Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove is a journey through the life and eyes of virtuoso drummer, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the Philadelphian musician, co-founder of the legendary Roots crew, who are defined as ‘the last hip hop band on earth.’ He is the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and has grown to be a ubiquitous cultural tastemaker. What sets Mo’ Meta Blues apart from past memoirs is its dialogue through memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. Questlove‘s musical memories transport you back to your youth (if you’re Gen X’er) to relive your soundtrack, and to also be introduced to classics and rare sounds of the 70s and 80s with anecdotal stories to boot. Music lovers will relish in Questlove‘s insights on hip hop history, the music industry, and his lessons learned (triumphant and devastating), gaining an understanding of this talented musician who often sits voiceless behind the Roots‘ yet speaks loudly through rhythms.
Muphoric Sounds has ONE copy of Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove for giveaway. To enter, please read the instructions below.
HOW TO ENTER:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Mo Meta Blues” by Sunday, December 15, 2013 before 11:59pm EST for a random drawing. The winner will be notified by Tuesday, December 17, via email. The winner must respond by Wednesday, December 18th before 11:59pm to claim their prize. Failure to respond to the notification email by Wednesday, December 18th, the copy of Mo’ Meta Blues will to offered to another entrant.
(Please note: We dislike spam as much as you do; your contact information will never be sold nor rented, in compliance with US Spam Laws.) So get yourself in it, to win it, and share the word with your friends!
Julien Dyne, drummer, producer, and visual artist, hailing from New Zealand, set the goal in his musical journey to push the limits of beat based electronic music. After attending the renowned Red Bull Academy of Music seminar in Rome back in 2004, his life in music was forever changed. Having collaborated with international musicians Mizell Brothers, Om’mas Keith, Mark Pritchard, Steve Spacek, Andreya Triana, Theo Parrish, he released his solo EP Phantom Limo in 2007 and his debut album Pins & Digits in 2009 to rave reviews. His sophomore album, Glimpse saw collaborations with Mara TK from Electric Wire Hustle, and Park from Ladi6, where he stretched himself further by incorporating intricate beats laid against cool vocals. Now with his third album December, he continues with his futuristic soundscapes that are rooted in hip hop, and brings back Mara TK and Parks for songs. Check out a couple of tracks below, then head over to BBE for purchase.
“December” featuring Parks
“Dirtcrystal” featuring Mara TK
Every time I listen to John Graham, I am amazed by his killer delivery, rhymes, and content! In this first ever multi-platform digital experience, Ego Free Media Group go beyond the usual pedestrian download, and take us through an interactive piece using controversial Kanye West soundbytes in Proof of Life Offline. What is so incredible about having an interactive piece to this project is being given an inside view of what inspired each track with a visual and oratory aspect. With track such as “Solitary Confinement,” “Premature Infatuation,” “Gatekeepers,” “Generation Gap,” “Take What You Want,” all highlight issues that West has sort to explain or even fallen prey to due to his lack of finesse in delivery. In Proof of Life Offline, John Graham cleverly unveils the complexity surrounding Kanye West, shedding light on how the messenger is being shot down due to the “message” being lost in ego, while also reflecting how West‘s insights are highly applicable to Graham‘s life as an artist.
Unfortunately, Proof of Life Offline is only available from 10am-1pm TODAY (sorry guys, am a little late in posting this!), so get this unique and important album RIGHT NOW!!
