Thursday, 30 January 2014


Woohoooooo, thanks for 10,000 views! Nice to know that my ramblings aren't always going unheeded in a dusty corner of the internet. :) Keep 'em coming!

1) James Blake - '40455'

I'll start with this because I feel like unreleased James Blake is always welcome. Could he be teasing towards a new album? Let's hope! The song itself is alright, a pretty vocal sample and nice harmonies as usual. Having said that, it's nothing special or particularly memorable and doesn't show much progression from the artist, sounding relatively similar to tracks like 'Retrograde' or 'Our Love Comes Back'. 

2) Russell Gunn - 'Bass Head Jazz'

Well this isn't recent at all but I've only just heard it so CUT ME A BREAK, OKAY? Grammy-nominated Russell Gunn is a maestro of jazz/hip-hop fusion and 'Bass Head Jazz' is taken off his album Krunk Jazz, which showcases not only his skill as a jazz trumpeter but also his innovation in the genre. The pitch-bending drones underpinning this track constantly offset the harmonic stability of its meandering improvisations, lending the track a compelling weirdness without breaking its groove. 

3) Arca - 'Fluid Silhouettes'

Jesse Kanda (the genius behind this) produced these visuals to Arca's 'Fluid Silhouettes' for the Spring '14 collection of Montreal-based designer clothes brand SSENSE. Strange, beautiful and more than a bit uncanny, the video shows a series of metamorphic, androgynous figures 'dancing' to Arca's dissonant lines and rippling flow. The project seems to be exploring a means of expression through shape, whether this be visually or musically, and its potential to surpass boundaries. The sporadic synth chords provide a warped disco sound, while the beat feels primordial. The whole thing seems to epitomise uncompromised creative freedom, punctuated by the whisper of 'I need to do what I feel like doing, so let me go'.

4) Jagwar Ma - 'Come Save Me' (The Pachanga Boys Jagwar Pawar Version)

After securing their place on my radar with the amazing 15-minute epic 'Time' back in 2011, the German duo return with another lengthy creation, this time a rework of a composition by psychadelic dance band Jagwar Ma. Like many of the most skilful artists around, the Pachanga Boys raise the bar from good to excellent by gradually layering uplifting music with a meticulously executed build up. The result is slow-release energy that allows the artist to sustain your attention far beyond your average radio edit time constraints. Other perfect examples of this here and here.

5) Urulu - 'Rest'

This is my favourite song off of the new EP by stateside Urulu, Play Something With Words. The final track on the collection, 'Rest' rounds it out with a slower, more laid back groove. I love the smooth, lounge feel of the EP, providing something deep yet pleasingly light for the end of the night. 

6) Disclosure - 'F For You' ft. Mary J. Blige

How do you make a huge, bouncy, garage banger even better? You add Mary J. Blige and some striking, funky visuals.

7) Pezzner & Amina - 'Exit'

Amina's sensual vocals are a perfect counteraction of the harsh, syncopated stabs on this new single by long-established American DJ, Pezzner. 


I could rant for hours about the greatness of this Canadian jazz trio, and their choice of covers is always spot on. This is one of the two James Blake covers on their 2012 album BBNG2 (check out their version of 'Limit To Your Love' here), sitting happily alongside reworks of songs by Earl, Tyler, The Creator, Gucci Mane and Kanye.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Shivum Sharma - Flicker (lyrics)

Guess who's back with a brand new rap (/rhapsody) from a voice that will without doubt meet 2014 with unabridged success. Only eighteen years old, the warblings of Londoner Shivum Sharma are soulful beyond his years. After the blogging community met the release of his bedroom demo of 'Flicker' with pricked ears, the up-and-coming singer has teamed up with Kwes of Warp Records (who have brought us music from the likes of Flying Lotus, Mount Kimbie, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and so many more) with sublime results. His trembling vibrato compliments the elegiac tone of his lyrics with a charisma reminiscent of artists such as James Blake or Antony Hegarty. Once smoothed over a simple piano accompaniment and a sparse beat, all is treated to a good helping of reverb and the song takes on a dreamlike quality that eventually blends seamlessly into a gorgeous clarinet improvisation. Keep your ears peeled for future releases, because it'll be hard for him to disappear after this one.

If you enjoyed 'Flicker', you should also listen to TCTS's 'These Heights', which is proof that his vocals are suited just as well to upbeat, house/garage tracks as they are melancholic ballads.

As far as I know, these are the first lyrics for 'Flicker' available on t'internet. YOU'RE WELCOME!

You looked at me
As you spoke the words of a red rose,
The silence that followed, it cradled, I swallowed,
It could embrace it naturally.

And then you opened a gate,
It led to a path, which
Bloomed as we watched into perfect grass

And naïve I chased you blinded by petty fantasy,
The power of you, it drifted into me.

Desires posed as possibilities in my foolish head
And under your spell I drew the blinds over the red
And I saw white, only white,
Perhaps I diverted my sight to the daylight.

Oh I chased you blinded by petty fantasy 
The power of you, it drifted into me.

And then the light begun to flicker
And under it I begun to wither.

[melt into melodic wailing and glorious clarinet solo, mmmm.]