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Nightlite by Bonobo

"Come let's bring light to the night of need."

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I consider Bonobo a rare talent. Not only does he resonate such an affective sound, but he is consistent at it. With a lot of musicians I come across, their albums usually consist of a fair amount of good tracks, but a greater amount of mediocre, unmemorable ones. Reasons for this vary, but it usually has to do with the record labels attempt to hurry and/or manipulate the album for monetary reasons (I love to blame them). But I’m not here to criticize “big business”, I’m here to commend unrecognized talent (or what I consider to be), so let’s get to it…

Nightlite features Bajka who appears on four other tracks from Bonobo’s most recent album, Days to Come. I wouldn’t necessarily consider her a singer, nor a rapper, but possibly something in between. Whatever you call her, she’s a poet (maybe that’s what you call her) that can harmonize with Bonobo’s beat beautifully. Some of my favorite tracks on Days to Come include her vocals (this being one), and I’m sure I’ll feature a few others in the near future. As for Bonobo’s beat, it’s a cool, 8) downtempo night in Paris (or reminds me so). Wonder if it’s inspired by classic French music

I also just downloaded Eyesdown off Bonobo’s website, which is the new single from his upcoming album, Black Sands. The expected release date for the album is March 29th of this year. Check it out if you’re into Bonobo’s sound; I’m guessing it’ll be something worthwhile (like everything else of his). Let’s just say it’s the most anticipated album (for me) in March. Well, actually Plastic Beach by Gorillaz is, so I guess it’s second.

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Loyalty by Blue Scholars

"While the record goes round, stand up or fall down."

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I don’t need to say much for this song, it speaks for itself, especially the video (in the full article). But i’ll say a few words (it’s what I do best)… First, I gotta say, look at Sabzi in the video bumpin’ to his own beat, what a balla! (haha) He’s got to be one of the best producers out today. Producing with two soulful MC’s, Geologic in Blue Scholars and RA Scion in Common Market, as well as a host of other side projects, the guy really spreads his talent far. If I could be taught under anyone, it would be him …or Rob the Viking of Swollen Members …or K-Murdock of Restoring Poetry in Music & Panacea (i’m not picky, any would do :p). Just listen to this damn thing, and experience why the Blue Scholars, among many other Northwest artists, make their place the hip-hop scene. Oh, and post a comment or I won’t know what y’all think of Blue Scholars. And then i’ll never post any of their material again! 8-O

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Go to Sleep by Swollen Members

"So we can meet again."

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I’ve recently had a falling out with Swollen Members. Our relationship hasn’t been doing so well lately. Mainly because of their new album, but prior to that they’ve been one of my favorite groups. Swollen’s got a style all their own, blending Mad Child’s intense, high paced rhymes & Prevail’s cool-headed wit with Rob the Viking’s innovative, dark trip hop beats. The group is originally from Canada, which brings up another reason why I love ’em… they’re of the few Canadian rappers I know that don’t have the, although humbling, annoying accent; I hear enough “aboots” here in Minnesota, and it makes me laugh if I hear it come out of an MC. Another cool lil’ factoid about ’em is, among maybe a handful of others, Swollen has taken their music and independently created a successful business out of it, which I give them mad respect for.

The reason I chose Go to Sleep as my second feature from ’em (the first found here), was because of Barbie Hatch’s stunning voice in the chorus, and a stellar beat by Rob, as per usual. In fact, check out a feature I did of Rob’s, Go for Mine, on his solo-album, Beats to Pillage and Conquer by, found… wait for it… here! (a classic beat, literally)

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[audio:GotoSleep.mp3|titles=Go to Sleep]

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Clubbed to Death by Rob Dougan

From the 1999 hit film, Fight Club oops, I mean The Matrix.

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I had a little difficulty with this one. I caught Clubbed to Death on some trip hop station, and knew I had heard it before. I could of sworn it was from Fight Club, but couldn’t find it on the soundtrack. I would’ve looked it up on the Internet, but didn’t know the name of it (at the time). It really started to get to me, so I started listening to the same radio station in hopes they’d play it again (so I could Shazam that shit!). After waiting a loonnng time, just as I was about to break, it came on! I found out the name, and looked it up… of course, it was from The Matrix (but it does sound a lot like a Fight Club track).

Anyways, then I had another problem… where the hell was it in The Matrix I looked it up on YouTube, and found some user manipulated clips, but nothing genuine. So, I decided to watch the movie, just so I could bestow this invaluable information to you (i.e. I have a lot of time on my hands :D). Well, here it is (the song is in the first 40 seconds). I would embed it for ya, but those damn YouTubers won’t allow it.

Whatever, the clip doesn’t give justice to Clubbed to Death. The damn thing is a full composition, running for seven minutes and thirty seconds… and eating up my bandwidth, accordingly. Well, you know my way with words (or you soon will), accurately describing a song in its full depth… or not… I should really work on that :). All I have to say is that it’s a song with some interesting instrumentals with some classic piano playin’.

As always, post a comment and tell me what you think… does it sound like The Dust Brothers (creators of the Fight Club soundtrack) Oh, and be a fan on our Facebook page, ’cause i’ll give you this song if you do!!… we’ll ya get it either way, but common. :)

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[audio:ClubbedtoDeath.mp3|titles=Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation)]

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The Arrival & Musical Chairs by Atmosphere

"Stand up alive 'cause the music hasn't die, yet."

