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

Emmanuel Dalmas – a natural ear for a good melody!

Emmanuel Dalmas is a multi-genre music composer from the South West of France. A company founder and high level executive in the scientific industry he started composing in late November 2016 as a weekend hobby, and continued feeling an intense growing pleasure in learning more and progressing in music composition. Dalmas has since been consolidating both his craft and catalog, with a series of single releases that move between Pop, Easy Listening, EDM, as well songs in his native French tongue. From his home studio Emmanuel produces instrumental and vocal tracks, engaging talented male and female voices to complete his

Astroblue Express: “Quarter to Somewhere” – Five stars with no hesitation!

Astroblue Express is a new indie band that fuses electronic music with experimental R&B and soprano vocals, dream pop, trip-hop, orchestral and soundtrack music. “Quarter to Somewhere” is their debut album. I consider this one of the best albums that I have come across in its genre, though I haven’t yet decided which genre! It represents the perfect marriage of avant-garde experimentalism, sugary dream pop and baroque electronica. The music is driving and propulsive at times and slow and hypnotic at others, but never oppressive, always maintaining a certain playfulness.

The instrumentation throughout the tracks is unique and while seemingly uncomplicated in some instances when listening to any isolated element, it is layered and mixed in such a manner that an unpredictable complexity ensues. The female voice is sweet, haunting, and searing in equal measures and the singer wields it with absolute mastery. It truly is as close to a perfect album, in its intent to both challenge and soothe the listener, as I have heard in years. Five stars with no hesitation.

Throughout “Quarter to Somewhere”, Astroblue Express have taken each new track as a stop alongside a winding path, finding a wrinkle to their sound (be it triphop, shoegaze, dream pop, lounge chill, or what-have-you) and following it a few steps further.

A straight 12 tracks of excellence, the first few listens through the album almost overwhelm the listener, there is so much to listen for and enjoy. The album opens the with the haunting, spacey string strikes. As the light percussion, bass, and textural chords come in playfully, this is when “Quarter to Somewhere” begins and never let’s go.

The tender and surreal vocals float airily over the subtly pulsating band behind it on “Catch Me”, while the tender melody is the primary focus. Lyrically, Astroblue Express sings rather poetic and sometimes cryptic lyrics. “Type It” would probably one of the catchiest tracks on the album, if you could at all call this type of mood-inducing music, ‘catchy’.

The band has created a sound that is all their own. You won’t hear this mix of keyboards, swirling orchestral arrangements, and precise percussive interludes anywhere else – Especially adding their fractured spectral harmonies, as can be heard on the outstanding warm glow of “Midnight Drifter”. These vocals take you on a journey with its high soprano – pure glorious beauty.

Placed nearly in the middle of the album, “Origami Princess”, further pushes the boundaries of the band’s textural experiments and ambiguous sound. Despite the texture and ambiguity of their style, Astroblue Express has nothing to hide in their songs. The concrete bottom of the songs, their chord structure and rhythmic articulation, are just as fantastic as the overall product.

The tight-rope-walking band excels in the exotic art of experimental electronics and intoxicating dream pop, thriving on a diet of lush majesty. But here, on “Into The Beyond” the stripped-back informality – meticulously executed, of course – proves to be absolutely charming.

Something they repeat on the following track “Electronic Morning”. As much as “Type It” is catchy, “Boundless” has to be the most accessible track on the album. It has a well-defined beat and chorus which would endear it to radio programmers. The album closer, “Blues Fields”, is full of ethereal charm with its wonderful strings, and gorgeous instrumental flourishes.

I can’t emphasize enough how much I like this album. It provides some much needed change and fresh air in today’s music scene. This surely will end up on my shortlist of favorite albums of 2017. I just need to work out which genre I’ll file it under…

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