Saturday, May 24, 2008

I missed Mr. Lif but found Sincere Underground Hip Hop

I'm in a very underground hip-hop kind of mood. I was hoping to see Mr. Lif at Paradise tonight in Boston, but last minute things fell through - i'm disapointed. But I downloaded Mo' Mega, its' good but not great. If you like Lif you'll like this, but its not absolutely necessary. Anyway, definitely though check out this track and video by Sincere ft. Natty - Once Upon a Time (just watch the video - found it on Certified Banger , seriously good underground hip-hop - I enjoyed it at least, more description below)

Sincere ft. Natty - Once Upon a Time

LONDON’ featuring Dizzie Rascals signing, D Double E as well as hot property Scorcher. He’s appeared in a television series – Dubplate Drama, made a movie, and set up and administered his own label YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS RECORDS. You certainly can’t accuse him of laziness.

“It’s been a busy period but I still feel I have a lot to achieve, I’ve taken so much from the last few years plus I’ve grown up a lot too”

His experiences in everyday life coupled with those in music have definitely made an impact on this young Londoner …

“It’s so easy just to get caught up in London, the roads, politics, life, music etc, but there’s a whole world out there and I want to reflect some of that”

SINCERE’S an artist that’s definitely feeling comfortable in his own skin, and the evidence is there for all to see on ‘ONCE UPON A TIME’, the first single from the new album ‘NOW OR NEVER’, which features ATLANTIC RECORDS signing Natty.

The album, NOW OR NEVER’, is due October 2008 and already features guest appearances from Skinnyman, John Blood, Natty, Sway and fellow Young Entrepreneur Mark Henry.

Production duties are being dealt with by P Nut [Dido / Amy Whinehouse / Faithless], Firstman [Hi Tek / Talib Kweli / Skinnyman / Lemar], Blak Jak, the man behind THAT’S NOT GANSTER’, [Miss Dynamite, Akala, Scorcher and Nathan], Res [Akala, Miss Dynamite] and Young Entrepreneurs very own in house beatsmith Godson [Sway / Scorcher].

Also look out for the download mixtape available soon and featuring the mighty King’s of Leon. There’s more remix action with fellow N2 resident Natty on the remix of Cold Town. Plus look out for the HUGE video for ‘ONCE UPON A TIME’ coming to a screen near you soon.

Check online for updates

For more info please contact

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Flashbaxx - new downtempo out of Germany

I'll be the first to admit, some downtempo and chillout can get stale - much of it sounds alike, much of it is a more energetic take on soundscapes. I find the best downtempo takes a little bit from many genres and sub-styles of music. Thievery Corporation is one of the best and widely known examples of how to make downtempo stand out. You hear a Thievery track and you know its Eric Hilton and Rob Garza mixing up many influences and somehow making it work. This works best when they are going for energy. When they go for pure downtempo, its simplified, working with soulful electronica and slight jazzy backdrops.

I just received a downtempo EP from Flashbaxx - an artist out of Germany whose first release's title track, Livingroom Adventures, was featured on compilations by Tosca and Jazzanova nearly five years ago. Flashbaxx is back with The Changing Tides EP - an album that is born of acid jazz, commercial soundscapes and some signature downtempo that is reminiscent of the basic Thievery chillout that brought me into this type of music.

There are other comparisons I could make (Bonobo, Lemongrass, others) but I want to stick with Thievery. Flashbaxx's Voodoo Therapy is a true chillout track that builds on intermittent piano and guitar bursts with bongos that hint at Brazilian Jazz. "Stainless" and Sand Bank continue the chillout with even more lounge-like groove. These are sit back and relax tracks that employ echo effects and interesting electronic sounds to add to any lounge ambiance.

Another side of Flasbhaxx's EP is the funk-infused Jack of all Trades The name may imply that Flashbaxx is promoting its various styles (or I may just be thinking too hard), and it certainly showcases another type of music that Flashbaxx can manipulate (for our listening delight). However, as funk guitar chops along with horns, high hats, and soulful ladies humming in the background, this is as eclectic as we're going to get. Flashbaxx's Changing Tides is a true downtempo EP that is lovely to listen to, but don't expect too much beyond the chillout and a taste of funk. This is a very promising EP for Flashbaxx, I'm going to listen to this for many moons, and await what is next to come.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Don Imuze (aka Jeff Bennett) - Great Illusions on Phunctional Loungin

Don Imuze hunted me down. Not to scare me or play italian mobster, but to share his latest dub creation. Jeff Bennett, under his dub guise Don Imuze, releases some beautifully chill tracks at the end of May. Probably better known for his techno and house beats such as Smoke In the Shadow or Raindance, Jeff breaks out of the deep house on his Phunctional Loungin label.

Currently out on (Beatport's alternative music source), Don Imuze's dub creations will be available digitally throughout many other digital stores on May 30.

Here are some of my favorite tracks from Don Imuze's upcoming release (click the title link above to listen to the entire album - I'm still working out kinks to embed music directly in my posts):

"Mahla" is a very simple downtempo groove that pulls no strings. It has slight slight undertones of dub but is more a chillout tune at heart. Twanging thumps that sound like an acoustic base provide the dub foundation and a sitar comes in to change it up and give it a borderline bhangra vibe. Its a very smooth chill tune.

"Bazzif" is the dub club tune, ready to mix. This track comes with a ready made, chilled dub foundation that is so solid yet subdued that you can throw something very cool on top of this to Frankenstein your own hip-hop dub creation. I smell Remix.

"Feverz" is my favorite dub on the album, its the purest as far as I can tell. Honestly, this track is straight fun. Sit under the trees and add this to your summer jammin' playlist. The relaxed funk guitar, choppy organ and flutish woodwind adding some lovely light flavor - making you think only of rum drinks and your hashish of choice. (Ok, I know hashish is Indian, but I'm in a hookah mood lately!)

All in all, check out Don Imuze. With the summer months cresting for many of us, this provides the midday or late evening downtempo that is best accompanied with a lounge chair and cold drink.

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