Activist – Year of the Antagonist

Year of the Antagonist

It’s always exciting when new artists rise up on the UK music scene and Activist from South London is a hard working young guy who has drawn on the tough experiences of his life and turned them into lyrical poetry.

Activist has a 16 track digital album, Year of the Antagonist, which he has created with producer LZ  available for download at https://activist.bandcamp.com/ (Warning – explicit lyrics)

All of the tracks are moody, atmospheric hip-hop/rap tracks where Acti and LZ have collaborated with quality artists, bringing a very professional and polished feel to the album. The lyrics are often based on human struggles, and are at times necessarily confronting and explicit.

Following the intro, the track ‘Messed Up Life’ features the talented Geno Bliss from North Carolina, USA. This is a quality production that was initiated after Geno and his management team at Dark Crown Records saw Activist’s ‘Closure’ video on YouTube. This track was originally written and recorded by Geno, but Acti has made his own version with new lyrics and a new beat. The lyrics are about how messed up life can seem with mothers giving birth way too young, friends killing friends for a price, material things being more important than friendships, and Acti’s underlying theme is how everybody gets sucked into the bad cycles of life and perpetuate the problem rather than trying to break the cycle.

The third track is called ‘Save Me from Myself’ featuring Aled Williams and is about a man who has fallen on hard times and needs somebody to give him a break before he breaks down and loses control completely.

‘The team’ ft CMF is an explicit track about realising who your friends are, who is on your side, and who you can and can’t trust in the tangled web of life’s relationships in an inner city environment.

‘Something in the Air’ features Dom P and is a poignant story about brothers where one of them gets attacked and stabbed on a trip to the shops.

‘Felt Like This’ featuring Shannon B draws on the theme tune to quirky Australian TV series ‘Round the Twist’. Shannon is a gifted vocalist who really brings this song to life.

‘Closure’ features the vocals of accomplished singer Lifford Shillingford (Lifford was the vocalist with Artful Dodger on ‘Please Don’t Turn Me On’). The lyrics convey the story of a broken relationship where the girl cannot seem to let go and the guy has to bring some finality to the affair.

‘Breathing Under Water’ featuring Siobhan May is about somebody having a really bad day who feels really caged in by his lack of fortune and doesn’t know where to turn.

Many of the tracks also have YouTube videos to accompany them which have been very well put together and directed. Activist pays a lot of attention to the details of each storyboard and this shows in the quality of the videos. It is clear that Activist strives to make each performance as professional as possible, he draws on personal experience to write gritty lyrics about real life, and although much of his subject matter features the negative aspects of inner city life, you get the overall feeling that he is hopeful about his future security. Activist is a shining example of how somebody can survive a challenging young life and come through as a winner.

He continues to go from strength to strength having recently secured a clothing deal with Obnoxious Kid Clothing and support from KTM TV.

Picks of the album are ‘Closure’ and ‘Messed Up Life’.

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Your Love is Liquid – AudioJazz ft Christina Tamayo

Your Love Is Liquid

The Audiojazz label and production group is the brainchild of talented musicians Dirty Turk, K Koltz and DJ Bai-ee. With connections in New York, Oakland and Chicago, the trio create an interesting and diverse blend of jazz, acid and house with an ethereal deepness inspired by their experiences of the New York and Chicago music scenes.

The music and lyrics for Your Love is Liquid were composed by Dirty Turk who also played all of the instruments, with K Koltz and DJ Bai-ee responsible for engineering and mastering the original and the Audiojazz remix. The composition features the haunting vocals of Chicago vocalist Christina Tamayo, who has featured on Submorphics ‘Don’t Remind Me’. Her vocals are clean yet sultry, bringing real emotion and character to each track that she performs.

Your Love is Liquid has a real late-night atmospheric groove to it, and the original mix has a nu-jazz/chillout vibe with a strongly addictive bass line, raindrop keys and varied percussion that will captivate you from start to finish. The remix from New Jersey talent Alexandra Hampton is upbeat with more of a traditional house backbeat that will inspire you to dance while still retaining the ethereal quality.