A bit late on posting this, mainly because I’d been busy listening to it. Picking up from where he left of with the first Black Radio, Grammy winning jazz musician, Robert Glasper again, shows us that there are no limits to what jazz music is and can be. Though a bit more pedestrian than part 1, Black Radio 2 enlists more artists for the ride — Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton, Norah Jones, Lalah Hathaway, Brandi, Emeli Sandé, Marsha Ambrosius, Common, Lupe Fiasco and Kendrick Lamar. The idea of black radio is about freedom in music, marrying all genres and applying them to a jazz sensibility. The band, Experiment, which includes Derrick Hodge (bass), Mark Colenberg (drums), Casey Benjamin (saxophone and vocoder), and Glasper (piano and keys), place more emphasis on the actual songs than focusing on deep instrumentals, shown through the broad sample of artists. Big tracks include “I Stand Alone” featuring Common and Patrick Stump, “Perseverance” featuring Snoop Dogg and Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway‘s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Jesus Children,”which also features The Cosby Show‘s Malcolm Jamal Warner and Norah Jones‘ featured below on “Let It Ride,” which reminds me of Jody Watley‘s “Bed of Roses” with 4Hero. Check out a few of the tracks below.
“Let It Ride” featuring Norah Jones
“Jesus Children” featuring Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm Jamal Warner
And if you missed this video featuring the gorgeous and talented Jill Scott, check it out here.
We haven’t heard much from Daru Jones due to him being on the road with playing drums for both Jack White and Black Milk and being the go-to session musician for hip hop artist Talib Kweli, R&B crooner Jon B. and many other. But now with a break, he has joined forces with none other than family, his sister Rena. The Michigan natives released two tracks earlier this year, “Masterplan” and “Honey,” where the latter was produced by UK producer Marc Mac from 4Hero. The two have been making music together for quite some time, dating back to 2006, but #Honey is their first full length album, and as always Daru displays his affinity to strong slapping beats, while Rena offers a softness vocally to compliment each track. It’s a delight! Check out the lead single below, which is available on Daru‘s label Rusic Records, and also on iTunes and Amazon.
If you haven’t heard of Hiatus Kaiyote yet, you’ve been in a cave for the past year! Managing to catch them during their sensational show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn at the end of summer (see highlights from the show here), they left us with bated breath. What better validation can a group get from His Royal Badness Prince, where he recently tweeted their single ”Nakamarra” with the simple directive of “Don’t Worry….Just Click” for his followers to watch their video!
Now with a mini release Live in Revolt, the group re-fashion “Rainbow Rhodes/Nakamarra,” and “Sphynx Gate/The World It Softly Lulls” in a live recording and it is simply Muphoric! It brings to the forefront the depth to their compositions and how they translate their sounds live. Live in Revolt is an experience, a culmination of the new with the old, with elements that are evanescent and impressions that are lasting. It’s beautiful.
Additionally, Muphoric Sounds was able to get some questions to the band during their US tour and we are eternally grateful for their insights and dedication to their craft. What becomes apparent as you read their responses is their honesty and integrity to the art, and a true appreciation to how far and how fast they have come! We are enjoying their journey, and plan to continue on their sojourn.
Watch the video of Nai Palm (guitar, vocals), Paul Bender (bass, laptop and guitar), Perrin Moss, (percussion), and Simon Mavin (keys) performing Live in Revolt, which is also available for purchase on Amazon.
Q&A WITH HIATUS KAIYOTE
Muphoric Sounds: Where did you all get your start in music?
Perrin Moss: Well, when I was about 16, my cousin gave me my first records, which included DJ Swamp‘s never ending breaks. I started mixing these breaks with any record I could find in the house just getting a feel for mixing, which was probably the hardest way to start this adventure considering the turntables were belt driven. Eventually I got some direct dive turntables which made it a lot easier to mix and I stared making mix tapes, playing at parties and clubs when I was around 17-18-years-old. From then on, I began writing lyrics and making beats with friends. I formed a band and fronted that as an MC and kept the beat making on the go the whole time. The band eventually after 6 years together moved from the Blue Mountains (New South Wales) to Melbourne, Victoria, this is when the band broke up and I started drumming to expand on my production.
Paul Bender: Lots of gigs with various bands and studying.
Simon Mavin: Music and entertainment has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but prior to the meet with the Hiatus crew, I was heavily involved in the Melbourne music scene.
Muphoric Sounds: How did the meet come about?
