Lovefool – Horace Gold

It was a humid night in Boston, Massachusetts when I met this kid.  Some friends and I were living at 10 Parker Hill where we threw debaucherous parties for our college student brethren on a weekly basis.   We weren’t a frat house, nothing like it – just a bunch of guys who wanted to pursue music at some point in our lives – so the house was filled with music equipment which we used to create a weird mix between a drug haven and clubby atmosphere.  A lot of memories with the Parker Hill boys….but that’s a different story for another time.

Anyways, a lot of people came through that house and one night this kid Horace Brooks walks in and starts talking about his passion for singing.  He went on and on about how we all had to stick together (meaning anyone doing music at the school), and under my hazy mask of Honey Jack and some weird amorphous alcoholic concoction a friend made that can only be described as a mistake the next morning, I excitedly indulged in the conversation yelling obscenities regarding how we would take over the world some day with our music.  That night, Horace got a bit too drunk and we lost him in the city of Boston for a couple hours….

Despite his drunken adventures, Horace is an incredible singer.  Donning the stage name Horace Gold and the nebulous genre of Pop as his vehicle, Horace is well on his way to follow his dream and take over the world with his music.  With an infectious jovial tone reminiscent of The Kooks, his debut EP – The Noise From Upstairs – will be released for free this January.  The single from the project below, aptly named Lovefool, follows Horace’s desires for forbidden love with a lesbian.  From the way she whips her hair out of the pool to the way she says his name, Horace Gold lets us peer through a multifaceted window into his life in his music.  Everyone has those days with their crush or significant other; Horace just decides to sing about it!

‘Lovefool’ was written when Gold was 18, which just goes to show how much this song means to him.  You can also feel that energy in the recording.  Join him on his lovestruck journey as he swoons you with his art of relationship storytelling while you dance along to the beat of his lovesick drum.

Check out LoveFool, then check out his video for Blind below, follow him on Soundcloud, and look back here for the debut EP in January.

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The Thrill Is Gone – Matthias Marlier

Lets transition back to Freshmen year of Emerson College for a second.  There was this kid with an afro and funky demeanor I met on the floor above me the second day of school.  Music was playing, some kids were freestyling, and both him and I enjoyed listening to the talent that surrounded us.  He must have been about 6’1, towering over my small frail freshmen body and I thought “for sure this guy is a Sophomore or a Junior” but to no cigar, he was exactly my age.  Over time, as we bonded over certain Hip Hop icons like DJ Quik, we started sharing music with one another (which is simply the best way to get to know someone).  Amidst forced triples and freestyle sessions, we quickly developed a solid friendship.

Now fast-forward a couple years.  After graduating from Emerson College, Matthias Marlier has been making the funkiest beats to date.  From playing the drums at a young age to maneuvering the DAW Fruity Loops, Marlier’s inspiration comes from all types of music.  Whether its an old soul groove, jazz melody, or and blues guitar riff, no sample is safe from Matthias’ MPC….which I’ve noticed after getting several snapchats of beats I’ll never hear again.  Sometimes, some magical wind will pass by and a beat will make its way to Matthias Soundcloud for everyone to hear, but that only happens once in a blue moon.  No joke.

Anyways, this is one of those beats that finally made it online.  Matthias flip of BB King’s ‘Thrill is Gone’ sample is nothing short of epic, with his skill on the MPC shining through chopped vocal samples and scattered instrumentation.  Play it loud during your commute, spit a couple bars on it, and send it his way on Twitter if you’re feeling it.

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DLRN – Neon Noir (Deluxe)

I’m not gonna lie, I tend to distance myself from new hip hop releases.  I’m not talking about just any hip hop, I’m talking about hip hop from my generation in particular – the millennials.  Influenced wholeheartedly by the Golden Age of Hip Hop, we grew up when Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, NWA, and Jay Z were not just artists, but cultural icons.  We matured during the commercialization of the genre, realized it was a suitable career path, and found ways to revamp it to suit our own needs, desires, and the audience that was quickly multiplying with new fans.

