Ricko Capito - BBB Burial

Ricko Capito – BBB Burial

This new single from Ricko Capito has a number of things going for it. Firstly Caps (not the original Cappo/Caps, I must point out) has a gravelled, steady and slightly menacing quality to his sound and flow which feels as though it’s made for the tough 808 based beat as it shakes you to bits. Secondly, there are a lot of references to old video games – something I’m pretty font of.

Caps has a gravelled, steady and slightly menacing quality to his sound and flow

The video is a simple but effective talking head style clip; a solitary red light source creates a sense of ill-ease, facilitated by the air raid horns in the background.
My ears are now poised to prick up to news of Capito’s forthcoming mixtape, Headtop season 1. Yours?

Authenticity

The Foreign Exchange – Authenticity

Authenticity is the third album from the Grammy nominated collaboration of Phonte and Nicolay, and shows a further maturation of The Foreign Exchange. If the leap from their first album Connected to second Leave It All Behind was a revolution, Authenticity is an evolution in the Foreign Exchange’s sound.

Continuing to showcase Phonte’s vocal talents, once again this is predominantly a soul album, with Phonte choosing only one track to rhyme on. A modest cast of guests includes FE Music artists Median, Darrien Brockington and YahZarah, as well as Chantae Cann and Jesse Boykins III.

If the leap from their first album ‘Connected’ to second ‘Leave It All Behind’ was a revolution, ‘Authenticity’ is an evolution in the Foreign Exchange’s sound.

The aching, often self loathing, powerlessness over love is the primary subject matter for Phonte’s tender vocals. With so many different emotions that we attach to love, each track shows that it can mean different things, at different times, to different people. The overarching moral to the LP as I saw it is that ultimately love is a two way street – a point beautifully made by the decision to put the final track to YahZarah’s solo talent.

The roller coaster ride of emotion is echoed in the instrumentals, with Nicolay’s production talents shining through a variety of sophisticated synthetic arrangements. I love how instrumentals are given room to breathe throughout the LP, with a few extended intros and outros, and poignant shorts at the end of titled tracks. I also love how totally involving the arrangements are made through really taking advantage of the stereo field, an opportunity often left untapped lately.

The Foreign Exchange go from strength to strength, and this is one of my albums of the year. Available directly from The Foreign Exchange music store on double vinyl, as well as CD and MP3 download, check out the video to the lead single below…

The Dream Team Coalition - Irrational Exuberance

The Dreamteam Coalition – Irrational Exuberance

The Dreamteam Coalition is a jazz, experimental and hip hop group hailing from Houston, Texas. They’ve a recent mixtape which splices some well known beats and sample based beds with live instrumentation and above average emceeing, but this demo recording is full, no excuses, jazz.

It’s raw, but it’s probably better that way.

The gritty recording only serves to accentuate the emotion that grips the track’s progression, as the whispers of the horns transform into a guttural shout, the strokes of the drums turn to belts around the developing bass and leave the keys to lick the edges of the wounded palette. It’s raw, but it’s probably better that way.

Ghostpoet

Ghostpoet – Cash and Carry Me Home

Take a look at this video for Ghostpoet’s new single Cash and Carry Me Home. Feel that? It’s massive anticipation for his forthcoming LP, brewing inside you.

The track’s 3am electro overtones marry Ghostpoet’s dulcet yet splintered, confident yet loose delivery as he regales a lonely episode over indulging on the bottle.

3am electro overtones marry Ghostpoet’s dulcet yet splintered, confident yet loose delivery

Ghostpoet’s refreshing sound is also on display on his recent EP The Sound of Strangers (linked below), with three classy, modern hip hop beats and a great use of A Tribe Called Quest’s Electric Relaxation beat.

Kashmere - Galaktus: Power Cosmic

Kashmere – Galaktus: Power Cosmic

Four years in the making, UK Hip Hop veteran Kashmere the Iguana Man’s third LP is upon us.

The theme of the album draws heavily upon Marvel Comics mythology, as Kashmere adopts the persona of Galaktus, a demi god of the Marvel Universe. Armed with such omnipotence, Kashmere goes interstellar with his tales of drugs, debauchery, and braggadocio; regaling too his inception and his creation of his first herald, the Silver Surfer.

Kashmere goes interstellar with his tales of drugs, debauchery, and braggadocio

The major points of canon are warped and appropriated with panache, and maybe some even finer points went over this comic book layman’s dome piece.

Production is handled by Jazz T and Zygote, who paint a seedy montage of thick breaks and vintage TV themes, both totally coherent as an album and hazily timeless in style. A side effect of a cohesive album is space for the seldom seen DJ track to make a welcome appearance. DJ Random’s on the cut, and the second half of the LP is littered with more excellent guests including Jehst, Micall Parknsun, Ransom Badbones, Daamacide, Severe, and Chubby Alcoholic.

Galaktus: Power Cosmic is available as CD, download, and a limited hand numbered double vinyl from Boot Recordings. Recommended!

