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Currently Browsing: Soul

Moods.

Practice makes perfect

I see a lot of producers go through three stages of music production: beat making, remixing, and collaborating. It takes time gaining expertise and forming relationships to work with talented vocalists, but there is no beat that can top a great song.

I was first introduced to Moods from his beat, “Love is Real,” but it took a few years later to find my obsession of his. His remix of “Homie. Lover. Friend.” takes some of the sexiest vocals & lyrics and puts it together better to sing and dance to. It was one of my favorite dance tracks of 2016, but his latest collaboration is topping that, titled Truth.

I don’t take many lyrics to heart, but I love how and what Beau Nox sings on Truth. He sounds like Anderson .Paak, but not as a cheap knockoff. It’s well produced, well spoken, and well sung. It’s teetering on perfection. It might be my favorite song of the year.

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Daniel Caesar with Snoh Aalegra

His fans were as impressive as him

Three days before Daniel Caesar’s show at The New Parish in Oakland, I went to Jacob Banks at The Independent in San Francisco. Banks was the first show that ever brought me to tears, so I had high expectations for Caesar.

I got to The New Parish thirty minutes after doors opened to make sure I got a good spot for Caesar’s opener, Snoh Aalegra. It was extremely sold out, as in prices on StubHub were going for $200, so I probably should’ve got there earlier. By the time I did, the place was packed, but eventually I found a view of her from just behind the soundcheck. Not only does she have a voice, but she knew how to use it, especially live. Like Jacob Banks, she can get a crowd going, but Caesar has something more with his crowd. They were working with him.

When I heard all this hoopla about Daniel Caesar, I didn’t understand why Jacob Banks wasn’t getting the same. After hearing Caesar live, I do now. Caesar’s lyrics are more accessible. It’s pleasant to sing, even for the worst of us singers. And once your brain gets it stuck up in your head, all you wanna do is sing it with Caesar. Something most of his audience did. Something I don’t think most of the audience for Jacob Banks could pull off.

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Jordan Rakei

Soul from down under

The first time I heard about Jordan Rakei was through singer Madelyn Grant. The two at the time were recently featured on FKJ’s EP, Take Off. I wasn’t a big fan of his song “Learn to Fly,” especially compared to Madelyn Grant’s “Waiting,” but it gave me my first look into his songwriting skills.

Since then Jordan has been featured on Diclosure’s “Masterpiece,” as well as worked with a handful of other talented producers, but I know of him primarily through his podcast with Tom Misch, Alpha Mist & Barney Artist: Are We Live Podcast. These guys are a powerhouse in the UK music scene, even though Jordan is originally from New Zealand, and their podcast is good insight into their world.

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Outside Lands 2017: The Jacob Banks Show

with other acts Lee Fields, Khruangbin, and Solange

I went to Outside Lands for its 10th anniversary to see the Gorillaz, but I ended up getting too drunk and ruining it for my girlfriend. Fortunately, I turned it around day two and three, so that’s good. Especially day three.

For most long weekend festivals, one day usually has the best performances, often more than the others combined. We started off the last day of Outside Lands with Lee Fields & The Expressions, Khruangbin in the afternoon, and Solange at night, but nothing mattered that day more than Jacob Banks. It was his weekend.

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Leven Kali · Breaking Soul

When someone pops up in the places you love

Leven Kali has three strikes going for him. One, with his single that introduced me, ‘Mine.’ Second, a few months later he performed ‘Joy’ on Colors Berlin – a collective that hosts musicians to record a live set of a song against a clean colored background. In Kali’s case pink. Which repped him well. The final nail of approval was a tweet praising him from Ebro, a host on HOT 97 and Beats 1.

I went through Kali’s catalogue after his name popped up a third time, which is usually what it takes, and his music is starting to stack up. Although there’s a lot of collaborations with shit rappers crowding his sound. It’s good for exposure though, but he soon won’t need it.

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Masego

Savant in Style

We mainly highlight artists over singles now, which has given us different criteria to look for in what to feature. Mainly, more than just a few singles to show off. Something I see more with vocalists over instrumentalists or producers, but Masego does it all.

But like most musicians I pick, I love his voice most. He’s got personality that’s an artist’s dream and it shows through his voice.

He played with Goldlink at Coachella this year and the two are some of the finest record makers, live performers, and make some of the finest sounds with their voices.

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Gavin Turek

Lovely throwback brought forward

Some progress the old sound forward, but Gavin Turek brings it back to the 70’s in her latest EP Good Look for You. But she’s also teamed up with other notable producers, which gives her classic voice new flavor.

Gavin has been working with TOKiMONSTA and their juxed position in genre make for a beautiful collaboration. And even better, there are a number of my favorite young producers giving her a remix, especially Bishiclet & starRo. You know when some of the most talented music makers right now support her sound, including Mayor Hawthorne on his last tour, that it’s not just you.

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THEY.

Smooth words/trap beats

They. played at least a few times last year at SXSW, but I missed one because of The Roots fiasco.

They’re kicking off their tour this year and San Francisco is their third stop. I don’t know if I’ll be going to see them in SF, depends on if the lady likes the playlist, but I’ll definitely be seeing them in Austin at SXSW this year.

Especially since the company I work for is hosting them.
See you there?

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Spire

A fresh breath of inspiration

Spire and his Soda Island friends put on some of my favorite bumble gum funk, generally known as future bass, specifically called kawaii, but I call it vapor (who knows). He does however have much more breath than that.

He has some of the most intricate & introspective music, and a good handful of it, which I don’t see enough. The guy can take what sounds like a scene from a movie and make it music. Beautiful in a way that reminds me of jazz. You don’t know where it’s going next.

Couldn’t have kicked off 2017 any better than this inspiration (other than disco).

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Robots Can’t Dance

How to Cope with Madness

It’s been a mess this last week. When the bombshell of an election result dropped, I landed on one of Robots Can’t Dance’s songs and rolled through the rest of his music. It helped.

Here are 10 of his best (my favorites). Let it get you through any madness you’re going through.

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