Of Congolese origin and based in Belgium, Baloji is a poet, composer, lyricist, beatmaker, scriptwriter, actor, video artist and stylist. His music stands at the crossroads of African music, rap, the French singer-songwriter tradition, afro-american music (soul, funk, jazz) discovered via hip hop culture and sampling; and electronic music (trance, deep house) which was prevalent in the region of Belgium where Baloji grew up. Baloji means “man of science” in Swahili, but during the colonial period that meaning shifted to “man of the occult sciences and sorcery”. By placing his resilience at the centre of his work, Baloji reconciles all these influences to enrich his creative projects. “64 bits & Malachite” offers a musical style based in these cross-fertilisations and collaborations, unbridled and freed from the labels of “genres”. 64 bits is the current reference for processors. It evokes the idea of built-in obsolescence; how previous versions, even if they still function, are designed to become useless. Malachite is a green-layered stone found in Katanga (DRC Congo). 64 Bits & Malachite mines our operating systems: it is a metaphor of our era, a melody of diaspora; a nomadic music between encounters and collisions.
"Drawing influence from pop, soul, jazz and lo-fi genres, Owen Rabbit masterfully draws listeners in with hauntingly heartfelt lyrics, pairing them with truly cinematic production work. Experimental plays with sound effects come aplenty in this release, alongside Owen Rabbit’s signature use of miscellaneous items to make his music. Oh My God, drops an incredibly strong beat and demonstrates this artist’s ability to keep things going on the rise, even when you think they’re already at the top. It’s a clear stand out on the EP. Also featured on this diverse release is a near nine-minute track entitled Pyramid Power. Although it possibly drags on for a bit longer than it needs to, it’s an impressive experimental journey that pulls listeners in all directions by the time it has finished. Also keep a listen out for Someday The Rain Is Gonna Come, a change of pace and mood, utilising slow guitar and drums rhythms, as well as the acoustic version of Owen Rabbit’s knockout 2015 single Denny’s - which is arguably better than the original. Stacks of emotion lies in this track, just take a listen to the opening lyrics, “You’re a good person, I’ve been wondering that about myself.” Immensely powerful, impassioned and a little bit weird, One, is a strong debut release. It might take you a few listens to wrap your head around, but rest assured this EP is full of beautiful moments." - Beat
"It's hard to find words to describe Jai Wolf's grand and glowing Kindred Spirits EP, so we'll let the New York City-based producer take it from here. "The idea of Kindred Spirits came to me about a year ago,” he says. “I have a really good relationship with my fans on Twitter, and I noticed that two of them had befriended each other because they wore the same piece of Jai Wolf merch to one of my shows. This sort of chance meeting really fascinated me – how two people were brought together because of music. My EP is a tribute to that concept. Each song represents a different type of connection: connections between people, places, and memories.” From start to finish, the six-track EP shines like a warm star and slowly expands to fill all the cold space of the universe in your heart. It's cinematic like synth-heavy '80s soundtracks, so Jai Wolf approached the upcoming live performance of its majesty with Kubrick-ian regard. “Because the songs are dreamlike and grand, I wanted the tour to have the same feeling,” he says. “I had this idea of having myself inside of an orb, much like the two characters on the cover of my EP. We got around 10 variations of the idea from a production company until we settled on this really futuristic looking one where my entire body is exposed inside the orb. The show is essentially a visual journey that accompanies not just my EP, but my remixes and personal edits. It's a really surreal experience that I'm ecstatic to show the world." - Billboard
