J.Dot & KD: “To Whom It May Concern” – Low on frills and rich with introspection!

I noticed that J.Dot makes his best music when he’s rapping about being a responsible man, or when he’s creating something with substance and meaning, as opposed to trying to make contemporary radio hits or battle rhymes (although he is an excellent wordsmith).  This is mostly what happens on his 4 track EP, “To Whom It May Concern”, that narrates the evolution of relationships in its various forms. To put it all in perspective, this sounds like a powerful and mature work. Something tells me J.Dot experienced things that impacted him over the past years and this album is bred

Jack Soundfield: “Shine” – You can dig deep or soar to the shore

By profession Jack Soundfield is an engineer who has travelled around the world. He has lived in Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Besides uncovering the secrets of the globe Jack has a passion for music and experimenting with instruments and sounds.  “Before publishing a song, it is mine alone,” says Soundfield. “After publishing it, anyone can listen to it and decide whether to identify with it, or love it, or both.” Jack, who has been composing music since 2009, recently released his debut album, entitled “Shine”. “I have to admit,” explained Soundfield, “that my girlfriend – a solfège teacher of the

G.H. Hat: “Piano Jam 2 (Ode To Kygo)” – an authentic human expression

Modern acceptance, or lack there of, in electronic music hardly comes as a surprise. Just look back through the history of music and how the 17th century technology spread. Musicians no longer had to master a particular bow technique on the violin or cello in order to play the perfect note – They just had to press a key. Can you imagine the horror of the purists at the time? They probably all thought that the piano was destroying the soul of the music. What it did though was simplify things. It reduced what was really essential and human. People

JaVez: “When I Was Uptown” has the power to captivate audiences

JaVez is a 23 year old Maryland recording artist who sings, raps, produces, and mixes his own music. The self-taught Baltimore area artist has a penchant for Kanye West, Usher, Jay Z, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Chris Brown. He also grew up listening to singers like Brian McKnight and R. Kelly. JaVez plans to one day be a successful CEO of a record label and iconic recording artist. JaVez is the true definition of an artist, he isn’t afraid to be himself and put himself out there. The lyrics alone prove that. Add in some fantastic production and the

HR Live At CBGB’s 1984 – an essential part of alternative music and punk culture

HR is most well known as the lead singer of revolutionary reggae punk rock band Bad Brains. In their day Bad Brains could have been easily mentioned in the same breath as The Ramones, The Sex Pistols or The Clash, such was their greatness. Yet the band has evolved many times in its long history, playing across many genres of music including jazz, hardcore punk, alternative rock and reggae. HR has been making music since 1976 with Bad Brains, and along the way until today, he has been acclaimed for his reckless punk screaming just as much as he has

Callum Crighton: “The Rose” – a strong ear-catching melody

Even while everything I know about my musical taste should violently reject the cheese-camp synth pop and adorable mainstream swoon songs of the 80’s, I’ve enjoyed that music ever since I was first tricked into listening to the smooth, velvety crooning of the Brit pop chart invasion during that period. I can’t really explain why I loved that music so much, I guess for the same reason people eat cheesecake: It’s loaded with sugar, almost unbearably sweet, and probably isn’t the healthiest for you, but goddamn if it doesn’t make you feel so good inside when you eat it up.

Virgil Blue: “Pain Of Loss” – gorgeous washes of sound

Virgil Blue has released his debut EP entitled “Pain Of Loss”. Inspired and influenced by Prince and Sade, Virgil, a multi-instrumentalist who started out making music at the age of six, when he picked up the saxophone, produced much of the music that can be heard on this EP. Virgil who recently moved from the suburbs of Detroit to LA has put together 6 smooth trance-like tracks that that flaunts ambient, RnB and trip-hop flavors. If you’re looking for something atmospheric and hypnotizing, then this recording may be of serious interest to you. Fragile, tender and soulful, Virgil Blue’s voice will

Big Chris: ‘Bad Timing’ – high quality production and seamless transitions

After a successful release of his last single ‘F The World’ in Summer of 2016, UK based RnB artist and producer Big Chris releases his newest album ‘Bad Timing’ available via all major media providers. Recorded by Big Chris and John Robinson at Clique Studios, London and Miami Live, Miami. The album mix was finalized by Mixbytrip at Circle House Miami. Inspirations of The Dream, Mike Posner and R Kelly can be heard throughout. This album has some really original, unique, futuristic cuts on it, as would be expected. Big Chris is a more audacious artist than most in the R&B game right now, because he says what

Shellee Coley: “Story Like This” – a maturity that is mesmerizing!

Shellee Coley is a Texas-based singer-songwriter that has released three full length albums. Her current focus is a 5 song book of musical meditations called The Becoming Project that is being released one song or “chapter” at a time by the independent label Red Tree Music Group. Essentially, Shellee has created a unique style that blurs the boundaries between genres and categories. There are recognizable influences from classic songwriters like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Lennon & McCartney and Bob Dylan, as well as from some more current acts. Coley is able to absorb them all, and filter them through her own sensibilities

All Atomic: “? ? ? (Track With No Name)” builds multiple climaxes and movements

All Atomic is an electronic music producer and artist from Bristol, UK. He has just released his debut for indie label Pink Dolphin Music, entitled – “? ? ? (Track With No Name)”. The majority of listeners will agree that this track is perhaps one of the best examples of wickedly detailed and technically rich techno and house out there. If that is a mouth-full, it should be. All Atomic has defined the amazingly intricate form of electronic dance music that weaves clever beats into unusual and unexpected sounds to create a masterpiece of rhythmic movement and audio ecstasy. It’s

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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