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INsiders Guide: Ensemble Dal Diente, Tom Jenkins, BERRIES, ROB Rise on Belief, J Supreme, Malachiii, Cade Hoppe, Love You Later, The Prototypes…..

photo by Karjaka Studios

This isn’t a crossover album, exactly, but none of the music put forth on this album of compositions by Jeff Parker, Murat Çolak, and LJ White falls into easy categories. In every piece on this album, some number of pre-existing pop, trance, film music, musique concrète, or other elements have been transformed into music written for contemporary classical champions Ensemble Dal Niente. This album shares DNA with projects like Dal Niente’s 2016 collaboration with Deerhoof in that each of these composers has mined their own practices and inspirations to come up with something utterly new.

Scored for an unusual mix of players (two sopranos, saxophone, french horn, harp, cello, electric bass, violin, and random percussion instruments including ratchets and beer cans),  LJ White’s We Don’t Eat Dead Things adapts lyrics by Christopher the Conquered, a singer-songwriter based in Iowa. It opens with a tolling electric bass interspersed with the crackling of a beer can hitting harp strings – an asymmetric, slow groove that is gradually joined by ethereal instrumental melodies and the dreamlike singing of sopranos Amanda DeBoer Bartlett and Carrie Henneman Shaw. Chant-like lines and wild, squawking instrumental interruptions stir together wit and melody in ways biting, discordant, or rude.

The ensemble expands to sinfonietta size for Jeff Parker’s Water on Glass, which layers Parker’s hypnotic, percussive Korg MS-20 Monophonic Synthesizer sounds onto a series of alternately gorgeous and strange orchestral chords that vary in texture and weirdness in an otherworldly procession. A ringing melody enters halfway through the piece, played by harp, vibraphone, and piano, establishing a point of focus that is as ultimately satisfying as anything in Parker’s catalogue.

Finally, Murat Çolak’s epic SWAN deliberately merges electronic and avant classical sounds so seamlessly that it is hard to tell where the acoustic instruments end and the electronics begin. According to Çolak, “SWAN’s aesthetic is a blend of Turkish/Islamic and pop-cultural elements. The opening section, Korridor, is a drone/ambient movement with a big trance synth part. It is ritual music. Karaoke Mahshar is some sort of a Turkish Trance-Pop hybrid. The instrumental choir sing an emotional pop/“fantasy music” (a Turkish genre) melody in unison over a flamboyant electronic track. It’s the soundtrack to a club for the wasted, for emotional after-hours karaoke. The final section, Rod Modell, is a dub-techno flavored ambient movement. It is the sound of a huge, postapocalyptic mosque that evolves to a big, stretched monophonic melody, coming from a very old vinyl, a song from the old times.”

Photo: Drew Roxanne

TOM JENKINS has announced his signing to independent label Xtra Mile Recordings

The ex-Straight Lines frontman has also unveiled the video for new single “Back Roads”, a twinkling, country-tinged track that nods to Jenkins’ rural roots, highlighting the solitude and struggle of the job that has taken lives in the rural community.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR “BACK ROADS” HERE

Speaking of his excitement around the new signing, Tom says:

“I’ve had the privilege of sharing almost my whole journey in music with Xtra Mile Recordings. From the label releasing some of my favourite bands and artists, to eventually putting out my own music as a teenager and through to my early twenties with two Straight Lines album campaigns. I’m very excited to begin this new chapter as a solo artist and grateful to be working once again with a great group of people with a great vision and ideas for their roster.” 

Likewise, Xtra Mile Recordings add: 

“Everyone at Xtra Mile is thrilled to be reacquainted with Tom. We loved Straight Lines and have been floored by his new album. We can’t wait to start the campaign and continue our work with Tom in 2022 and beyond.” 

BERRIES take a deft stride forwards with new single: “Wall Of Noise” 

Grappling with themes of insecurity and isolation, the gritty new track combines tight instrumentation with jagged riff-roaring melodies. Calculated and convulsive in equal measure, “Wall of Noise” comes as a taste of the band’s debut album, which is expected for release this Summer.

STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE

Chewing through twangy vocals, angular guitar lines and a guttural garage-grunge feel, BERRIES cultivate a craggy landscape of layered noise-rock that is evocative of the “noise” that so many of us constantly find pervading our own thoughts. Pelting us from all angles with their meticulously frenetic sound, the band explain of the track: 

“Lyrically the song gives a nod to how self-doubt and how solitude can heighten and affect these feelings. Feeling lost or confused can produce the noisiest thoughts in your mind and that’s what we wanted to convey in this song.” 

And, while its lyricism might deal with notions of self-doubt, the track marks a clear, confident and calculated next step in the band’s development. 

Some people believe that mirrors reflect the life that a person creates, both positive and negative outcomes. New York-based rocker Robert Hoagland, musically known as ROB Rise on Belief, sings about this concept in his latest single Mirror Mirror,” out now. Crafting his most personal single to date, the musician’s lyrics focus on overcoming tragedy while remaining positive and persevering through it all. The first single to be released from his upcoming album, Bright Frame, this edgy rock track sets the overall tone of his second musical project. The amplified guitar-driven track was mastered by world-known engineer, Fred Kevorkian (The White Stripes, Dave Matthews Band, Iggy Pop, Willie Nelson) and recorded at the famed Avatar Studios, now known as Power Station. “Mirror Mirror,” is currently available on streaming platforms.

The name ‘J Supreme’ has been circulating over the last year with slots on Mixtape Madness, GRM and a run of successful video releases on his own YouTube channel elevating his underground heat. At 20 years old, his towering 6-foot 5 silhouette is unmissable, much like the mark he is making on the music scene, and with the release of debut single ‘Trust’, he makes a giant leap closer to his mainstream breakthrough.

STREAM/DOWNLOAD: J SUPREME – TRUST 

The South-East Londoner comes through with a real talking number, edged with a disheartened tone that reflects on a relationship with an untrustworthy lover. With contemplative lyrics and crisp, fresh vocals, J Supreme leads on a smooth, key-led beat with production courtesy of Heatmaky, Riserbeats & Wamsz. Accompanied by a Leon Matthews directed visual, the director and DOP responsible for drops from the likes of Central Cee, Digga D and Aitch, ‘Trust’ serves up a tasty slice of head bopping grit with a smooth, polished edge that puts J Supreme into an exciting lane alongside some of his contemporaries.

WATCH: J SUPREME – TRUST

Although J Supreme enters the limelight as one of the fresh names in the scene, it doesn’t take long to discover that he’s been building his own stage since the age of 14. Having first hopped into self-taught freestyling alongside his crowd of friends, he built on his passion by creating his own bedroom studio set up to record freestyles, mix & upload them to SoundCloud. By the age of 16 he was uploading his music to his own YouTube channel, gaining a cult fan base of kids his age, before branching into platforms such as GRM and Mixtape Madness.

Malachiii knows joy. Over the last few years, the young singer, rapper, and producer from Southern California has demonstrated an affection for elastic flows, buoyant rhythms, and melodies lit by a magic-hour glow. This ecstatic energy has made his take on pop, rap, and R&B infectious, but what makes it most special is his willingness to engage in heavy themes with a maturity and grace that belies his age. On songs like “Love Me,” his debut single with Motown Records, he sings and spits grinning bars, but he also ponders big questions. He’s come to understand that while his ultimate goal is to emit “love, light, positivity, and good vibes,” it’s most important to stay true to the real depths of his experience, even if it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Malachiii grew up with the urge to perform, but it was after going on tour with GRAMMY-winning composer AR Rahman at the age of 14 that he felt inspired to write and produce his own music. Over the years, his ability to translate relatable emotions into hooks earned him a publishing deal with Electric Feel (Post Malone, Iann Dior, 24KGoldn), which only bolstered his writing and producing efforts. Now, beginning with “Love Me,” he’s stepping into the spotlight in his own right, with the hope that his artistry will continue to resonate with listeners. “There’s very few people who have a transcendent impact on music, humanity, and culture as a whole,” he says. “That’s the type of artist I want to be.”