Simon Mavin: We first played together in a share house that me and Perrin (and Bender later) were living in. The house was home to many different musicians in Melbourne and we setup a rehearsal studio there in an old shop front that got used a lot. Any hoo…the countless hours we spent in that room helped us to mold the sound we have today.
Muphoric Sounds: On your website, you speak of telepathy bringing you all together. How would you describe those connections?
Paul Bender: I think even though we have all grown up listening to a lot of different music to each other, there’s some kind of thread that connects our sound together. It sort of feels like our own musical language we are developing over time, stitched together by a myriad number of languages that have come before us. I think the central thing is the intention; there’s definitely a shared intention of the overall work we are trying to do together that means certain things just naturally occur and certain things unnecessary are discarded.
Muphoric Sounds: What is your process when creating music together? Do you work independently or come together to see how it all fits?
Simon Mavin: The process is different for each song. When Nai brings a tune in, she generally has an idea of the form and we all write our parts to the skeleton that is sketched out. We also jam ideas and flesh them out or work on things in the studio…or sit cross-legged in a holy forest and clap out our ideas…whatever works at that moment.
Muphoric Sounds: Is the poetry written beforehand, or does the music composition inspire the content for the songwriting?
Nai Palm: It goes both ways, there’s no formula. Inspiration can strike at any time; it is intangible.
Since her 2001 debut album How I Do, Res has steadily been collaborating and releasing music. Touring with Cee-Lo Green during the Gnarls Barkley world tour promoting their Grammy award winning album St. Elsewhere, exposed Res to a high level of creativity, leading her to write songs for her sophomore album Black Girls Rock! and releasing it independently. Later joining forces with longtime friend, Talib Kweli to form their group Idle Warship, the two toured across the US on a project that proved to be eclectic, stretching both artists to new heights. Being largely influence by rock music, and often being compared vocally to Stevie Nicks of the legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac, Res set forth to explore that sound. With the Refried Mac EP, Res reinterprets her favourite Fleetwood Mac songs, and partners with fellow Philadelphian producer and multi-instrumentalist Tom Spiker to reposition those classics, and adding Res‘ flavour of soul. Each track provides an intimacy that is raw, and whimsical. Check out the intimate video below for the track “Dreams” which features Res performing live. Refried Mac is available on iTunes for purchase.
Muphoric Sounds had the pleasure of video interviewing Res a few years back, check it out here, where she talks about her start in music, the making of her debut How I Do, Idle Warship, and being an independent artist.
The Low Post Music crew are a collective of beatmakers who set out with the challenge. With only $20 in hand, each producer was set with the task to spend it at a record store that neither of them have visited in the past, and from what was purchased, they each craft five beats. Twenty Duckettes is the completed challenge. Each producer creates these mellow tracks that have sophistication and subtle elements that make each instrumental an interesting journey.
The producers: Rob Viktum, based in Dallas is a DJ and producer, member of 9th Wonder‘s True School Corp, the Beat Fanatic crew, and the founder of the Beat Down Dallas, Dallas’ first long-standing producer showcase; M Slago, also based in Dallas began making beats for Kastle Bangout and GNB Productions; and Phraim, a South Side Chicago native, who released his debut Silver Lined in 2010 and his most recent Kasbah Moments. Check out tracks from each producer below, then head over to Bandcamp and name your price to purchase.
Love, tolerance, and morality are the elements that Ahmed “Genda“ Nyei describes as the core of his music. We, as a people, have lost sight of these values and Genda‘s primary focus is to remind us of whence we came and guide us back to a place of purity. Freedom music, not in a political sense, but in the sense of our own well-being—freedom to be our true authentic selves, by cutting away the bullshit. Follow My Footsteps is a journey of truth, with a realism in its storytelling that is hard not to empathize with the characters depicted, even when the reflection is on himself.
