Beat Rivals ft Lifford – If I Could

London based Beat Rivals, KrazyK and Soulshy, have been producing music together for two decades. Both have been mentored in the past by Karl “TuffEnuff” Brown, and the talented producers joined forces when they found that they complemented each other well. Every Beat Rivals production package consists of at least one mix from each of them reflecting  their own individual style, in addition to a joint mix.

If I could

Following on from the success of the 2012 track “(Gotta Be) Free”, “If I Could” is the second track that Beat Rivals have produced with Lifford Shillingford on vocals.  Lifford shot to fame in 2000 when he featured on Artful Dodger’s “It’s all about the Stragglers” album, contributing vocals to “Something” and the acclaimed “Please Don’t Turn Me On”.

The lyrics of “If I Could” are about the dilemma of temptation posed by another woman, and the internal struggle of not wanting to hurt a long-term partner versus the attraction of a transient love affair.  As always Lifford sings with heartfelt emotion and gives a strong performance in his own distinctive soulful style.

The package consists of 9 mixes including guest mixes from Major Notes and Circle of Funk.

The original (with an accompanying radio edit version) features a rolling Soulful House beat accompanied by organ stabs and jazzy keys which will have any club dance floor bouncing.

The Soulshy remix has a much warmer soulful quality with brass and flute aspects to it, while Krazy K’s funked up mix has a dominant organ influence and a throbbing heartbeat bass line which is a little reminiscent of some of Steve ’Silk’ Hurley’s productions from the 90’s.

North London producer Major Notes offers a stomping bass line, heavy reverb, and a tribal synth mood, while in contrast, the Circle of Funk remix is deeper with an edgy atmospheric vibe and a beatbox undertone.

Other versions include the Deep Mix which is the version to take you to the chill out zone, with a clever vocal arrangement that adds a late night party vibe. The High Energy mix is the rendition for techno fans with its tech house anthem style arrangement, and the ReConstruction remix is yet another different flavour with bouncy keys and a pumping dance beat.

This package sure has something to please all dance enthusiasts, a whole selection box of ambiences which will add value to any DJ music collection, proving yet again that the Beat Rivals/Lifford collaboration is something to be reckoned with.

“If I Could” from Rival Beat Records, available as an exclusive promo from Traxsource on 24 March 2014, and will be available in all good download stores from 24 April 2014.

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Pharrell Williams Concert – Challenge Stadium, Perth

When I heard that Pharrell was in town, I was so delighted to get a ticket. Pharrell is a very talented man, his songwriting and production talents are well-known, he had a huge hit with “Happy”, he has won Grammys, this man is a musician right? A good musician at that.

pharrell

So Pharrell, what the hell did I go to ?

I only saw one support act, which I believe was the DJ Baauer playing Trap music. I am not a huge fan of the genre, but sure it appeals to others, so I am not really in a position to say whether it was good or bad, and after about 15 minutes I had my fill of heavily vibrating wub wub wub and  ‘MoFo, P**sy, N**ga’ lyrics. I just know that for me it was a bit of an assault on the ears, and it didn’t make me feel like I really wanted to dance, so like the majority of the audience, I departed the auditorium in search of a drink to while away the time until the main act came on.

Pharrell appeared around 9:10pm and I didn’t feel the buzz and enthusiasm amongst the audience that I have felt with other performances.

He kicked off with his Swedish House Mafia collaboration “One (Your Name)” and it kind of got the crowd going a bit. His vocals sounded good, he busted out some cool dance moves, and he was accompanied by two female backing dancers and a DJ. It seemed only a minute before he switched to a personal favourite of mine, “Drop it Like It’s Hot”, a track he did with Snoop. He seemed keen to get the audience singing, so he kept letting them do the work, and it seemed a bit soon for him to be doing this. Pharrell, I came to hear you sing, not the audience. This lasted a bit longer than the first track, but again it was all over too quick and he segued into “Hollaback Girl”. Audience involvement seemed to be a priority for him and he did the cliched – left side, right side, middle, back ‘wave your hands in the air’ participation thing for a while. Next up was “I Just Wanna Love U” the Jay Z track, followed by “Hot In Here”. This prompted him to remove his shirt which made all the girls scream, then he invited about ten very lucky ladies on stage to dance with him. One of the girls was an incredibly good dancer and she absolutely stole the stage – a girl in a black t-shirt to the left of the stage – she was amazing, and after a while when Pharrell spotted how good she was, he spent quite a bit of time dancing with her. He also kissed some of the girls which made them crazy and I then began to wonder if this concert was more of an ego trip for him rather than entertainment for me.