But what does this lead to?  Nowadays, the game as Hip Hop is called, has become so diluted with releases each day on all of these multiple respective digital platforms (Soundcloud, TIDAL, Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp), that artists have begun to distance themselves from portraying only one genre. It’s not enough.  New age artists commonly mix styles amidst sultry electronic synths in between a singing/rapping medley of talent to attract a larger fan base.  We see artists who bridge the gap between two career lanes ruling the music business with an iron fist (picture Drake, Pharrell, Kanye), and new artists follow their path because the formula works.  That’s just the way it goes.  In one way, it’s exciting – so much talent being diversified lends itself to incredible musical performances and eclectic bodies of work.  In other ways, its representative of our culture’s complete disapproval of a one track mind, and our inescapable vortex of ADHD.

So, when I hear something that’s fantastic, I’m not going to bead around the bush.  And this release right here is superb.

The name: DLRN.

The project: Neon Noir.

What is it? Glad you asked.  Neon Noir is an enigmatic reflection of golden age lyricism mixed in between dark roaming synths that take you on a journey through the evolution of Hip Hop.  While the duo (Jon Reyes and Sean LaMarr) are reminiscent of an older sound, the combination still distinctively speaks to a new age of Hip Hop that can’t be streamlined to one style.  No, these guys take it a step further with anthemic builds characteristic of electronic music, breaks in linguistic wordplay so LaMarr can explore his own vocal range, and multiple features who each give a breath of fresh musical diversification to the project.

Truly, this album is fantastic.  Take a listen, relax, and be sure to connect with DLRN on all of their outlets.

Website

Soundcloud

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

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Black Coffee – Spiritual DJ Set @ Mixmag Live, London

But Cyrus, what are we going to listen to for this weekend?  I don’t know what I should play….

If you’re looking for something to blast on your speakers for that friendly get together in the sun, or you just want to play video games in your house to a soundtrack, well I’ve got you covered.  Let’s start off by saying this mix right here is pure perfection.  I’m not sure if I’ve heard something thats so intrinsically complicated and complete to the key that I’ve played it 3 times in a day.  This mix is 3 hours long and yes, I played it all the way through, 3 whole times.  That’s how good it is, I’m not messing with you.  This mix is purely fantastic and the fact that the video comes along with it so you can see his workings around the CDJs and mixer is amazing.  Mixmag, well done.

But enough about me blabbering on with how great this mix is.  Let’s talk about the hero of the story: Black Coffee.  Born Nkosinathi Maphumulo and hailing from South Africa, Black Coffee is one of (if not the biggest) house musician from South Africa.  In 2004, he helped put South African’s dance music scene on the map by participating in Red Bull’s Music Academy.  Now 4 albums later, his record label Soulistic Music has churned out house tunes with irresistible dancefloor grooves, forcing you to move your feet and bop your head.  He has even worked with artists like Hugh Masekela, just to give you some insight on how versatile Black Coffee truly is.

Black Coffee – the album, was created using very basic music-making software. “I don’t know how to explain the production stages of my album because all I did was put down the basic ideas that I had, I didn’t use any MIDI controllers everything was played with a computer mouse” – Black Coffee

Check out Black Coffee’s website here.  Props go out to Mr. 415 for sending this to me.

 

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A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Pharrell Remix)

“I did not have a style back then.  I was just then discovering A Tribe Called Quest, which led me to the understanding that I could be whatever I wanted to be, even if at a minimal level, it was just being different. That’s when I learned I could be different. And then my identity started to really come out. And then, right around 1990, I started having style.” – Pharrell Williams in Elle Magazine, 2013 

Christmas came early!!

Rewind the track back to 1999 when I first listened to Tribe Called Quest.  I believe my brother and I were in my basement in CT playing Zone of the Enders (if you don’t know the game, check it out here since it’s awesome) and he had put a mix tape of instrumentals together.  Tribe was fully supported by the mixes, with plenty of instrumentals from Midnight Theory, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, and Low End Theory.  It was that type of energy that made me consider Hip-Hop and the music industry as a fun area to be in when I grew up.

But this – this was too much to handle.  For Tribe’s reissue of their genre defining LP People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm due out on November 13th, the never-aging Pharrell Williams has just put his own spin on Tribe’s anthem ‘Bonita Applebum’.  In classic Pharrell fashion, the remix sports a funkified tribal rhythm full of shifting hats, kicks and toms all surrounded by booming bass stabs.  It’s as if we’re traveling through a jungle full of wildlife with Q-Tip as the soundtrack, as we fall over in blissful reminiscence of Hip Hop’s Golden Age.

