Berani – “Cut And Taste” strikes an incredible balance of disparate elements

Berani is an electronic beat maker with a diverse sound spectrum and a tendency to produce bouncing rhythms or spacious and relaxing aural experiences. In a short time span, this emerging artist out of Byron Bay in Australia, has discerning music fans and casual listeners paying attention. The sound design throughout his latest single “Cut And Taste” is what we’ve come to expect from this creative top tier producer: popping percussion, basslines that melt like butter and a healthy dose of twisted horns to make everything bump in a soul-like fashion. Sprinkled around the track are sonic effects that keep

EsZ – “Liquor & Emotions” – introspective and emotional

Hip-hop has been cranking out bangers and high energy anthems for decades, but the average genre historian is well aware that dark or emotional thoughts on a chill backdrop is not a foreign concept for the game. After all, profound moodiness feels rather natural for a culture that grew out of urban plight and the trauma of purposely disenfranchised people. It makes sense that at least some mellow tunes in the genre, reflect deep-thinking speculation, in what artist EsZ, describes as thoughts on “life, growth and fake friends” in his track “Liquor & Emotions”. The song is a drunk text

Quad – “Love” embellishes each track with his personal revelations

Based in the south of Chicago, Quad started making music when he was around 14 years old and started taking it artistically seriously two years later. He produces, records, mixes and masters, using only a Blue Yeti microphone and FL Studios. So far Quad has written over 300 songs and released 1 EP, 1 Album and 8 singles. Currently training as an audio engineer at SAE University in Chicago, Quad explained that his latest album “Love” describes his personal understanding of the sentiment. The album “Love” was written and recorded over the course of 2 months after Quad was electrocuted

Acemattz & Bipha shine on “Tshanana”

Watching Acemattz & Bipha perform in any of their videos is like watching friends realize they’re onto something big time. They are accomplished rappers individually, on their own terms, and as collaborators, as a unit, their styles gel perfectly. They’re not just comfortable performing together—they are feeding off of each other, refusing to be one-upped, beaming and grinning and head-bobbing as they take turns impressing one another. By the end of each of their performances, their formation into a real show-stopping combination seems inevitable. In the new wave rap scene, there is plenty of talent to go around, Acemattz &

FuzzKill – “The Get Better” reaches all the expected heights!

FuzzKill is a four-piece rock band that started in Boston, MA. Introduced to one another through musical theatre, the band’s sound is firmly rooted in early 2000’s pop-punk influences. They released their debut studio album, “Happen”, in early 2019, and their sophomore album, “The Get Better”, just dropped on September 19th 2020. We have all heard the biggest punk bands of the 90’s and early 00’s. Their music mainly consisted of driving drums, distorted pop-punk guitar work and a set of memorable lyrics to go with the angst-filled high energy vocals. Today punk bands are a rarity, and any good

Dan Friese – ‘Jane Songs’ is something to be treasured!

Dan Friese is an Oregon-based songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist. In April of 2020, he released his debut EP, ‘Happiness’, a collection of self-reflective psychedelic indie-folk tracks. His first full-length effort, ‘Jane Songs’, was released on September 18th, and is available on all major platforms, along with the singles “Streetlight” and “I Can’t Say”. There’s a lot to appreciate on the new album, and Dan’s voice is arguably the most attractive aspect. Moreover, his vocals are often enhanced by inspiring songwriting and raw emotion, not to mention a wealth of down to earth acoustic guitar strumming. Dan Friese has an organic,

INTERVIEW: C.E.N. – the voice of the people

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and currently a resident of Dallas, Texas, C.E.N’s natural proficiency over poetry allowed him to produce meaningful and profound lyrics. Although he initially took the initiative to become a music artist for fame and fortune, he later realized that all he desires as a musician is to be respected and valued for the art he brings to the table. His music is deep lyrically and spiritually. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started? C.E.N.: I was born in Oklahoma City, OK, and was raised in a

Hitrocker – “Project One” – breathtaking sound design!