Kashmere – The Corporation ft Jehst & Micall Parknsun by Oh Drat

Stargrazer - Trieste

Stargrazer – Trieste

Trieste is a concept album which seeks to put the listener into the shoes of Jaques Piccard and Lt Don Walsh, the only two men to have ever travelled to the bottom of the world’s deepest ocean.

not a party starter or even a contemplative number, but a compelling narrative that left me feeling electric.

Comprising by turn tranquility, wonder, foreboding and promise, the 15 minute piece succeeded in instilling an other worldly feeling in me. Best listened to in headphones, immersing yourself in this piece is an enriching experience – not a party starter or even a contemplative number, but a compelling narrative that left me feeling electric.

There’s a blurb on the Bandcamp page, linked below, which details some backstory about the mission, and it will complement the music perfectly. …And yes, I realise that given the subject matter feeling ‘electric’ might not have been the most appropriate choice of words.

Numark V7 and X5

Review: Numark V7 and X5

The following is an excerpt from my full review, which is available at DJ Tech Tools. Head over to read it in its entirety.

The DJ equipment industry has been in a state of change for a while, not least because the traditional paradigm for club DJing has been turned on its head and shaken until it no longer knows which way is up. Digital music and the advent of controllerist techniques have changed what DJs need and expect from equipment – but without, as yet, any standardisation in the market, manufacturers are left to their own devices to experiment.

Digital music and the advent of controllerist techniques have changed what DJs need and expect from equipment

Numark are no strangers to experimentation, and the Itch based NS7 was their first foray into the world of prestige, media-less controllers, holding the hand of the then new to market Itch from Serato. Now we have the V7 and X5, which take some of the key technologies developed for the NS7 and expand them into standalone products. How does the V7 stand up against CD decks and DVS solutions, and where does the X5 fit in the endless pile of two channel mixers?

To read the full review and drool over few pictures, head over to DJ Tech Tools for the whole article.

Scratch Live

New Serato Scratch Live ASIO and CoreAudio support

In case you’re not sure what this means, new (currently beta) drivers for Rane’s SL3 and Sixty-Eight hardware allow them to be used as standard audio interfaces. Since their inception, the hardware that powers Serato Scratch Live has been interfaced with proprietary drivers or (Windows only) ASIO support. Now, though, all that’s changed – providing you’re the proud owner of one of the prestige models in the Scratch Live lineup, the SL3 or Sixty-Eight mixer.

new (currently beta) drivers for Rane’s SL3 and Sixty-Eight hardware allow them to be used as standard audio interfaces.

This is great news for people drawn to the Scratch Live software, but feeling somewhat short changed by the fact that just about all DVS solutions, notably NI’s Audio 4 and 8, can be used as audio interfaces to power their other music software. It’s a shame there’s no word of SL1 core audio support, but this is definitely something to look forward to for the people with the right hardware.
Take a look at this forum post to get hold of the beta drivers, or keep your eye out for the final versions soon. There’s also a 2.2 update for Scratch Live in beta available here, which brings better effects support for TTM57 users, integrates Vestax’s VFX1 effects controller, and a few pages of bug fixes.

Maverick Sabre - Travelling Man Mixtape

Maverick Sabre – The Travelling Man Mixtape

Maverick Sabre, the man you may recently have heard on the chorus of Professor Green’s Jungle, has a new 10 track mixtape available for free download.

Run To The Roof, the mixtape’s opener, sets the stage for the entire set as its stark and aggressive landscape morphs into a subtly optimistic and graceful two step.

more than capable of maintaining an entire track, indeed the mixtape showcases Sabre’s versatility as a singer, guitarist, and sometime emcee.

Of the ten tracks, three feature guests; from emcees Footsie, Macca, and my favourite, Wretch 32 on the lead single Sometimes. It’s heartening to see that Maverick Sabre is more than capable of maintaining an entire track, and indeed the mixtape showcases Sabre’s versatility as a singer, guitarist, and sometime emcee.

The strengths of the set come from Sabre’s songwriting skills, drawing on his childhood move from London to Ireland, personal experiences and societal observations, and even the love song of Let Me Show You – the wide variety of genre on display mean that there’ll likely be something to your taste, if not every track.

Length and track count is spot on, as Sabre abstains from many artists’ often overwhelming habit of over-filling their mixtapes – indeed, in many ways it’s only the demo tape sound to some of the tracks that belie an album quality release. All the more impressive, then, that’s it’s a free download.

Good Kids Sprouting Horns - EPTWO

Good Kids Sprouting Horns – EPTWO

EPTWO is a new six track EP from Good Kids Sprouting Horns, a three piece from Portland.
The EP is at its raw best in the sandblasted soul of Miniature Cowboys and (Afghan Whigs cover) When We Two Parted; also welcome are the hints at chiptune from Seven Up and Black Ice.

the band’s claim that the EP was recorded “crudely over the span of a couple of days” explains both its uninhibited sound and its coherence

There was enough diversity of tempo, emotion, and sound design in EPTWO to pique my interest solidly throughout, and the band’s claim that the EP was recorded “crudely over the span of a couple of days” explains both its uninhibited sound and its coherence as a piece. It’s free, too.

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