I'm in the music listening business and let me tell you, business is booming. I've got a veritable honeypot of excellent artists that are long overdue in garnering some praise. So without further ado, let's dive in! (P.S. Next post will be pictures, stay tuned!)
Dennis Coffey_All Your Goodies Are Gone feat. Mayer Hawthorne (Shigeto remix) by SHIGETO
Zach Saginaw, aka Shigeto, is a Michigan-bred electronica genius. Known by his middle name, which means "to grow bigger", he has definitely lived up to his moniker. With a solid library of stunning tracks under his belt Shigeto is a superstar in the field of modern electronica. Characterized by rich, textured beats and powerfully nuanced melodies brought forth through a multitude of mediums and sounds Shigeto stands on a high pillar, his style is unique among his peers. Two EP's and a full-length album, Full Circle , have carried Shigeto to new heights as he continues to shatter the norm. This is an artist you do not want to miss out on.
Shigeto's remix of Dennis Coffey's "All Your Goodies Are Gone" pays homage to his early childhood influences of motown and funk by taking the soul of this smooth heartbreak ballad and catapulting it to new heights. Cascading bass beats and twitching percussion layered atop spacey guitar samples and brass set the atmosphere for this tonal masterpiece. As Dennis Coffey's aching voice enters the aural landscape the mood is finally set, the smooth style of the original piece is preserved yet enhanced by the funky manipulation of Shigeto. Absolutely brilliant.
Amnesia by Handbook
Hanbook, a UK-based beats maker and producer, has been on my list for a long time now. Cranking out new sounds like a madman this avid beat wielder has been developing a sound and following on Soundcloud for quite some time, even collaborating with rappers on a few songs to create absolutely sick tracks.( <a href="http://soundcloud.com/handbook/water-molecules-feat-shuteyes">Water Molecules</a> , I'm looking at you). However with the release of a new track just days ago I figured it is about time to feature him, as the future may be a-changin.
Amnesia is a chance of pace for Handbook. As mentioned in his description it is the first track he has produced in awhile that contains no samples -- original sounds only inquire within. Brimming with waves of electronic sines and heartfelt strings this track takes a different turn from his usual, evoking an nebulaic image that is completed by the presence of eastern-eque string plucking. A refreshing deviation from the norm, I'll be eager to see what else Handbook is cooking up. Stay tuned!
Shell of Light (Shlohmo Remix) - Burial by shlohmo
Next up is Shlohmo, an LA-based trip-hop and electronica producer. With a plethora of tracks behind him and very little bio info to be found, Shlohmo comes off as the kind of artist who focuses on the music, not the publicity. From the wedidit collective of which Shlohmo is a part of ," Wedidit is a collective of dudes and guys, mostly from the LA area, who make shit and want to give you the shit we make.
-Professionally Unprofessional since 1990"
And that just about sums up the intro for Shlohmo, let's let the music do the talking now.
In his remix of the classic "Shell of Light" by Burial Shlohmo takes the already ethereal and minimalist style of Burial and brings it to a new level. Complete with sparse percussion, deep, penetrating bass lines, and a level of reverb reserved for the only best of trip-hop and minimal dubstep Shell of Light is transformed in to a other-worldly, floating abstract of musical euphoria.
Make sure to watch for more Shlohmo soon, his Soundcloud tracks are few, but their quality is immense.
Ghostfunk - 10 - Funky Criminology by Max Tannone
A recurring favorite of mine, Max Tannone is the creative genius behind Mos Dub, a mashup of Mos Def lyrics and fantastic reggae/roots, Dub Kweli, a fusion of Talib Kweli and reggae, and a multitude of other mashups featuring the Beastie Boys, Radiohead, and Selene. Among the mash-up scene Max Tannone stands alone as one of the most innovative and talented in his field. He has a knack for throwing together clashing genres and blending the two in to a work so superbly addictive and surprising you can't help but raise your eyesbrows on every track change.
In his newest project Max combines the forceful rhyming of Ghostface Killah with retro afro-funk and psychedelic rock to forge an high-energy, fantastically spunky jumble of organ solos, cowbell, and heated words. Funky Criminology, the last track on the album, upholds the quality mashing skills Max is so known for and keeps you nodding your head the entire span of the track.
Awakenings by Clear Blue
In a change of pace, instrumental artist Clear Blue sets the stage for a new take on Hip-Hop. Based in New Jersey this creative force and musician-for-hire has been blowing my expectations out of the water for some time now. His style, though backed by standard rolling/off beat percussion so familiar to the instrumental hip-hop genre, presents an element of off-the-beaten-path production that is new, at least to me, for hip-hop. A mix of samples, synths, and targeted, themed continuity to his beats breathe a magic in to his style that keeps me coming back for me.
In his latest release, Awakenings, a wall of unique, droning synths and sitar-style melodies emanate from the background of this mesmerizing intrumental. Along with perfectly inserted bass and a tamborine that constantly unwinds like a toy the atmosphere set in this track is dreamy, yet powerful and very much danceable. The subtlety found in this track keeps me coming back for more, I hope to see great things from Clear Blue in the future. Keep an eye on this one!
Propeller Seeds by imogenheap
Wow. What can I say about this track that doesn't include the word STUNNING? Imogen Heap, known most for her song Hide and Seek, is so much more than that. Since her first album, Speak for Yourself, Imogen Heap has released two albums each trumping the last in creativity and individuality. Now, as she approaches her 4th solo album, she has taken a new approach to sound shaping.
As exhibited in Propeller Seeds, Imogen Heap has developed an incredibly strong sense of sound staging and story telling through her music. Though the concept is not new, her use of these elements is unprecedented in today's mainstream culture. To see a relatively pop-music associated artist change her sound so vastly over the course of her career, and explore such strong concepts is deeply touching to me and greatly deserving of respect. From the ambiance of a restaurant to the perfectly crafted sounds of limbs creaking and leaves rustling, every second of this track, and what I am assuming will be the album, is expertly crafted and painstakingly attended too. This album will be phenomenal.