Rising indie-pop singer and songwriter Cade Hoppe is back today with the release of his new single, “Morphine,” out on all streaming platforms now.“Morphine” is Cade’s most tender and soul-baring track to date. Sung in his distinctive baritone, it’s a song about coping with the weight of life’s expectations. “I think your life experiences can either make you the person you always feared you’d become or the person you always hoped you’d become,” Cade expands. “By putting this song out, I hope I’m one step closer to the latter.”Originally hailing from Sacramento, CA and now based in New York, Cade originally moved to the East Coast to pursue academic and athletic opportunities. He’d been writing songs and playing piano, guitar, bass and saxophone since childhood, but it wasn’t until 2020 that he started to explore the possibility of recording and releasing his own songs to prioritize his true passion. After putting out a few experimental releases with his stepbrother, Nick Adams, Cade connected with producer Harper James — one half of Eighty Ninety — and began to develop his indie-pop sound. Together, they created his debut EP, ‘Tell Me How It’s Worth It,’ which was released in late 2021.

Love You Later — the project of Nashville-based artist and songwriter Lexi Aviles — shares her new single, “Keepintouch.”“Keepintouch” illustrates Love You Later’s ability to create wholly addictive alt-pop earworms. Co-written with fellow Nashville-based songwriters Bre Kennedy and Kyle Dreaden, “Keepintouch” sees Love You Later confronting her discomfort with being alone and, subsequently, her journey towards finding peace and catharsis in learning to like her own company.Explaining how the inspiration for the single came about, she says: “My boyfriend had just left for tour a few weeks prior and my friends were all starting to date people – of course, I wanted to be happy for the people I loved, but in all honesty it was really hard. I almost felt this sense of disconnection from myself like I had forgotten how to be alone. We finally came up with the concept for the song once I came to this strange realization – I felt more connected to myself when I had other people around me, but I knew that I really needed to learn to be alone again in order to truly feel connected with myself. And I also wanted to express the fear of losing the people I loved in the process. It’s pretty much summed up in the tag of the song: I’m losing touch with everyone else / trying to keep in touch with myself.”

The Prototypes are back with a stonking, future-facing VIP of ‘Enter The Warrior’, originally released back in 2020 to widespread club and radio support, featuring vocals from effervescent singer, songwriter and performer B3NDU. The rework is the second cut taken from the duo’s upcoming deluxe album version, ‘Ten Thousand Feet & Rising: PART 2′ – Stream ‘Enter The Warrior VIP’ ft. B3NDU here.

 ‘Enter The Warrior (VIP)’ follows on from February’s euphoric dancefloor effort ‘Never Be Alone’, which featured upcoming vocalist Felix Samuel, and last year’s weekend-ready energizer Alive’ – a collaboration with genre-merging indie/dance trio NOISY. One of their personal favourites from the ‘Ten Thousand Feet & Rising’ album, “this VIP represents a streamlined version, re-made from the ground up, and originally made for our DJ sets last year” The Prototypes reveal.

 An echoing warcry of scintillating Drum & Bass energy, this freshly-baked VIP has been getting a huge reception in the iconic pairings’ live sets over the past year, taking all the anthemic magnetism of ‘Enter The Warrior’ and multiplying it tenfold into an unadulterated soundsystem destroyer of the highest calibre. All components are crunchier, meaner and wholly full-frontal in firm VIP style, with that snarling lead synth and growling reeses setting the stage for punchy rave stabs and incandescent builds to take full hold. B3NDU again heads up the track to great effect, bringing together this ready-made stage smasher.

A musical draughtsman that continues to evolve and deliver a fertile catalogue of music, Yxng Bane teams up with rising drill rapper DoRoad for his first single of the year ‘Bruk Down’.