Born to Liberian/Sierra Leonean parents in Cairo, Egypt, Genda‘s father was a diplomat, causing his family to reside in many countries, and eventually settling in Germany. At the age of 14, he formed a band Moshadzz with his brother and then later joined a hip hop crew called Franklin Avenue. By 2001, he released two mixtapes to highlighting his abilities as a solo artist. In 2005 he released his debut album Genda’s Landing which lead him to perform at various hip hop festivals in Europe, and touring with his longtime friend Nneka, who he has also co-founded an arts organization Rope, where their mission is to empower youth through arts. By 2008, he released his sophomore album Footprints, which showed his transgression from rapper to poet. Now with his third album Follow My Footsteps allows Genda to become a sojourner of his own truth, with a band that truly connects with his message. His band includes Makeda Michalke-Long on vocals, Christian Klingler (piano, Rhodes, Hammond, Wurlitzer), Leif Bräutigam (guitar), Stefan Schönegg (bass), Philipp Klahn (drums, Cajón), and Benjamin Akoutou (Congas, Djembe, Bongo, Small Percussion).
Check out a couple of tracks below, then head over to Genda‘s Bandcamp to get yourself a copy!!
Yasmin Semali aka AmDex is one half of the Atlanta, Georgia hip hop group Clan Destined. He gives us a taste of his upcoming album Senior Dues, slated for a December 7, 2013 release with “Another Day“. On this Illastrate produced track, he creates a nostalgic and hopeful feeling record by enlisting J-Live, Boog Brown and Joe D to help out on rhymes. All four MCs offer clever introspective verses that blend perfectly with the strings and thumping drums and bass.
If “Another Day“ is any indication of what’s to come from Yasmin Semali, in December we’re in for a treat. Senior Dues will feature collaborations with Kurupt, Big Vision, Count Bass D, Phene, SmallEyez, and a few others.
North Western raised, and Bay Area based rapper MADlines, is smooth and unrelenting when she delivers her words. Starting out as a poet on the slam scene in Seattle, she formed a group called Canary Sing with Bay Area native vocalist Hollis Wong Wear. The two would generate great chemistry over beats, probably influencing a move to the other town, Oakland, California. With three years under her belt MADlines has established herself among the few hard working independent lyricists in the Bay Area. A self proclaimed, “West Coast girl with West Indian Roots,” she draws her musical inspiration from many genres, however it’s her Jamaican heritage that shows very proudly on her debut EP LOVE CHILD, produced by BeanOne of Seattle. Besides the debut single “Blockas (Don’t Block My Shine)” my favorite songs from it are “The Weapon” and “I-R-I-E” featuring Hollis. Keep an ear out for MADlines.
Here is another young woman who I’ve know of for quite sometime, but more through the grapevine. HowAboutBeth, a Kenyan British singer, composer and writer, is an all encompassing type of artist; the more you learn about her, the more enthralled you become. Having toured and collaborated with The Heavy, Pink Floyd, Matthew Herbert, Hugh Masekela, Chuck Berry, and Eric Lau, she is also the youngest trustee to hold position at London’s legendary Roundhouse Theatre. With a background as solid as this, you can only expect something different, groundbreaking, adventurous, while all being powerful. HowAboutBeth‘s angelic clear pitch vocals are a joy to hear, especially as she subverts vocal conventions, creating something incredibly interesting and entertaining to experience. Her debut project Rabid Ballad, which she calls drunk and off- kilter ballads, was released about two years ago. In one breathe, she has the originality of Bjork and the melodic precision of Kate Bush. Now with her new single, “English Girls Love Jade” she delivers a melancholic song about two people who fall victim to over analyzing a relationship to its demise. “English Girls Love Jade” concludes in an Kikuyu folk song, a song that her Grandmother used to sing to her as a child. It’s very beautiful. Check it out below, then head over to her Bandcamp for this free download.
If you are in the London area, HowAboutBeth is scheduled to perform at Lyric Hammersmith this Thursday, October 17th. For more information, click here.
