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.
Throwing Snow is a London/Bristol based producer making some very interesting electronic music. In his own words, he writes ‘anything from Folk to Dubstep’, though we haven’t been so lucky as to find the former. Aside from his production skills, TS is also a music consultant at Hear No Evil and CEO of the label A Future Without, featuring loads of artists we love (Baba Yaga and Augustus Ghost in particular). He’s already done remixes for Gold Panda and Kidkanevil, and his most recent release Un Vingt/Cronos has been remixed by the likes of George Fitzgerald and d’Eon. Throwing Snow’s production style is driven by minimal layers; mostly analog synths and splintered 2-step beats. Though each element is often simplistic in its raw terms, he does have a tendency to heavily automate his tracks with gleaming pitch-bends and chop/screw samples. All in all, our kind of music. Below is a track off his most recent release and an older tune called Naked Dance for you to enjoy.
Since entering the music scene, Ghostpoet has been showing Hip-hop how to calm down. His debut LP Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam is so refreshing in its approach you would have to go back as far as Original Pirate Material for an album of similarimpact on UK Hip-hop. Survive It is Ejimiwe’s latest release and acts as a reminder that the 24-year-old is refusing to conform to the blueprint of brash and boastful lyrics. With a lisped voice and storytelling stlyle, Ejimiwe adopts the persona of a modest 44-year old and transforms a tale of a mundane existence into a hopeful tune, aided by Fabiana Palladino’s uplifting chorus. This is a track that will certainly fit various moods, and if you’re interested in hearing a style less conventional, then don’t let Ghostpoet go unnoticed.
Twinkling dembow rhythms on Tiff’s Joints.
Anthemic Italo house on Blaq Numbers.
Chiming guitars and tropical-tinged polyrhythms on SaS Recordings.
1976 Irish folk song, fresh otherworldly ambient and 1986 soothing art rock.
Emotive and tension building electronics from one of Australia’s most loved selectors.
Cosmic disco, synth-pop and rock from the Black Flamingo founder.
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.