The track comes as a follow up to last year’s weighty releases that included the percussive summer sizzler ‘Birthday’ with Stefflon Don and his feature on the luminous, afrobeat-inspired ‘Winner’s’ alongside Smoko Ono, Chance The Rapper and Joey Purps. ‘Bruk Down’ sees Yxng Bane flip into a gritty drill beat from Big Zeeko as he flexes his lyrical prowess and draws on his early drops that featured his heavy rap flows and bold delivery. Sitting back-to-back on the verses with DoRoad, Yxng Bane slides in his signature, melodic style for the hook before the rising Driller lets off his energetic bars.

Galway’s finest – THE CLOCKWORKS – release their first new music of 2022: “Endgame”. 

STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HEREThe track is cut from what will be the band’s debut collection of songs, the eponymously-titled: ‘The Clockworks’ EP, which will be released on 1 April, via It’s Creation Baby.Loosely inspired by the Samuel Beckett play of the same name, “Endgame” is as literary as it is biting literal; it’s a song that grapples with the paranoia of losing your edge as the crushing cogs of time roll-on.

“We’re post punk // Post truth // Post Europe // Post Youth // Post modern // Post faith and God // and Post post too…” jibes frontman James McGregor in a loquacious tirade. 

As self-effacing as it is cannily self-aware, the song’s complex character-driven narrative delivers a state-of-the-nation address from the shoes of joe public, while providing opportunity for a steely-eyed stare into the mirror. 

Delving into the themes at play in “Endgame”, James McGregor says:
“The idea for the lyrics was to have this character who’s a bit obnoxious playing a game of pool at the pub, and as the song progresses we get to peel him back and see that the game he’s playing is really against himself. The title, apart from relating to the game in the song, is a reference to Beckett’s play Endgame, which we thought touched on the themes/ideas/feelings of the song. I also liked the way that Beckett’s play had a through line of a chess game, like this song has a through line of a game of pool.”

Following a successful debut in 2021 that saw Kenah release an EP and a series of hit singles, the rising Nigerian star aligns with one of the UK’s most exciting new talents, Amaria BB with the sensational single ‘Mind’.

STREAM/DOWNLOAD: KENAH FT AMARIA BB – MIND 

A celebration of soothing vocals, sultry lyricism and international accents, the duo make the perfect complementary fit in to one another’s style. Littered with sweet R&B tones, steady Afrobeat groves and infectious synergy, ‘Mind’ takes you to a place of soulfulness and contemplation. Produced by Hulla Beats, rhythmic percussion, heart piercing piano chords, soulful backing melodies and emotive synths, provoke the artists to deliver something equally as beautiful. Speaking on the topic of infatuation, Kenah and Amaria BB lyrically depict the ‘Mind’ blowing topic, and feelings, of falling in love.

Having made an exceptional introduction to the music world with single ‘Plenty’, alongside hit-maker producer Jaypizzle and Nigerian guitarist Fiokee (Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Patoranking), Kenah has claimed a space of her own thanks to her soft, gliding vocals that sit as a hybrid of her choral experiences and the art of rap. Daringly bold and energetic as it is smooth and sensual, Kenah’s sound has an elegance and rarity to it that is refreshingly unique, seeing her supported with music gatekeepers including DJ Edu, Jeremiah and DJ Davda. Partnering with an equally bold, ambitious and intoxicating talent that is Amaria BB, brings Kenah into a whole new world of discovery. Skyrocketing in to stardom, Amaria BB had a phenomenal 2021, rising to fame on TikTok and Instagram before releasing breakthrough track ‘Slow Motion’, which amassed over 10 million views and saw her signed by Columbia/Sony. After the success of the release she collaborated with Jamaica’s man of the moment ‘Skillibeng’ on hit ‘Fundz’, hit the music news headlines and topped the polls as a breakthrough artist of the year in the UK.

Demonstrating their unique prowess and a coming together of divine musical qualities, Kenah and Amaria BB deliver ‘Mind’.