It is absolutely insane that Ghostpoet has not graced the pages of Muphoric Sounds until now! Ghostpoet is an artist who certainly pushes the envelope, where his sound is an extension of trip hop pioneer Tricky, dark and atmospheric with a jungle, afro beat undercurrent. Completely danceable and funky! The UK beatmaker’s debut EP The Sound Of Strangers was released on Gilles Peterson‘s Brownswood Recordings in 2010 and since then, he has gotten nothing but acclaim, from Zane Lowe on BBC Radio, and was also nominated for a Mercury Prize Award — an organization that recognises unique UK artists. He released his debut album in 2011 Peanut Butter Blue & Melancholy Jam, and toured with Metronomy and Jamie Woon during their UK tour. His sophomore album, Some Say I So I Say Light was released earlier this year and “Cash and Carry Me Home” is the second video to support the album.
This week, Ghostpoet launched a remix contest in partnership with XLR8R Magazine and The Cavery where contestants are tasked with remixing “Meltdown“ and “Cold Win“ and the forthcoming single, “Dial Tones,” from the Some Say I So I Say Light album. For more information, click here. Deadline for entries is November 7th. But in the meantime, check out Ghostpoet‘s new video for “Cash and Carry Me Home.” And beatmakers, visit his Soundcloud to be inspired!
I first heard this gem of a record on a mixtape by Dj Djinji Brown. I remember pausing and rewinding it several times to understand what I was hearing. “O Mi Chango” is a tribute and celebration for the Yoruban/Santerian saint Chango (Shango), and the musician playing it is none other than conguero Mongo Santamaria. Born in Havana Cuba in 1922, he began playing the conga at an early age, apprenticing with Clemente “Chicho” Piquero in Cuba and Mexico, moving to New York to play with fellow Cuban congeros and artists like Tito Puente. Mongo began recording in the early1950’s as a band member and band leader and continued to record until 1998. He played with musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Francisco Aguabella, Cal Tjader, La Lupe, Dizzy Gillespie, Wille Bobo, and Armando Peraza. With over 35 records as a band leader, a Grammy, and an influence in Jazz and world music that is unmistakeable that Mongo is a legend.“O Mi Chango” was recorded in 1977 for the album Sofrito on Vaya Records.
When I listen to the song I feel “dance”. Plain and simple. A celebration, Mongo calls out the foods that are to be given or offered to the saint or god Shango. The drum being central to the song sets the table and all of these delicious sprinkles of sax, drums, bass, and keys come in creating an aromatic blend of sound that is medicine when you dance to it. The players on this record are Angel “Cachete” Maldonado (Bata), Armen Donelian (Piano/Keys), William Allen (Bass Guitar), Al Williams (Saxophone), Julia Collaro (Bata/Trap drum), and Mongo (Conga Drum). In this jam you hear Jazz, you hear Guaguancó, Rumba, Salsa, Boogie, Charanga, Tipico, House, Cuba, New York, West Africa, etc. Essentially a mixture. In the song he says “La Comida pa Chango” or food for Shango, “Harina” which means flour, “Mofongo” which is a delicious dish made of Platano. Hopefully some of our listeners can translate some more of the Yoruban or Español Carribeño in this song, but don’t worry too much. Just dance!
“O Mi Chango” by Mongo Santamaria
The much anticipated collaboration between Snoop Dogg and DâM FunK takes Snoop back to his G-Funk roots with “Faden Away” by teaming with the most apropos artist, the funkmaster himself, DâM FunK. This two-step gem with its heavy funk bass licks will have you grooving instantaneously. Not only is the track pure fire in production, using DâM FunK‘s multi-instrumentalist skills highlighting his branded flavour of fresh funk but this collaboration propels DâM FunK further to become a well deserved household name. It’s surprising Snoop and DâM FunK haven’t gotten together sooner! “Faden Away” is the first teaser from the forthcoming album 7 Days of Funk to be released on Peanut Butter Wolf‘s label Stones Throw, that is also home to DâM FunK. A video for “Faden Away” is soon to come; it was recorded last week. Check out the track below!