audiovisuals. What’s so lovely to watch about this video is how it blends between black and white to colour at the poignant points of the song, symbolising freedom, happiness and joy as Omar takes a walk with his family, including his twin daughters at the seaside. We simply cannot wait to hear Omar‘s new album The Man in its entirety. In the meantime, the single, which features remixes from Shafiq Husayn and Maddslinki (Zed Bias), and a reworking of Omar’s first his, “There’s Nothing Like This” featuring legendary bassist, Pino Palladino is available on iTunes.
The Man hits stores May 26th.
There is something incredibly rich within the productions of the 2000 Black crew (Tatham, Mensah, Lord & Ranks). The Broken Beat was sound born in the UK, where a small collective of music loving men would meet and make music, becoming an underground de facto, where their musicianship exceeds those in the commercial realm. Kaidi Tatham, a member of the now defunct Broken Beat group of producers, Bugz in the Attic, started his musical endeavors playing flute at the mere age of nine and played with the National Children’s Wind Orchestra in the West Midlands. Later, he moved to South London, studied music and found his passion in the piano. Listening to his musical arrangements there is a level of sophistication from percussion to chords and the use of the Moog keyboard is the staple. Tatham‘s style is a revival, and appreciation of various music forms fused into something quite incredible! If you don’t own Tatham‘s In Search of Hope, you need it in your life…now!
Tatham gave us a taste of Shokazulu back in 2011 with the funky “Part 4” and we waited with baited breath for the completed album. Shokazulu delivers on exponential levels. Check out a couple of the tracks below, then head over to 2000Black to support good music; it is worth every penny!
“Hips Don’t Fail Me Now”
This was definitely a welcomed surprise! B. Eure III has been on the circuit for a few years now, releasing music also under the name of Bobby Blunt and projects such as Petey’s Soapbox, the collaborative project with Vex on Huey Neutron, and last year with Kaleidoscope. The Virginia native now hits us with A Mind’s Canvas, his most sensitive release to date, which is a exploration of life, love and the struggle to balance it all. A Mind’s Canvas highlights Eure III vocal ability, which puts one in the mind of UK singer Omar and is his most musically adventurous project to-date, perhaps because he taps into his inner feelings, allowing him explore new sounds. Check out “The Verge” and “Crash” then head over to his Bandcamp to buy a copy (you can name your own price too!)
Having been compared to the likes of David Bowie due to her futuristic brand of soul, Janelle Monáe returns after the smashing success of The ArchAndroid and is well positioned to arrest the world. “Q.U.E.E.N,” the first single from the forthcoming album The Electric Lady, features the new queen of the feature, Erykah Badu (seriously, Erykah’s collabos are racking up like Lil Wayne’s). Musically, “Q.U.E.E.N” has a serving of Prince poured over track, with the accented synthesizers, guitar riffs, later the horns. “Q.U.E.E.N.” represents past conversations between the two singers, and understandably, the content is far-reaching. Check it out below.
“Q.U.E.E.N.” is also available on iTunes for purchase.
It has certainly been some time since Kelis released any solo material. Some may not have even noticed that she did a little work with Calvin Harris and recently on Skream‘s “Copycat.” Now partnering with TV On the Radio‘s Dave Sitek on what sounds a little throwback-ish with its full horns, drum and bass arrangements, and an organ that takes us back to the 70s in tone and feel. Her new album Flesh Tone, will be one of the two albums she will release on Dave Sitek‘s new label Federal Prism. Kelis may be on to something solid. Check out “Call On Me” below.
The first we heard of UK singer Szjerdene (pronounced JhurDEEN) was with Dutch singer Mar, on a duet for his Mar Variations on a track called “Avril 14th,” a collaboration that probably would not have happened if Szjedene hadn’t reached out to Robin Hannibal (Quadron) and started to collaborate. Since then, she has been etching her name in stone, releasing her debut EP, Patchwork earlier this year, and began touring as the featured vocalist on Bonobo‘s North Borders tour last month. Now with the first visual installment for “Go,” directed by Hesdy Lonwijk in collaboration with Amsterdam’s Fonds voor de Kunst, Fat Fred’s Film company and dancers from the Het Nationale Ballet, they have created something truly breathtaking; check it out below.
The last time we made mention of the legendary rap group De La Soul, was when they partnered in 2009 with Nike+ Original Run with Are You In?, on a 44-minute continuous play featuring Raheem DeVaughn and DJ Flosstradamus. The Strong Island trio are now set to release their first album since 2004 with “Get Away” as the lead single, using a sample from the Wu-Tang Forever. It certainly is in the spirit of Wu-Tang, with that sinister, haunting sound that blew our minds back in the early 90s. Posdnuous and Dave can claim their stripes in being dope MCs and bark at the how commercial rap music cannot stand the test of time – as their music has and still continues to. Check out the “Get Away” featuring The Spirit of Wu below. The album You’re Welcome is set to release in the fall.