“Rabbit Hole” is a personal and poignant cut from Blue Violet, taken from their debut album ‘Late Night Calls’ set for release on 29 April 2022.  STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE || WATCH THE VIDEO HERE A raw and minimalist ballad that tactfully grapples with addiction, self-destructive cycles and the powerlessness that comes with watching a loved one go through a hard time, “Rabbit Hole” is a shimmering and stripped-back sampler of the duo’s forthcoming full-length LP.  Gauzy and subtly heartbreaking, with a sound as tender and exposed as its lyricism, guitarist Sam Gotley began laying down the track’s foundations in the car after a long day at the studio. Speaking of “Rabbit Hole”’s inception, he says: “This was one of those songs that exploded onto the page (I had to write and record voice notes frantically to get it all down without forgetting something), but it took a lot of fine-tuning to finish. This was an emotional song to record. Musically speaking, we kept things very bare and wanted to shy away as much as possible from electronic instruments and excess overdubs, so the end result is something quite natural using a lot of acoustic instruments, which the live room at Middle Farm Studios captured beautifully.” 

Zoe Wees’ latest pop perfection comes in the shape of her new single “Lonely” where she continues to speak up about the weaker moments in her mental health. The song follows on from her debut EP “Golden Wings” that’s garnered over 1.2  billion streams globally. Wees is about to start her European tour in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and will headline in the UK at London’s Lafayette on November 21st.

Give it a listen here; https://open.spotify.com/album/2599yK2Xz1PZp1qkzA0tJT?si=GaRIunmwQUyXHYKI4TxfXw

Speaking about the song, Zoe explained “Releasing music has created so many new, great friendships and given me so many opportunities, however, I’ve often found myself in a lonely place even in a crowded room. And many of my friends felt the same way. I realized that you could have great people around you but still feel lonely. I also realized that your own feelings are more important than anything physical and that I want to be loved for being me and not for anything else. I’m growing day-by-day, and feel hopeful even though sometimes it makes me sad. I hope this song helps anyone notice they’re not alone in thinking the same.

Rising newcomer mustbejohn returns with the flawless title track of his highly anticipated EP Romance in Great Britain, set for release later this year.

Painting vivid, British street-life pictures, mustbejohn opens the track with “Romeo and Juliet in TN’s, hook up every now and then, but decided to be friends.” Having built a reputation for his ability to seamlessly blend genres, John combines Brit Pop influences with laidback, fresh production: syncopated percussion and nostalgic guitar chords lay under John’s blunt vocals as he tells the frank story of a modern-day romance. Building to a signature hook-y chorus, “Romance in Great Britain” will continue the emerging artist’s exciting trajectory as one of the UK’s compelling new names.

Shot in a London pub, the visuals show locals and their everyday interactions, drawing beauty from the mundane, with the analogue 90s feel offering a social commentary look-in as John performs to camera.

Speaking on the track, John states: “I wrote Romance in Great Britain as a sound track for your make ups and break ups. It can be exactly what you need it to be, when you want it. I’ve seen romance take many different shapes and forms in my time so far and each of those that I’ve witnessed are what inspired me.”

West London Reggae veteran Mr. Williamz unveils a new linkup with legendary UK producer, artist and scene icon Shy FX, switching up the tempo to deliver box-fresh 174 stepper ‘SoundKilla PT.2’. After collaborating twice on Shy’s last album – Raggamuffin Soundtape – they team up again to maximum effect, bringing through a carnival-primed Drum & Bass weapon that’s packed full of flavour, diversity and rolling magic. Stream ‘SoundKilla PT.2’ here | Watch the video here.

 Lining up as the must-hear Drum & Bass release of the spring/summer, the acclaimed pairing have brought some much-needed sunlight to the recent dreary proceedings with this stellar new take on ‘SoundKilla’, originally released on Mr. Williamz’s reggae and dancehall opus ‘SoundKilla Mindset’ which dropped in May last year to roaring success.

 That album-leading cut, featuring grime stalwart Footsie and foundational Dancehall lynchpin Specialist Moss, was a firm favourite, and their propensity for soundsystem-pulsing workouts is built on in full via this scintillating new outing. With the masterful Shy FX in the driving seat, ‘SoundKilla PT.2’ wholly compliments what made the original Reggae lick so special, whilst carving out a fresh trajectory for listeners, ravers and partygoers alike.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

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Written by Neill Frazer

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