Lake of the Lion embodies embody emotive sounds and textures

Lake of the Lion is the brand name and moniker for Luxembourg music composer and producer, Daniel Kohnen, who is steadily building up his catalog and increasing his fan-base with regular new releases. In recent years, ambient instrumental and soundtrack scores have been following a certain trend. Composers seem to have this motif of creating overblown pieces with harsh lead instruments blasting out from the blue and background strings creating suspense with their melodies. Sure it was fun for a while, but within that little span of time listeners were just begging for it to stop because composers had this

Natalie Jean and Levi Moore: “The Letting Go” speaks the language of the ordinary person

A good duet, in our modern age, is a rare thing. There are plenty of features, guest verses and co-writes, and the cameo drop-in is a dime a dozen. The number of genuine duets, where vocalists share verses and tell a story together in the space of a song, is very small. If your optimism fails you, as you wonder whether there are enough great acts to keep hit radio stocked with worthy pop music duets, it’s reassuring to find that Natalie Jean and Levi Moore have a first-rate single to carry us through the next few months, all by itself. The

MAKI: ‘Waking Up With The World On Fire’ – truly majestic — grandiose, slowly unfolding, and extremely cinematic

The world is a fragmented place, with fear and hate giving rise to isolationist movements around the globe and huge portions of the population turning inward rather than outward towards each other. As such waves of bigotry spread like wildfire, the music scene becomes extremely important, not just because it means more great music, but because it connects us all together on a wavelength that hits the human heart, soul and mind even harder, faster and deeper than anger can. A creative constant in the field of communicative contemporary Instrumental music, is MAKI who focuses his ample talents on a

3 Phase – ready for genre domination!

The names Chirag Shah, Prasham Deliwala and Melvin Saldana may in themselves not ring a familiar bell in your ear right now. Probably, neither will the moniker ‘3 Phase’, nor their 6 track self-titled EP. It’s logical, it’s the law of the industry’s hype machine – cast a light on the big label clones, and leave the independent creatives in the shadows. Luckily the internet has a different set of rules.  On hearing the 3 Phase EP, the lofty ambition, the focus and dedication of this creative collective of producers, songwriters and vocal talent, makes sense – its six tracks

Sy: “Get Out Of My Dreams” – grab this R&B and Soul extravaganza

The singer, songwriter and author, Sy, releases a brand new single produced by Rueben Wood. The track “Get Out Of My Dreams” is the first single release written by the artist in 2018, since writing two self-help books, “A Swan Among Ducks” and “Saying Yes to (No): Learning the Power of (No) before the end of 2017. This track soulfully captures the spirit and feel of the emotional journey of grown womanhood. It is juicy, dynamic, soulful, gorgeous, and it is nourishment for the soul…and mind, as it examines the intricacies of a relationship built on want and lust. As

IJK: “Johnny & June” – sounds invigorated!

Alternative rock artist Imad Jack Karam, known by his initials and stage name IJK, is a Dubai-based, Lebanese singer-songwriter, who has released critically acclaimed songs and recorded with internationally known music producers in prestigious London studios. Both his singles “Space Odyssey” and “Dancing Shadows” garnered a positive reception from fans and critics alike. IJK has a style that can move between edgy modern-day alt-rock and sixties rock n’ roll crooning.  He recently published his latest single and supporting, fully animated video, for the song “Johnny & June”. So, how does this new offering cope? Very well, in truth. “Johnny &

TRVP HIPPI3Z: “On Lock” – no lack of muscular skill-flexing!

TRVP HIPPI3Z is a Canadian rap duo who just dropped their latest single entitled, “On Lock”.  Listeners beware. This product has been known to blow up and cause fires in a variety of stereo systems, due to the super-hot fire provided by this crew. TRVP HIPPI3Z is a team-up that has risen as great exemplars of righteous chaos. Their supersonic sound and hard-nosed imagery gives them a mysterious sheen, but the duo have grounded themselves via booming production, and a sonorous verbal presence, coupled with their willingness to fuck you up. Their chest-beating bravado is explosive on “IDGAF (Prod. THZ)”,

Eddy Mann: “Simple Things” will leave you breathless and in a state of euphoria

At first as a musician, I created music, then as an A&R executive I challenged it, now as a music reviewer, I explore it.  Of the three, the latter is the most difficult. Criticizing or appraising somebody else’s creation is no easy task. Enjoying it is one thing, understanding it another, and translating it is even more arduous. The funny thing is, I’ve always hated describing music. It’s such a volatile and subjective art, that nobody should really have the authority or the presumptuous audacity to judge the level of enjoyment or emotion any one piece of music is capable