In my Eva Langoria voice, “This is my NEW favourite!” We have been eagerly waiting for new music from Thundercat and this one meets our expectations. He has pushed the envelope and upped his game in sophistication. “Heartbreaks & Setbacks” sounds unlike what he has released before. The vocals are a pure delight, giving the track a sensitivity as his signature bass and drums carry the song. The track has only been on Brainfeeder‘s Soundcloud for two days, and already amassed 55K plays (we attributed to 20 of those plays!).
With his sophomore album, Apocalypse scheduled to release in July 2013 on Brainfeeder, he holds a tighter reign on the production, where Flying Lotus sits in as executive producer. We are sure to experience another fusion of sounds which incorporate electronic and live instrumentation. Check out the stream below.
Thundercat – US Tour Dates
April 16 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex
April 21 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Ballroom *
April 23 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (Heaven Stage) *
April 24 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel *
April 25 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
April 26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
May 1 – New York, NY – Brooklyn Masonic Temple (Red Bull Music Academy)
May 5 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5 (Red Bull Music Academy) +
May 6 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5 (Red Bull Music Academy) +
May 12 – Boston, MA – Paradise *
May 13 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis *
May 15 – Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy *
May 16 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues Cleveland *
May 17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom *
May 18 – Chicago, IL @ Metro *
May 19 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *
May 22 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sodo *
May 23 – Vancouver, BC @ Vouge Theater *
May 24 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater *
May 25 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater *
* with Flying Lotus & Teebs
+ with Flying Lotus & Ultraísta
The Man is symbolical to Omar, in that it signifies his years in music and becoming a man during the entire process. And has he given us an unwavering journey! From singing in night clubs to gracing the world stage, being sort out by Stevie Wonder himself, to singing with the best in music like Erykah Badu, Angie Stone, Syreeta Wright, Common, and Carleen Anderson, and recently a recipient of an M.B.E. for his outstanding contribution to the UK music. Omar deserves all accolades because he is THE MAN!
The first single to whet our ears is the title track “The Man,” featuring all the elements we love about Omar — great musical arrangements, flute and horns, slapping bass, and chords, matched with his unique vocal style that’s like a warm embrace filled with beautiful roots and culture. The release comes with three reworkings by Shafiq Husayn (Sa Ra), Maddslinky (a.k.a. Zed Bias), and Scratch Professer with a hip hop flavour. Basically the single is for everyone. But the real gem is the remake of his first hit single “There’s Nothing Like This,” which perfectly features bassist Pino Palladino, as the original’s bass was the driving force of the track. It’s gorgeous! One of the other highlights to the album is Omar being reunited with Caron Wheeler (Soul II Soul), who sang background vocals on his debut record “Mr. Postman,” back in 1985 on “Treat You.”
Check out Muphoric Sounds Vanessa Warren’s interview with Omar on The Loop!
Surprised that we’re hearing of Hectic Zeniths now! Hectic Zeniths is a anagram of the German word Zeitschichten, which aptly means “layers of time,” which the creator, Adam Prince has taken on as his moniker. Moonlighting as a high school math teacher by day in Philadelphia, the Brooklyn, New York native released his debut self-entitled LP Hectic Zenith in January 2012, which was a sojourner of instrumentals fusing hip hop and electronic sounds, laden with piano. Now with his second release Type One Era on Buddha Tapes, Prince continues with exploring live instrumentation with vinyl samples, acoustic guitar, and more atmospheric sounds. The downtempo title track featuring Eric Lindley’s (Careful) infectious pitch-shifting vocals are like two lovers whispering in song in a call to respond. Rapper Sketch Lightly provides an alternative version to “Beau Geste” by being inspired by the world about him, particularly the beauty in sky. Spend a little time on Hectic Zeniths’s Bandcamp to get acquainted with his cinematic sounds; you’ll enjoy the ride.
Ask and you shall receive. Maylee Todd, Canadian singer has just dropped her second solo LP Escapology on Do Right Music. With the release of the “Hieroglyphics” single February 2012 led to remixes by Tall Black Guy and Kong & the Gang. Last December, Maylee dropped “Baby’s Got It” catching the attention of MeLo-X, Green Linez, and Martino for remixes, which will release next week. On Escapology, there is a sense of experience, experimentation, ambition, and relaxation. The two standout songs on the LP are, “I Can’t Stand It” with its beautiful strings and the echoing guitar on “I Tried.” Maylee and a cast of over 15 musicians rock with a unique vocal phrasing and a solid groove that gives each tune a flow that is uncommon in most love songs today. One of my favorite things about the record as a whole is its diversity in the mood, color, and tone of the songs chords. There are a lot of ideas thrown in there sonically from sweet harps, to lasers, trumpets, and a bluesy trombone. The only thing we can do now after supporting this latest effort is to see her live. Escapology is available for purchase on Maylee’s website. But before you head over there, check out “I Can’t Stand It” and “I Tried” below. Enjoy!