Oh there’s more.  Other than the fact that this will be a free download with the reissue, there will also be two other remixes by J Cole and Cee Lo Green.  J Cole will be blessing ‘Can I Kick It’ and we’ll see Cee Lo on ‘Footprints’.

Check out the Rolling Stone article for the full article and more information on this release.

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Drazn – Ride (Original Mix)

Have you ever had that feeling when you can’t take a song off repeat?  No matter what does it for you – the infectious build, a pounding kick, a growling synth – something keeps you from clicking the stop button.  That’s how I felt the first and most recent time I played Drazn’s (FlowState’s alter house-infused mechabot personality) ‘Ride’.  Take a minute (actually its 5 minutes and 20 seconds) and bless your speakers and your eardrum with this one.

Now a little bit about Drazn // FlowState since you won’t find anything on the interwebs (sorry I checked).  Amidst his travels to Menlo Park for his daily work at the Facebook campus, this guy simply loves music.  His tracks might get finished millennial style on the shuttle back to the city, but he makes genre eclectic tracks like this one with ease.  His heart though is in trance, and elements from it always seem to find it’s way into his production.  It’s that same unique edge that’s going to keep him pumping out dance floor hitters like this, so stay tuned for more from FlowState.

After you download ‘Ride’, follow FlowState on his Soundcloud! 

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Red Bull Thre3Style: 40 DJs, 40 Turntables, 40 Mixers

Wow. Simply superb.  Amazeballs. Magic.  Pure genius.

Ok, let me explain.  Imagine going to a club and seeing a professional dance circle full of some of the most recognizable dancers in the world.

Now, imagine that you’re in Tokyo at the Red Bull Thre3Style competition and those dancers are DJs from all across the world who have come together to create something magnificent.  Randomly selected and sectioned off into teams of 4, DJs such as QBert, D-Styles, Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip, and DJ Craze among others, came up with separate 16 bar scratch solos in their teams over a couple days.  The solos then got performed in a fantastic eight minute live mix combining styles from all across the globe!

The result might just be one of the coolest things to ever be filmed in DJing history on 40 turntables, 40 mixers, and six PAs.  Seriously check it out.

 

Yeah I know, amazeballs doesn’t quite cut it.  For the full list of DJs involved and more info on the competition, be sure to check out their website.

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Carl Cox @ LIGHT Nightclub

“It was made with technology, so I call it techno” 

Gary Richards.  Probably the most well known man in this mainstream brand of music called EDM – a culture that has sweeped America for the past decade. Its rise to mainstream culture was meteoric, infecting every piece of entertainment you could imagine.  EDM became the most debated topic in the entertainment industry, with everybody wanting a piece.  And within this industry, Gary Richards stays on the minds of businesses, CEOs, and fans.  Hundreds of thousands of fans.  His branded HARD events have magnified in size occurring all across the United States, his artist personality DESTRUCTO is a icon in and of its own, and the relationships he’s formed throughout the industry are limitless.  Hearing this quote at the EDMBiz conference in Las Vegas stuck with me.   I was giddy in my seat.

“Techno…techno…techno”

Techno.  I kept repeating it to myself.  Well, a voice in the back of my head kept repeating it…maybe that voice just couldn’t focus on the now because of what was in store for the future.  Maybe it was because I was seeing another icon in the industry later that night.

carl_cox_light_nighclub_turntables

carl_cox_light_nighclub_turntables

Carl Cox.  There’s no introduction needed since the man is a legend.  Each time I’ve seen him has been revolutionary.  Whether that’s at Treasure Island in San Francisco, EDC Las Vegas in 2013, or at a show in Amsterdam for ADE, he has a presence that infects not only the music but the people he’s playing for.  You can’t help but dance your heart out even when shots cost $15 a piece.  Let me say that again….$15 a piece!  What happens in Vegas definitely stays in Vegas, or in other words:

“Your money gets lost here.” 