Kitson Lau: “Be By Your Side” – an expressive paean to love’s transformative powers

Kitson Lau wears many hats – a musician, songwriter, singer and graphic designer, he is also a medical graduate. Initially without any musical background, Kitson became inspired by Norwegian record producer and DJ, Alan Walker. This passion drove him to learn music and song production. And soon, with dedication and focus Kitson Lau hit the top of the China Kanjian ING 10 Charts with his Mandopop albums. Since signing to Sony Music Entertainment Malaysia, Kitson has been encouraged to record English songs, so now he is making his official debut via Sony, with the song “Be By Your Side”, which

Earpiphany: “Ultraviolet Dreams and Other Songs” – multi-faceted emotions

Dan G.Hagerman aka Earpiphany is a songwriter, arranger, composer who writes many genres, including his latest pop-rock offering, “Ultraviolet Dreams”, done with Aubrey Whitfield, a talented female music producer from the U.K. who also does the vocals. The track is taken from the “Ultraviolet Dreams and Other Songs” EP. Dan lives near Los Angeles with his lovely Japanese wife of thirty-five years, Reiko, and his daughter, Holly. “We love Japan, sushi and Huskies!” affirms Hagerman. In any potential mythology built up around the music of Earpiphany on “Ultraviolet Dreams”, Whitfield may represent an irrepressibly sanguine voice and Hagerman the barbed

Nigma: “Moonlit Halos” – draws inspiration from a wide range of influences

Nigma is a 20 year old rapper who has a penchant for spitting over intricately styled beats and has found recent strides in cinematic sounds, creating an essence of alternative Hip-Hop. He was born and raised in Rockland County, NY and currently lives in NYC. Fresh off the rack comes Nigma’s 7-track EP in all its leftfield glory, entitled “Moonlit Halos”. When you look at the rap landscape, there’s no-one quite like Nigma – past or present – whether it’s his personality, his lyrics or even his music productions.

He’s revels in contradiction; who defies all traditional hip-hop expectations. Hyper-active, yet somber, he draws inspiration from a wide range of influences. Most importantly, he seems to want to make music that lasts, concerned that audiences nowadays simply want party anthems.

Unafraid to sit down and really focus, creativity over ambition seems to be Nigma’s motto. Sure, he’s capable of making those party anthems, but they’re party anthems loaded with so much more than just tales of drinking, smoking, blowjobs and pills.

Compared to the many trap records these days that try to be weird but end up sounding pretty uniform and boring, “Moonlit Halos” brisk insularity — 7 tracks, with only one going over the four-minute mark and another over the five-minute mark — feels not only genuinely diverse, but pretty eclectic too, and eclectic-ness isn’t something we get much of, even in experimental hip-hop.

The raps are at a peak here, but it’s the beats on the album that you also consistently sink your ears into, and maybe with the exception of “Light (HTML)”, which I didn’t particularly like, there aren’t any weak cuts here.

Right from the start, on “Shadow Intro”, you’ll know that Nigma’s going to be taking you into some really cavernous and disturbed sonic territory: The effect of all those contrasts ends up creepy because though the mood is uniformly anxious, it seems like it’s just going to keep flowing over you like molasses.

He doesn’t have to follow any of the rules that major label artists are forced to treat as law. He is lawless, erratic, and full of surprises. That’s what makes this release so exciting, I don’t think anyone truly knows what to expect, and even the wildest imagination will likely appear humdrum in comparison.

The most disappointing decision that Nigma could ever make with his music would be to normalize himself. As long as he’s embracing the strange, embodying himself, he will always be more interesting than most.

“Moonlit Halos” remains coherent and cohesive because Nigma maintains the same atmosphere and tone throughout. And although doing so makes this EP much more fulfilling as a whole, it also doesn’t place tighter restrictions on each individual track, allowing songs like “The Darkness” and “EYE AM” to work brilliantly within the confines of this record.

The Rockland County native not only elevates his lyricism, but also compliments said lyricism with atmospheric production and distinct flows that accentuate everything he’s saying. In fact, Nigma has the cheat code for infinite flows, either riding with or fighting against his beats.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: “Fences / The Gate”, “All This Love” and “Lazarus Outro”

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