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

“Dead Duck” – SaFE’s rhymes are tight, and constant; he never misses a beat

“Dead Duck” is the debut album by Paterson, NJ artist, SaFE (Seven and Five-Eighths) an integral part of the M.O.B.Stars collective. The album loosely chronicles SaFE’s creative development and how it shapes his outlook on the climate of his art and industry. So how does this debut album stand up to what’s happening in the rest of the industry? It’s been an unfortunate trend in recent years for rappers to build their albums around two or three extremely powerful songs, while essentially using all the other tracks as filler. This, however, is not the case with “Dead Duck”. The record delivers quality from end-to-end, with little or no faltering. Sure, some songs are better than others, but every album has its ups and downs, even masterpieces. This is a refreshingly consistent album, and should serve as an example on how to make a 21st century hip-hop album.

SaFE’s delivery remains strong throughout the recording. He sounds like one of the new crown princes of the underground hip-hop world, and he knows it. You can almost feel it in the swaggering, yet commanding tone of his voice. SaFE’s rhymes are tight, and constant; he never misses a beat.

If anyone could have doubted what he is capable of doing, I’d be willing to wager quite a bit that they will be eating crow after hearing “Dead Duck” – and as if the fact that his vocal triumphs aren’t enough, the album features some great lyrical moments too, as SaFE works his way through topics such as “body image, the Reptilian conspiracy, abortion and domestic violence, courtship and matriarchal religions among other things.”

So, “Dead Duck” has great vocals and intelligent, well-constructed lyrics, but how does the music sound? This is where another one of the record’s greatest strengths comes into play: production value. You see, almost every song on “Dead Duck” was overseen by a different producer.

These range from what sounds like creative protégés to seasoned veterans, all putting in exiting work. The overall effect of having so many hands work on the album makes for a very unique experience. Each song maintains a certain sense of individuality, yet still feels similar enough to its peers to remain coherent.

The variety of samples, beats, and all-out instrumentation on “Dead Duck” makes the record sound virtuosic, yet incredibly polished. This album is a straight up example of how nearly everything can go right on a hip-hop album, if planned and executed with maximum commitment.

The lifeblood of the album though, is unsurprisingly, its songs. On the whole, the track list is quite exceptional. You have songs like “Hunger Music (Produced by CJBeatz)”, “Return Of The Hustle feat. TD Jakes (Produced by John Qwest)” and “Gotta Be Magic (Produced by BRAVESTARR)”, which are something like history lessons to make old-school hip-fans reminisce and new hip-hop fans drool over the delivery.

“Momentarily feat. Bretagne (Produced by Stringz)” and “Drake’s Lament [Wicked] (Produced by Arkutec)” reek of classic. “Man’s World Revisited (Produced by Nu Vintage)” has an exuberant feel to it, as does “Ghettoes Worldwide (Produced by Superstar O)”.

“Gotta Be Magic III (Produced by SevnthWonder)” features some of the best rhyming on the album, while “Krisna Parker [KnXwledge] (Produced by Arkutec)” begins with the defiant sounds of the narrator speaking out: “I wrote this song. I swear I wrote this song for everybody. You within earshot, if you’re what they call a hater, whoever, whatever you want, this song is for you…” “Dead Duck” is, at its core, a very strong album.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEM.O.B.Stars BANDCAMPSaFE BANDCAMPM.O.B.Stars SOUNDCLOUDSaFE SOUNDCLOUDM.O.B.Stars FACEBOOKM.O.B.Stars TWITTERSaFE TWITTER

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