King Henry has been knuckling down and quietly making a name for himself behind the scenes over the last couple of years. The L.A via New Mexico producer and Team Supreme member, has been chipping in and earning credits for his co-production work for Beyoncé (‘All Night’), The Weeknd, Justin Bieber and Major Lazer (‘Cold Water’), having been working with Diplo over the last three years. Now signed to Black Butter Records as an artist in his own right, Kenry Henry has released his debut EP. Following the recently revealed ‘Gold Dust’ and ‘Don’t Stay Away.' Here’s what King Henry told BEAT about the track 'Pulse' via email: I’ve known Lexie aka Bloodboy for a long time. We met when a mutual friend put us in touch cause she was looking for producers and I was looking for vocalists to work with. At the time we were just out of university (we both went to Chapman) and were both trying to find our ways in the LA music scene while living in Orange County. She was in advertising and I was kind of freelancing commercial scoring and other random music gigs. We started making demos with the idea of trying to pitch them to other pop artists, but then both eventually realized we kind of wanted to do the artist routes ourselves. ‘Pulse’ was one of the songs we wrote along the way and I always found myself coming back to it. I really didn’t touch the production at all in the past year since we wrote it, only made some minor tweaks. The vocal is actually from the day we recorded it for the first time in my poorly soundproofed home studio. Something about the time and moment we made the song wouldn’t have been the same if we tried to recut it and I knew that, so we stuck with the original demo vocal." - BEAT
"‘It’s Just Us Now,’ Jessica Rabbit’s opener and third single, equips sonar blips, as if probing for that forgotten kineticism, and oh yeh there it is. Guitars stomp and percussion growls. Sardonic gibes about the “real thing” and “believing in decency” circumnavigate the fatalistic refrain “And when you die/I wanna die, I wanna die with you.” The bombast is purposeful, mendacious, and just a little bit psychotic – in a cool, fuck-you-patriarchy kinda way. Jessica Rabbit invokes concurrently the deadpan nihilism and belligerent misogyny of its femme fatale eponymy; Krauss’s narrator presents a double-edged pastiche of sordid male fantasy and compartmentalised ruthlessness with teeth sharper than the amorphous tigress of the cover art. This buzzed suffusion of ideas and sizzling ascerbation boils over into Jessica Rabbit’s musicality. As well as distilling Krauss and Miller’s well-documented veneration of stadium rock histrionics, “pop you can’t get out of your head” (to quote Strauss), and 90s R&B; at times Jessica Rabbit echoes the bloom-and-bust truncations of post-rock, serviced by Sleigh Bells’ continuous infatuation with the stability of hip-hop, mid-tempo beats. With production input from Dr. Dre’s regular producer Mike Elizondo, these rhythms resonate with clarity and confidence, empowering Sleigh Bells’ structural attention deficiency as ambidextrous weapon rather than tangled hubris. Clean, lean, and impassioned to the edge of malice; both the beauty and the devil are in the discord. Jessica Rabbit is a fucking great feminist-punk record, one of the pop highlights of the year, and the best thing they’ve ever done." - The 405
"On the heels of 2012's acclaimed full-length Bodyparts which landed them a captivating performance on Good Morning America as well as collaborations with Kaskade, Galantis, Big Data and Martin Solveig among others, Canadian electro-pop trio Dragonette are releasing their fourth studio album Royal Blues. Strapped with a joyous energy yet tinged with melancholy undertones, Royal Blues comes in hot after a series of recent premieres. Following the Blackbook feature of futuristic single "Darth Vader", the upbeat title track "Royal Blues`" premiered via Northern Transmissions. Album cut "Detonate" was showcased via Discobelle and Impose dropped the vibrant "High Five", providing optimal runway for the airy, foot-tapping Royal Blues." - Broadway World Music
“Fellow Doomtree crewmate Lazerbeak provides the production on “More Than Ever.” He’s on the right path with songs like “Icarus,” combining a boom bap sensibility with an electronic approach, making a thumping track that’s a living contradiction in its natural artificialness. Sims is a self-indulgent rapper, which at first glance sounds like an indictment of his tendency to explore his musical whims, but actually is a compliment given he has good instincts about which directions to go. “OneHundred” is the lead single and also the ideal example of his flow taking Beak’s track in interesting directions that keep you following his story. I can’t tell you this album doesn’t assume some forward thinking expectations from the listener. It’s not that Sims is using incredibly large words that will make you reach for the dictionary every bar, nor that he has built up layers of metaphors that you won’t be able to decipher, but when you title a song “Voltaire” and