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

Nega Blast X: “She’s a Devil with an Angel’s Face” – an era of pastels, neon and shoulder pads

Nega Blast X is a trance techno industrial music project formed in 2010 by music producer Dominic R. Daniels. He is many things, but he is no copycat. Daniels is still a skilled arranger of synthesized sounds who usually dabbles in trance, techno and industrial soundscapes. But pop culture’s obsession with the 1980s seemed to have reached something of a fever pitch in 2017. A lot of the proof is in the various TV series’ which have been paying faithful, loving tribute to the era of pastels, neon and shoulder pads. It’s only natural for this revival to warrant its own soundtrack. You can go crate-digging for all the best classic LPs of the time, but it’s just as appropriate to check out contemporary artists who are faithfully recreating the era.

Nega Blast X‘s love for the genre and period is relatively irony-free. It’s not a coy, satirical wink at a bygone era; his commitment to the aural aesthetic shows a genuine appreciation for a much-maligned genre. No doubt this attitude will establish him as a ‘80s revivalist of the highest order.

The EP “She’s a Devil with an Angel’s Face”, is a separate electronic, hip hop and pop music project from Nega Blast X, featuring original music in collaboration with Serbian music producer Duumix. It also showcases the vocal talents of Sam Clem and Bellz. Influences are Shannon, Biggie Smalls, Michael Jackson, Ice Cube, Grandmaster Flash and MC Hammer. The EP will be released via iTunes during February of 2018. Shuffling through the tracks, it quickly becomes evident that for someone who is essentially reinventing the classic synthesizer genre via classic 80’s motifs, Nega Blast X shows a refreshing restlessness.

Nega Blast X and Duumix inject plenty of hooks and sonic layers on “She’s a Devil with an Angel’s Face”, that will remind you of your favorite artists and songs of the eighties, but it never seems overstuffed. If anything, he probably holds back more than he should. But it’s all handled with an appropriately deft touch.

Daniels knows that there is an enthusiastic audience for Reagan-era synths, but it works best in moderation. The sounds of Shannon, Biggie Smalls, Michael Jackson, Ice Cube, Grandmaster Flash and MC Hammer are each linked to a certain song in the set here. I won’t tell which they are, as that will spoil half the fun of listening to this EP, but you’ll easily guess the tunes as Nega Blast X and crew nail each performance with authentic flair.

These songs may be purely synth generated, but “She’s a Devil with an Angel’s Face” is an honest, oddly humanistic release from an artist with a glorious keyboard arsenal who knows how to use it.  Happily stuck in the 80s, Daniels revels in its grooving glory, often producing funky basslines, synth leads and thick virtual strings or pad sections and other sounds invented during the last forty years.

The set is absolutely loaded with rolling grooves in pretty much every tune. And while there is thematic continuity across the set, with layers and layers of synths doing just about all the work, each of these songs have their own distinct personalities.

Sam Clem’s resonating voice perfectly mimics our eighties heroes, whether his rapping on “Soldier Vigilante”, “Sizzle Just Sizzle” and “Hush Hush Not Speak The Truth To Speak”, or whether his singing out funky anthems like “Ashes To Ashes” and “She’s A Devil With An Angel’s Face”. Bellz belts out “Get The Groove On” with the same soulful grace.

On this EP the Burbank music arranger and author, Dominic R Daniels, has demonstrated growth that only a musician with at least a decade of experience can accomplish. He has proven on all of his other album releases that he’s capable at pulling together the most far-ranging otherworldly rhythms and sounds possible.

Here he confirms, together with Serbian producer Duumix, that he can do exactly the opposite. It didn’t take long for the entire Ep to feel like a comfortable old shoe, something you could wear all the time. In the retro electronica realm, you could do much worse than pick up a copy of “She’s a Devil with an Angel’s Face” – a near-instant-classic release!

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