The Audiojazz remix is deeper and heavier than the original with more of an electronic edge to it that really takes you on a journey deep into your imagination, while the Research Come Undone mix from Chicago producer Donald Clark brings a definite underground tech vibe to the suite.

The original mix is the pick of the bunch, I only wish there was a longer version because it hooks you in and then finishes all too soon. Originally only available on vinyl, the rich and diverse ‘Your Love Is Liquid’ package is now available from Traxsource as a digital promo, an essential purchase for jazzy chill-out dance lovers everywhere.

Your Love is Liquid – Audiojazz ft Christina Tamayo  (AJZ007 audioJazz Music Digital)

Includes remixes by Alexandra Hampton and Re;search.

Your Love is Liquid – AuidoJazz – Traxsource preview

DaPaul – Soulful Spirit – album review

dapaul soulful spirit

DaPaul is a talented singer and songwriter from London. He began singing in church as a young man and his influences include gospel, soul, jazz and blues. Working as a session musician and backing vocalist he has worked with names such as Eternal, Alexander O’Neal and Gabrielle and has appeared on worldwide TV promos including The World Music Awards and the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

DaPaul

’Soulful Spirit’ is DaPaul’s debut album and includes the single ‘My Gift’ which was released in 2012.

All of the tracks on the album are skilfully crafted, and DaPaul connects with each song in a very emotive way which lets the listener know how intensely personal and meaningful each song is to him. His voice is both soothing and passionate, and each song takes you on a thought-provoking journey through the story of the lyrics.

Most of the songs are inspired by love in one form or another. ‘Fairtrade’ is a song about equality, and Red Blood Streets’ is a hopeful upbeat jazz funk vibe concerned with overcoming violence. The mellow grooves ‘Love’s Like’ and ‘Kumbaya’, and also the jazzy ‘Soulful Spirit’ are inspirational gospel tracks. The pick of the album is the spiritual composition ‘My Gift’, with its uplifting lyrics and laid back soul vibe. Each track has been carefully composed with attention paid to every aspect whether it be the gentle keys, the soft brass or a jazzy guitar riff, and DaPaul’s soulful accomplished vocals will make you feel every lyric with him.

This album will make you reflect on life, but will also soothe and inspire, with its hopeful, peaceful soul vibe. A very impressive debut album from a talented man who we will no doubt be hearing a lot more of.

DaPaul – Soulful Spirit – Amazon preview link

 

Velvet Vol 2 – Manuel Contreras

velvet vol 2

Review of album – Velvet, Vol 2 – Manuel Contreras

Manuel Contreras is a producer and musician who was born in Mexico. At the age of 15 he played guitar in a rock band. When the band broke up, Manuel experimented with electronic music while experiencing  the rave scene of Toluca and he teamed up with vocalist Gabriela Diaz to create some of his first productions. He created jingles for TV, and in 2004 he moved to Madrid where he worked and collaborated on some electronic arts projects.

After a long break  he returned to the music scene recently  and has produced tracks for the Molacacho label since.
Velvet, Vol 2 is a compilation of 12 soulful and tech house tracks.

‘Facebad’ with its pulsating bassline and ‘Palasaka’ with a more minimal feel are the tech house contributions to the mix. ‘Get the Funk’ is more of a traditional style up-tempo house beat that will have the dance floor jacking. The rest of the tracks on the album fit the soulful house sub genre.

The opening track ‘Zen Beat’ is a deep soulful dance vibe with a hint of funk, and nicely placed flute sounds giving it an 80’s feel while ‘A House Prayer’ is remixed by Freddie Gonzalez and has more of a traditional house beat with evangelically orated vocals.

For sax lovers ‘Feel My Sax’ is a jazzy style of house with a sweet sax vibe weaved through, and ‘Sax Fresh’ is a lively carnival inspired track.

Deeper tracks include the intense, reverberating  ‘Future’, the breathy vocal cut ‘Hotel Durum’, and the pick of the album ‘My Soul Vision’ with its deep echoes, bouncy bassline and vocal ripples.

Velvet, Vol 2 is a nice combination of tracks which will definitely appeal to deep househeads,  but has enough diversity to captivate a much wider audience.

Velvet Vol 2 – Traxsource link