Ahang Rooz - Collections

Ahang Rooz – Collections

I urge you to listen to all three collections of song snippets from Ahang Rooz – all on their Bandcamp. The collections here are a fascinating look into the music of 1960s and 1970s Iran and Afghanistan, ranging from straight up American styled funk and soul to pieces melding the jazz, soul, funk and psychedelic influences the west undeniably provided with local instrumentation, styles, and vocals.

there’s ample inspiration in these collections

Both sides of the coin have incredible moments, and there’s ample inspiration in these collections. Inspiration accompanied by the sobering reality that artistic expression is still illegal in Iran and Afghanistan, making these collections all the more important a document of the nations’ artistic heritage …

J*DaVeY - Evil Christian Cop: The MIstakes

J*DaVeY – Evil Christian Cop: The Great Mistakes

There’s a nice subtle link here from my last piece about genre (Kings of the City’s Darkness); J*DaVeY’s Evil Christian Cop has a few different sounds in the melting pot, from the soft rock sounds of Nirvana covering Smells Like Teen Spirit new wave overtones of Lazy Daze all the way over to the wonkiest of wonky Trans – but it’s all held together with a certain brand of electronica that’s come from a very definite place.

all held together with a certain brand of electronica that’s come from a very definite place

Going further to illustrate my point is the way that so there are so many genre names for a huge sea of electronica with enough homogeneity to fit in the same boat – simply because the reference points that different people have come from to get to glitch hop/wonky/skwee/beats/gargotron provide counter points of equal distance. A few days ago, I asked how you approach genre; the de facto schema you use for the sounds, speeds, moods and atmospheres you aim for in your music may well benefit from a lateral step, but subconsciously is the end result almost pre defined?

Bilal - Levels

Bilal – Levels

His debut LP, First Born Second, was released during ‘neo soul’s rallying period,  amongst his contemporaries the likes of Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Musiq Soulchild, D’Angelo and so on. Bilal’s more avant-garde approach to his sound, though, had the LP stand out with a few curveballs – a facet of his music that was echoed in last year’s follow up Airtight’s Revenge.

superb production seems to reference a melting pot of psych and prog rock, house, and jazz

Levels is one of those tracks, as Shafiq Husayn (with co-production from Bilal)’s superb production seems to reference a melting pot of psych and prog rock, house, and jazz, the unrelenting four on the floor drum beat an escaped voltage signal in a faulty machine, overdriven guitars imposing themselves as soft strings, pianos and synth tones dance around. Bilal’s vocal is the personification of delicate beauty.

Psychadelic, astral themed video direction by none other than Flying Lotus is totally mesmerising, and dare I say, made me think ‘Street Fighter’ in parts… watch and see if you agree.

Levels is available as an EP, which features the original, the instrumental, a Flying Lotus re-edit, and the SonnyMoon Remix. You can get it from iTunes

FULL SCREEN
The Sounds of VTech / Bilal Levels   

Let's Buy Happiness - Fast Fast

Let’s Buy Happiness – Fast Fast

Inspiration can come in many forms, and a rounded palate is as important as a specialism. It’s with that mentality that I juggle something of a dilemma from time to time in my tireless quest to provide a publication of merit… actually, that’s a lie. I’m often tired. Digressions aside, I know my strengths; if I don’t feel qualified to speak on something, I tend avoid it so as not to do it an injustice (or avoid embarrassing myself by overstating its value). But, with the sentiment of my first point in mind, there’s definitely value in reaching out of one’s comfort zone, and if yours is similar to mine then Let’s Buy Happiness is definitely reaching.

Fast Fast feels in a near perpetual state of buildup, tension expertly peaking, and then peaking further

The female led group, held in high regard in circles that actually know what they’re talking about, is set to release this single and B side on the 28th of February. Fast Fast feels in a near perpetual state of buildup, tension expertly peaking, and then peaking further, making the eventual payoff akin to the steam lid blowing off a kettle. Ending without any concession to a cool down, it’s perfectly accompanied by the soft, pensive acoustic turn in Devil Show.

Where do you feel your strengths and weaknesses lie when it comes to genre – and do you feel a synoptic influence to all art, regardless of its genre or medium? I’d love to know.

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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