Hitrocker is a German based producer who creates mainly within the EDM subgenres of House, Electro and Deep House. His first album, entitled “Project One” was released at the end of July, while “Project Two” is also out now. When I clicked on the playlist of “Project One”, I was met with song titles that were merely numbers – such as “Project 1.1” or “Project One.Four”. This falsely led me to expect generically themed instrumentals, simply meant to rock the dancefloor. Wrong. Well not totally. They do rock the dancefloor. But they also do a whole lot more. These are

Rashod Holmes Announces New Single ‘The One’

The soul singer relives how he met his wife and started his family on a tender new song. Rashod Holmes is known for bringing romance to life with his evocative voice, but he has never told as personal a story as the one he tells with his latest single. ‘The One’ is a true life love story that acknowledges the struggles and triumphs that go into building a long-lasting relationship. “I found the one for me” Rashod sings. “She is the girl of my dreams.” While Rashod is convinced that he has found the perfect partner, there is much more

Billy Ray Rock – “Get The Funk”- hitting up all the classic tenets of funk

Washington State Singer-Bassist, Billy Ray Rock, plays more than 10 instruments and produces and performs every instrument you hear in his music. From Rock to R&B and Dance, Billy delivers them all. His single “Get The Funk”, simply adds another delicious flavor to his sonic menu. His unearthly bass chops, resonant vocal wobble and inner funk DNA is scorching hot, while it straddles the genre’s trademark grooves. Blaring horns and slapping drums accompanies the party-styled adlibs, as the track treads its momentum. If you’re looking the glossy high-tech dance-club funk perpetuated by bands like Chromeo, then this is not the

Vortex Ascent: “Shine A Light” Binds Together Into a Singular Piece of Music

Vortex Ascent (formerly Soki2u) was founded in 2006 by Brendan Lynch and Derek Schuurman as a studio-based and fluid, experimental collective of independent, solo musicians based in various countries around the world. Each musician records his or her own material independently and for the most part, tracks are produced in London.

The latest Vortex Ascent album, “Shine A Light”, was released November 2013. It was produced with Andy Rugg (formerly on the engineering team of the band Coldplay) and features input from guests such as musician/producer/critic Paddy Bush (brother of acclaimed UK musician Kate Bush) as well as American public speaker and author Cathy O’Brien.

The 14 tracks that make up the album are all are so subtle and subdued but yet all have their own personality. Strangely enough the album really coheres in a sense, but each song tells its own story. It isn’t simply a collection of random songs as you would expect from such a variety of artists, but more like a book of short stories held together by a common thread.

From the first track, “Dodging Bullets”, with its electronically tinged, rock psychedelia to the grand finale, “Dodging Arrows” by Derek Schuurman , the entire album shimmers with emotion, feeling and dreamy landscapes. The sweet instrumentation and lush arrangements provide the perfect backdrop to angelic vocals and an almost faceless smooth backing band providing the perfect foil for whoever’s fronting any given song.

“This Unknown” by Sarah K. Panton & Derek is a beautiful piano driven tune, filled with a desert-like alternative-folk sound that never seems to wear thin. “For What It’s Worth” by Low Monotone which is next, keeps the same spirit, albeit with a heavier, electrified spirit. It’s “Catch Me” by Mart Geibner, which lifts the album out of its sullen dreamlike state. This almost jazzy tone-poem is filled with an aquatic electronic piano and sax interlude that is perfect, giving you the feeling of a soft, warm light shining through the window after a dark, rainy morning.

“Shine A Light” by Briar & Nigel Homer is really nice and is next, but it’s the seventh track, “A Walk In Park” by Gila Chaya & Derek that is one of my favorite songs. It’s gently ringing arrangement, soft shaker and echoey vocals remind me of lying in a field on a clear summer’s night with the brightest stars against the darkest backdrop circling above. This is a song that could simply be called cosmic.

The album then shifts gears with the tripped out guitar of “Fatique” only to find its way back to a harmonious dreamy state on “So Long, Summer” by Lonely Yoko – Kanna Sasaki & Nigel Homer which gives way to the powerful  anthem “Dark Skies” by Sarah K. Panton, Tony Rogan, & Dan Moody/Glow.

Another one of my favorite tracks is, “La Dame Blanche” by David Floc’hlay, which would best be suited to a movie soundtrack. As is the acid-rock influenced “Down The Rabbit Hole” by Derek with Cathy O’Brien, which reminded me so much of early Pink Floyd. In fact this track is my outright favorite on the entire album.

“Shine A Light” is a fantastic album. People have a tendency to discuss albums song by song, I myself fell foul to this trap here, but this album is, to me, essentially just one long piece of music, performed in varyingly mellow and often longing tones of voice. The mood weaves its thread through every track, binding them together into a singular piece of music that is weirdly and intensely beautiful. And that my friends, is this album’s greatest achievement. So many artists, so many songs, but only one common, binding thread…the will to “Shine A Light!”

David Flochlay

David Flochlay


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