The Love Theme – “Hold On” – one mighty swirl of dance-floor groove

“Hold On” is a groovy cauldron of electronic shades and textures. Part dubstep, part soul, part funk, pretty much all breaks; there’s a rhythmic melting pot attitude that runs through the track, which ricochets off the walls with crusty slapping drums and long-dark-tunnel basslines. This is the latest track by The Love Theme – the brainchild of producer Dominic Owen on his Smokersblend record label. The cut is taken off an upcoming album, out later this year. “Hold On” is an absolute monster of a tune with soulful vocal chants, and some funky bluesy guitar throughout. As with a lot

MACKENZIE NICOLE’S TEDX TED TALK ‘MYSTIC: A MENTAL HEALTH ODYSSEY’ IS NOW LIVE

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Matthew J Van Howe – “Emergent Narrative” – a deluge of his sonic palette!

You could call this ambient, experimental, drone, avant-garde, cinematic or simply electronic music, the fact is “Emergent Narrative”, is so impactful it’s like it’s its own genre. It’s as if some new musical form has been created from retro synthwave sounds, and ultra-modern avant-garde motifs. I was stunned by the textures, and the moods that got stuck in my head, along with the intensity and dynamic depth. This is an album to hear again and again. Loud, raucous, serene, gentle, stretching, insistent, melodic, dissonant. It is a collection of 12 musical pieces with simple one-word titles. Meaning, the Chicago composer,

Andy Pett – “Back Again” turns hurt into art with great results on this song

Experience with adversity builds exemplary character and a spirit of resilience that allows artists to deliver great music. Their personal stories provides them with original ideas and profound insight to rap or sing about, creating a relatable feeling of vulnerability that fans emotionally connect with. Many prominent artists from today’s culture have battled through adversity to become widely accepted and beloved. There is an interesting argument – and quite a lot of statistics lean toward this theory – that adversity is necessary to become successful.  The bottom line seems to be that many artists lack the ambition to succeed because

Onicks – “High” is a deep slow-burn

With its enigmatic beauty, intoxicating depth and intense emotion, the follow-up to “High” is one of the most intriguing records of the year so far. The lyrics are elliptical and fragmented, touching on addiction, identity and eroticism. The track’s mood is druggy, dislocated and tortured – there are frequent metaphoric references to substances and psychedelics – the shape-shifting structure of “High” will capture your attention from top to bottom. Snapshots of elusive love and fleeting lust are scattered throughout – for whom, or for what, is where you need to read between the lines. Born and raised in the San

Midwest Hiphop duo Strangers Of Necessity drop their new single “Abundance”

Strangers Of Necessity are an American hip-hop duo, based in the Midwest, consisting of prolific producer, CoryaYo and veteran lyricist, Fooch the MC. They linked via Twitter and quickly became friends, sparking an immediate chemistry and need to make quality music together; hence the name Strangers Of Necessity. They instantly began recording music and doing shows locally, generating a nice buzz in the area. Their sound is best described as a fresh take on that golden era of hip-hop, blending tasteful jazz and soul samples, crisp snares, boomy kicks on wonky patterns with a soulful delivery, dense schemes and potent

Kilo M.O.E. – ‘Fly G’z and Palm Treez’ – serves as the perfect canvas for the rapper’s elite lyricism

The Baltimore-based producer, songwriter, rapper, Kilo M.O.E.’s evolution over his past three albums has been inspiring to see. I’ll always admire artists who push themselves creatively, and that’s exactly what, Kilo M.O.E. has done on his fourth studio album, ‘Fly G’z and Palm Treez’, and it pays off in leaps and bounds. Each instrumental is rich and developed, serving as the perfect canvas for the rapper’s elite lyricism. Something that this recording and Kilo M.O.E.’s recent albums have done well is allow him the freedom to rap for the sake of his craft within the confines of the album’s larger

Jim Wyly – “You Took Me” – It’s rhythmically tight, warm and edgy

Texas singer songwriter Jim Wyly is back with another soul-stirring track from his “The Artisan” album. Over 40 years deep into his craft, the Austin troubadour sounds like a home-cooked meal. He deals out comfort food for the head, heart, and soul. All of this serves his finely drawn guitar lines, bourbon-stained-like vocals, and funky acoustic-driven grooves as thick as molasses. A subtle blend of blues, country, folk and southern rock runs right down the middle of “You Took Me”. “Musicians’ musician” is an overused term. Why wouldn’t anyone with two good ears appreciate Jim Wyly? As Jim doesn’t cater

Hanen Release Brand New Video For The Song “Breathe”

It’s never been easier for artists to stay independent. Of course you can get good music producers, good visual directors for videos, good rappers and good singers to feature on your track without a great budget, but you have to search the world over to find deals you can afford, or convince creatives to work with you. Texas born artist, now living in the LA area, Hanen, somehow got it all together on his latest track called “Breathe”. He sings soulfully and raps with an urban edge all by himself, backed by an atmospheric slow-burning, and ear-warming beat made by

Angry B – “Hey Corona! (Nice to Meet Ya)” – reflects the realities with a good dose of wit

On his latest single, “Hey Corona! (Nice to Meet Ya)”, underground music hobbyist Angry B pinned his rap skills and dark wit, to the sounds of mainstream pop and a funky EDM template. He blurs the lines between genres with the top of the charts — and only the top — in his sights. As can be deciphered from the song title, Angry B pulls his aspirations from the dramatic Covid-19 disease hitting mankind across the globe. “It’s one of the most critical situations we’ve had and there will be a lot of sad stories connected with it,” says Angry

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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