Other tracks which Pharrell sang snippets of were “Lapdance”, “She wants to Move”, “Beautiful”, “Frontin”, “Hunter”, and “Aerosol Can” never seeming to spend too long on any one track – it was almost as if he got bored with them and hurriedly moved on to the next.

He finished up by going into the crowd which looked like a bit of a free for all. His last two songs were “Blurred Lines” and “Happy”. He then sang “Happy” again straight away before leaving the stage after just 40 minutes. The crowd wanted an encore, but he didn’t come back. and looking around the crowd, I think most people felt a bit cheated.

Pharrell is a great musician and producer, he has written songs for so many people, he can sing and he can dance. He clearly revels in the adoration of his fans, and I understand what a buzz this must give him. It’s a shame that the buzz wasn’t reciprocated. All he had to do was sing a song the whole way through and spend a bit longer on stage. This was not an expensive act for him – he had two dancers, a DJ and some videos. There were no pyrotechnics or aerobatics. Most people paid at least $80 for their ticket – that’s an incredible hourly rate for the lacklustre show that Pharrell put on.

Dwongo House ft Alix – Talk to Me

Talk To Me

Dwongo House producer –  DJ Dougie Dee hails from South London, and he has achieved his dream job by working full time in the music business as both a sound engineer and producer. His love of music stemmed from watching Top of the Pops as a youngster and listening to the reggae music that his mum played, as well as being introduced to imported US hip hop tapes by a neighbour. Dougie composed the music for his school play aged 9, learned to play drums at the age of 11, and started producing tracks at the age of 14. He would cannily test the waters by playing the tracks anonymously to his friends to gauge their reactions, and later in life he taught himself to play keyboards.

In the late 90’s Council Records signed Dougie, having heard his jungle/drum and bass productions and this was a turning point for him. Dougie’s preferred genres have always been old school jungle, drum and bass and house music although he does enjoy rap, reggae, rock and soul.

Dougie and Dwongo House partner Lenny Hooper were childhood friends who reunited as a duo in recent years. Lenny wanted to start up as a DJ and Dougie helped, encouraged and supported him. As a team, Dougie specialises in composition and production while Lenny demonstrates his skills as a DJ (DJ Lennessy) on radio.

The Dwongo House label (originally called the House of Dwongo) has featured releases from Kasia, MC Creed, Alix, and Dyana Divas amongst others. The label has been supported by many top DJs including Sy Sez and DJ Pioneer. Dwongo House music has also featured at worldwide events including the Winter Music Conference in Miami.

Talk to Me is a track where the inspiration came organically to Dougie.  Singer and talented songwriter Alix caught Dougie’s attention via a friend of the family.  He arranged to meet her and knew instantly that her voice would suit the vibe of the track .

Talk To Me, on the Sandisco label, is an effervescent house vibe that will have you moving from the opening bars. The infectious pulsating beat, catchy piano riff, and Alix’s accomplished soulful vocals make this track a surefire club favourite.

The Talk to Me package also includes 3 remixes, the Deeper Underground mix has an atmospheric deep afro house vibe, the D-Dyer mix has a deep and funky garage inspired feel, while the UK funky mix has funky piano stabs with a bright snare groove. This makes for a package of 4 quality tracks that has something to suit every taste and

Constantly inspired as they go from strength to strength, Dougie and Lenny have a lot more music up their sleeves for the Dwongo House label, and they hope to grow and evolve into a worldwide force in the dance music arena.