talk about “the sweet scent from the bakery, and the piss from the street” you know you’re in for a ride that is both witty and satirical. Sims is thought provoking almost by accident. A part of me is tempted to call “More Than Ever” some post-modern avante garde hip-hop. While Sims is clearly inclined to march to the beat of his own drum, he’s not in completely inaccessible arthouse territory. I think I’d call it “accidentally evolutionary.” Without the implied pressure to have the next hit record, the next dance trend, the next sing-along anthem, the next ode to taking excessive amounts of mind altering substances, rap took a left turn in the Midwest heading due North and found itself a space to be different. For those who like something different “More Than Ever” is what the doctor ordered.” – RapReviews.com
On the follow up to their 2015 EP ‘Dumela 113’, we reintroduce Hyperdub producer Okzharp and Manthe Ribane, an artist, dancer and model from Johannesburg who has worked and toured with Die Antwood amongst other creative work. Written and recorded in London, over two weeks this January, ‘Tell Your Vision’ is a call and response between Manthe’s vocals and Okzharp’s production. Both bring their unique energies to the mix, manifesting in a raw confidence of new moods and temperatures that were brought out from their first taste of touring and living on autopilot. The title is a reference to the first track, ‘Teleported’, which was created in Okzharp’s car on an exploratory drive through London and inspired by the art and energy they came across. The track opens with a ferocious bass line, with Manthe’s rumbling vocals rolling rhythmically over the top. She takes us with with her as she let’s the music possess her as if dancing; quickly spitting the vocals back out, urging the listener to ‘tell your vision!’ The EP takes a much more gentle and reflective turn on the 2nd track ‘BU’. Okzharp’s slow and soft lullaby melody and Manthe’s warm and inspiring lyrics ‘B U, Be your dream come true, for real’ tug at the heartstrings. In the upbeat and playful ‘Maybe This’, Manthe’s vocals flit between a hum that softly swells over the top of OKzharp’s spacey melody, into an energised and bouncing rap. They round of the EP with the warm anthem PikiPiki, with the chorus sung in the south african sepedi dialect. Okzharp’s long synth lines draw us in with Manthe’s vocals melting and blending into the track. PikiPiki has an unmistakably positive vibe, which becomes emphasised when Manthe switches to English, with lyrics that advocate self-affirmation and self love.
Crystal Fighters are a truly international band who learn from humanity’s most ancient traditions to make music that sounds like the future. The core trio of singer Sebastian ‘Bast’ Pringle, Graham Dickson and multi-instrumentalist Gilbert Vierich have spent the last three years traversing the planet, reconnecting with nature and learning to play forgotten instruments. They return with their third album, Everything Is My Family which embodies their ecstatic lust for life and, as Bast says, “is more dancefloor, more psychedelic, more tropical, more rave, more sunshine, more pretty much everything” than anything they have done before.
“Winterfield brings guitar and vocals to the mix; Jono Ma specialises in psychoactive synths, beats and production nous. With bass from Jack Freeman – and some guest drumming from Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa – they’ve recorded a set of malleable, melody-packed tracks, some of which sound like they have multiple passports. Second single ‘Give Me A Reason’ is a prime example, skating from a single beat into a Madchester funk, before reaching a deep house apex where Winterfield does an amazingly ridiculous spoken word bit about a dance called The Amoeba that’s not far off DJ Caspar’s instructional 2004 dance craze ‘Cha-Cha Slide’. Jagwar Ma go big on the lols as well, it turns out. Big Brian Wilson fans, they’re really all about harmony, and a lot of ‘Every Now And Then’ is just a pleasure to listen to. ‘Say What You Feel’ is a dancey paean to artlessness (“Pride has no place in this room”); ‘Batter Up’ is a straightforwardly combative synth bomber; best of all is ‘Loose Ends’, a languid, low-slung groove that’ll raise any room’s humidity levels. A lot of ‘Every Now And Then’ was recorded in the rural French studio they’ve compared to the doomed country retreat featured in cult comedy Withnail & I. And that fits, really, as the place this album had to have been made: somewhere haphazard and idiosyncratic, but weirdly brilliant.” – NME