Defining himself as both a rapper and a graphic designer, it is no surprise that DELS’ productions marry these talents. Trumpalump, with its accompanying music video and ‘Quiet Remix’, is the best example of this artistic union. The song is all about blurring boundaries, both lyrically – between the idea of dreaming and reality, and musically – through two contrasting beats, one discordant, one catchy and soothing. In the song’s video, DELS explores the boundaries of reality with a set of half monochrome, half colour. This artistic trickery is given greater insight in the ‘making of’ video and certainly demonstrates his commitment to having visual lyrics. The final complement to the Trumpalump release is Joe Goddard’s ‘Quiet Remix’, featuring master of calm Hip-hop, Ghostpoet. Here, the trio focus on the smoother sounds of the original to produce a dreamy end-product, well worth a listen. With the debut album Gobs hitting the shelves last month, and the June release of another Joe Goddard collaboration, now would be the time to investigate this multi-talented musician.
Even the most ardent followers of underground music need a powerhouse of a pop song to sing in the shower. For those looking for something more contemporary and guilt-free than Diana Ross or Whitney Houston, the answer can be found in Kyla La Grange’s indie-pop anthem Walk Through Walls. It’s certainly not a conventional career path for a Cambridge Philosophy graduate, but with a voice so strong and compelling it was a risk worth taking. With a catchy chorus and impressive vocal range shown in the numerous “Wooohoooo”s throughout, it is easy to see why the single has been lauded by Radio 1′s Huw Stephens and Rob Da Bank. If you like what you hear, listen to Vampire Smile, also available as a free download and equally appropriate for those shower sing-a-longs.
As emotive hip-hop songs go, Raashan Ahmad’s Pain On Black is up there with the best. On a hiatus from rap-group the Crown City Rockers, the New Jersey born rapper has used the time to focus on making jazz-infused Hip-hop. His most recent album, For What You’ve Lost was released rather discreetly last year and Pain On Black is its second single. And what a gem. In Ahmad’s own words it was written as the world was crumbling around him, and you get the sense of his heart and soul being poured into the lyrics. Rapping in one continuous verse, Ahmed barely pauses for breath, so pressing is his desire to tell the listeners about his struggle. But this is no ego-trip and Ahmed seems truly thankful for where he is now. Musically, Pain on Black is made by the triumphant trumpet sample, which compliments the song’s message. The struggle that made the song is the listener’s gain, and by this reckoning Raashan Ahmed’s next release will be a much better-known affair.
Following our previous post on Jai Paul, we wanted to express our pride that his brilliant BTSTU has been sampled by Drake in a song leaked this week off his forthcoming album. In terms of composition and sound,Dream Money Can Buy doesn’t differ too much from previous work, but the sample choice indicates a more experimental direction for the Canadian rapper. He has decided not to reproduce the formula that made his debut so successful, but rather form collaborations with UK bass artists that make his music more interesting. He has recently worked with producer SBTRKT and will seek the help of Jamie xx on LP Take Care, due in September. It is an encouraging sign both for a UK music scene going from strength to strength, and also the integrity of an already-successful rapper.
Fans of The Cinematic Orchestra will be familiar with singer-songwriter Grey Reverend, who remixed the band’s To Build A Home in 2007 and has supported them live numerous times. For everyone else… Grey Reverend is made up of the modest voice and guitar-playing of L.D. Brown, but represents a much bigger talent. He was discovered by The Cinematic Orchestra front man Jason Swinscoe at the coffee shop run by Brown’s sister. He has since joined Swinscoe’s Motion Audio label and this month released his first single, One By One, under their banner. Similar to Fink and Jose Gonzalez, this is stripped down acoustic singer-songwriting at its finest and Motion Audio have latched onto a talent. We look forward to hearing more in his upcoming album Of The Days, released in July.
American R&B singer/songwriter Anthony David has brought true R&B back to Georgia with his fourth studio album As Above So Below, released earlier last month. The composition throughout really does take you back to that 90’s vibe of thick strings and soul beats, whilst David’s vocals swim effortlessly round your ears from start to finish. The music video for 4Evermore stages a wedding, where Anthony and R&B princess Algebra take a verse each to express their vows in rich melodies that glide over the groove of DJ Kemit’s solid production. Putting the icing on the wedding cake comes Phonte from Little Brother rapping his two cents about love. This musical matrimony works so well, we can only hope it continues in the future.
Akua Naru meets Aaliyah on this London-Nairobi collaboration born from the Extra Soul Perception project.
Grounding soundscapes on Ransom Note Records offshoot Bytes.
A nine-minute Balearic masterpiece on Emotional Rescue.
New York jazz-funk, smooth Rio bossa nova and Belfast boogie.
Dollar bin b-sides treading a fine line between g-funk swagger and molten cheese.
A V Day mix of silky smooth boogie, soul and synth-pop from the Customs member.
Katia Mullova assesses the wider implications of this annual focus on data sharing.
A behind the scenes look at Berlin’s unassuming open air party spot.
An in-depth discussion with Emma-Jean Thackray, Joe Armon-Jones and Nik Colk Void from Factory Floor.