For more info see the Sandisco Recordings website

Sandisco

Eric Roberson – B-sides, Features and Heartaches

Eric Roberson – B-Sides, Features & Heartaches

 eric-roberson-b-sides-features-heartaches-lp-cover

Eric Roberson, sometimes known as Erro comes from New Jersey, USA and is an accomplished singer, songwriter and producer.  A Howard University graduate in the field of Music Theatre, he has been active on the R&B music scene since the 1990’s, releasing his first single ‘The Moon’ in 1994, and has subsequently released several albums, having had most success with Mr Nice Guy in 2011. Eric has worked with prominent artists including Jill Scott, Dwele, Carl Thomas, Osunlade, DJ Spinna and DJ Jazzy Jeff to name a few, and has written songs and provided backing vocals for many others. Eric established his own label Blue Erro Soul in 2001 and has been nominated twice for Grammy Awards in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category for the songs ‘A Tale of Two’ and ‘Still’. He regularly performs live, where he chats and builds a great rapport with his audience in between songs with his entertaining interludes. He is appreciated by many fans worldwide and is one of the most respected independent artists in the music industry.

 

B-Sides, Features & Heartaches is an album of previously unreleased material, hidden gems that should have appeared on previous albums, but somehow did not make the cut. This just goes to show how prolific Eric is with so much incredibly good material in reserve. Where many artists may struggle to find enough good quality tracks to fill an album, Eric has an abundance to choose from and each album track selection must pose a real dilemma for him.

 

‘Let Me Know’ opens the album and is a soulful groove featuring Angela Johnson, The track has a 70’s feel and takes you back to the day, a little reminiscent of funky vibe of the era.

‘Postcards from the Edge’ is an atmospheric hip hop track featuring Washington singer and poet Wes Felton, and is about the life of a travelling artist missing the comforts of home and family life. This track is definitely one of the focal points of the album and will have widespread appeal.

Another pick of the album is ‘Butterfly Girl’ a smooth, inspirational collaboration with DJ Spinna (known for his House and Hip-hop production skills). Eric’s vocal talents shine through in this track which will have you tapping along to the beat, with keyboard and percussion nuances really adding interesting touches to the production.

‘Touch’ features the dreamy vocals and harmonies of South Carolina songstress Collette, as well as the talents of jazz flautist Monet, and is a slow soulful groove for the lovers.

‘Anymore’ is a Hip-hop/Soul fusion track about a couple who have lost the way in their relationship and is a heartfelt lamentation of lost passion.

Far Away Girl features the velvet vocals of Maryland singer/songwriter Aaron Camper , with a gentle guitar melody and is another soulful love song.

‘Fantasy’ is a slow, Nu-soul lovers groove with a broken beat which really showcases Eric’s vocal talents to the max.

‘She was Fly’ features the production talents of Netherlands producers Full Crate and Mar and features interesting percussion with rippling keys, the dream-like ambience making this another album speciality.

‘This could be the Night’ is a collaboration with Detroit musician and producer Zo! (Lorenzo Ferguson) and is an infectious smooth tune which will get you moving along with the beat.

‘Deja-Vous’ featuring innovative French afro duo Les Nubians is quite different from the rest of the tracks on the album. The vocals are a mix of French and English and the track combines a range of genres – Jazz, Nu soul, Afro, Funk and Samba making it quite unique.

‘Be a Humanitarian’ is a motivational track (which could easily be a ‘Live Aid’ anthem) about making a difference in the world with kindness to others and features vocals from Angela Johnson, Gordon Chambers and Kelli Sae amongst others.

‘Games’ is a dance track from Japanese producer M-Swift (Shouhei Matsushita), with Eric’s velvet vocals providing a silky backdrop to the bouncy disco bassline.

‘Fortune Teller’ comes from Atlanta producer DJ Kemit, the percussion giving it a deep Latin Afro feel with a broken beat .

 

B-Sides, Features & Heartaches is a vibrant mixture of songs covering a range of styles and moods. Every track exudes quality which is not surprising considering the combination of respected performers that have contributed to this production. The continuation of his impressive performances and compositions confirms what a hugely talented performer Eric Roberson is.

B-Sides, Features & Heartaches is out now on Blue Erro Records

By Eric Roberson  @IAmEricRoberson