Las Vegas.  Look at all the people running around for EDMBiz and the madness known as EDC.  Don’t get me wrong, I had my share of excitement driving down to EDC from San Francisco, with enough packed in the trunk for a week at Coachella.  Rave gear, kandi, water bottles stacked up to the brim of the car with enough ripped and torn clothes to keep me comfortable in the desert of Vegas.  I’ve done it twice, but I couldn’t do it this year.  I came strictly to Las Vegas for the EDMBiz conference where I had two full days of networking, speeches, and panels.  From Jeff Boyle, the CGO of Insomniac to the CEO of Goldenvoice Skip Paige, anyone who had a stake in this whole EDM industry was sitting right in front of me.  And the last panel up on stage had not only Carl Cox, but Borgore, Gary Richards, Carnage, Arty, Steve Angello, and the two beautiful ladies from Posso.  With the uproarious applause Cox received each time he spoke, it reminded me how loved this man was in the industry.  And how I was seeing him that night.  When asked about what he thought about the future of EDM, Cox said what we all wanted to hear. 

“I think it’s going to keep going for twenty years and more, I don’t ever see it stopping”. 

carl_cox_light_nightclub_green

carl_cox_light_nightclub_green

LIGHT Nightclub.  Yes, that’s right – Carl Cox was playing that night at the famed nightclub in Vegas, located in Mandalay Bay’s lobby where a billionaire named Ron Burkle had recently invested a billion dollars. It’s a pretty big deal in Vegas…after you traversed the floor crowded with casinos, mini stages and dance floors with James Brown blasting on the speakers and improv dancers in Vegas getting down to the funk, you finally make it to a long line of club-goers who want to experience what that billion dollars could do for Vegas nightlife. And we weren’t disappointed.

carl_cox_light_nightclub_dancing

carl_cox_light_nightclub_dancing

As you start walking into the club, it feels as though you’re leaving reality.  Walking up the stairs with hypnotic blue lights lining infinity mirrors created a different world from the fast paced lifestyle in Vegas.  Walk in, and the expanse grabs at you.  It’s not expansive to the point of being unbearable, like some clubs in Barcelona are.  No, LIGHT gets the space just right with two elevated bars on either side of the club, a VIP section in the middle tier with couches and security guards posted to avoid degenerates like myself from waltzing in, and a massive dance floor in front of the artist on the bottom tier.  Behind the DJ were giant LED panels and posted above were scattered panels across the club’s ceiling.  Anything projected onto the LED screens behind the DJ were projected above too, transporting you into a new club experience.  As I ordered two red bulls and jaggermeister shots for $54, the DJ before Carl played some funky tech house which stopped anyone from sitting on the sidelines.  It didn’t take long for us to hear “Oh Yes! Oh Yes! Oh Yes!” and everyone in the club bolted down to the stage.  

Ok I lied, not everyone ran down.  People also sat in their VIP booths, bought overpriced drinks, and smoked cigarrettes as Carl Cox came on.  It surprised me for a second too.  Here was an icon in the dance music industry, someone who’s face is recognizable in any country for electronic music, and the general audience wasn’t as excited as I was!?  Then I remembered, I’m in Vegas!  Some of these people came for the nightlife of the city, not the genius behind the tables.  At the same time, I was so relieved that the nightlife was this man from Britain playing massive techno tunes. 

“If anyone says the bubble is popping, it’s not….the culture is growing because it’s infiltrating everything”

Sean Kristi.  The owner of Surrender Nightclub was right.  It had never appeared to me as true as it had tonight at LIGHT, as Carl Cox played to a massive audience in a Vegas nightclub.  The ambiance was inspiring; it told a story for the future of America with electronic music.  

carl_cox_light_nightclub_lights

carl_cox_light_nightclub_lights

Carl Cox is one of the best DJs in the world.  This night at LIGHT, he was spectacular.  Between his seamless transitions from one funky tech house to the other, Cox would give us a second to breathe every now and again, but never a second to stop dancing.  The energy levels rose and fell at his whim, while the LEDs shown futuristic dimensional models on screen.  Pillars of light of various colors from blue to flourescent purple would shine down on the dance floor from the ceilings, as the crowd shouted for Carl to keep killing it.  Smiling, he’d play brand new tracks from his Intec label, but he never let one track take over the environment of the club.  No, Carl Cox is an expert artist with expertise in transitions, track selection, and overall, an attention and an ear for detail in mixing.  Even as scantily dressed women flew down on both trapezes and bubble spheres from the ceilings, Cox never let his attention shift away from the music.  That’s what it was all about, even when LIGHT nightclub threw their wonderful theatrics into the audience.  There were sparklers, beautiful women bearing gifts of alcohol, pillars of light from above and LED panels forming Carl Cox’s face and insignia, but nothing but the music matters to Carl Cox. And with this revolution of music, that’s how it should always be.

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