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This was probably the most trouble I’ve had trying to pick out a song from a certain artist… ever! Atmosphere is one of the most prolific rap groups out there (good prolific, not bad). So, I decided to feature two songs off his album, You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having… lucky for you! ;) Atmosphere may not be my favorite hip-hop group, but they’re definitely one of the most respected. They’ve been consistently good, with every single album bringing something new & different. The group actually came out with a free album online, Strictly Leakage, which I featured a song from, called Crewed Up, about two months back. Not only that, the two started a record label, Rhymesayers Entertainment, back in ’95 that sports some of the best underground acts i’ve seen in a while.

Sean Daley (MC for the group) is a true character, and is an all around genuine act (for good or bad). Every time I see him online he’s reppin’ Minnesota, praising how much he loves it. Though, I can’t really blame him, grew up there myself, and it’s a beautiful & unique place. But back to Atmo, Daley might be the driving force of the group, but Anthony Davis (DJ, Producer) is the backbone with beats that seemed destined for Daley’s rhymes. Check out The Arrival & Musical Chairs to get a glimpse of what these guys can do! I will definitely be featuring more of this talented group, so subscribe to my RSS feed, so you’re well informed… and so I feel more liked :)

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[audio:TheArrival.mp3,MusicalChairs.mp3|titles=The Arrival,Musical Chairs]

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Reprogram by Boom Bap Project

"We've been social engineered, manipulated and molded."

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Boom Bap Project is a group based out of Seattle, Washington. The group signed with Rhymesayers Entertainment back sometime in ’04, but I checked Rhymesayer’s website and they weren’t listed, so I’m not actually sure if they’re still with ’em (their website & MySpace haven’t been updated in a while). My best guess is that they’re pursuing solo acts for the time being. But who really cares, let’s get to the good stuff…

Another one from the “Nogood” vault (i.e. i’ve had this one for a while), but it’s a goodie (I promise). Gotta say my favorite part is the chorus, done by… oh wait, they didn’t give her credit, so I have no idea, but she’s damn good nonetheless (edit: with a lot of digging around, I found out the featured artists, Chocolate & Snafu, though I’m not exactly sure who they are, and which one she is… I’m gonna go with Chocolate). Anyways, the other two performers are apart of Boom Bap, Karim & Destro, rappin’ back ‘n’ fourth with “straight Northwest” style (love it!). I’ve never been much of a fan of the Eastcoast style, other than a few exceptions (e.g. Jedi Mind Tricks). I just like the more relaxed, carefree style of the Northwest. Give it a listen, but unlike every other post, do not post a comment. Please! I beg of you! ;)

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I’ll Fly by The Procussions

"Jump in the water and get wet; cause 'n' effect."

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I was researching The Procussions and came across why the group split up two years ago. Mr. J. Medeiros, MC for the group, wrote back in January of ’08 on MySpace, “Can’t do it anymore y’all. The Procussions have officially been destroyed by the system, the industry, and those kids who just don’t understand you ‘can’t burn independent albums. You will kill their career'”. As much as I agree or disagree with Medeiros’s statement, the fact is that piracy is here to stay, and artists need to adopt a new business model to adapt to the Digital Age.

A few months back, I went on Del tha Funkee Homosapien‘s site to check out his latest album. He offered up the digital version for free, but if you donated $30 or more you get “a set of limited edition Del ‘Funkman’ Skull candy headphones and a conference call with Del himself”. Although, I’m not sure how well it’s done, I applaud Del’s innovative marketing strategy. Damn would that be cool to talk to Del. Hats off to whoever thought of that one! Many other places, including Techdirt & TorrentFreak, point out many other solutions to this “problem of piracy” (to lazy to find the actual articles).

I also wanted to point out one more thing that’ll get fans to shell out their cash… produce quality material! A lot of musicians aren’t making it simply because they suck. This may sound harsh, but that’s what our society was built on. Get good or get the fuck out! The Procussions are actually a good example of this, but not in the way you might think. Even though I’m featuring one of their songs from their album 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents, the rest of the tracks are… well, as AllMusic put it, “while the album is spirited and competent, not much of it is memorable.” I’ve really taken a liking to the featured track, but the rest of it just doesn’t work for me. They’ve had their run, and they should be proud. Now they just need to move on to something else (which they have).

Alright, now that I shot down their album (oops), i’ll try and bring it back up (as much as I can). I may not like most of 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents, but I do really enjoy I’ll Fly. The song features Tara Ellis’s beautiful voice accompanied by the two talented MC’s of the group, Mr.J.Medeiros & ReZ. Not only do the two flow in this, but the lyrics are “spirited and competent”. It may lose some appeal after a few dozen listens (man, am I really sellin’ these guys ;)), but ya gotta expect that from most music (not all, though!).

One other thing, I actually have a question I need y’all to answer for me: I think Medeiros sounds a hell of a lot like Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine. Obviously with different styles, but their actual voice sounds similar… right He’s the first MC on the mic, in case you’re wondering, so at least humor me with a response…

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[audio:IllFly.mp3|titles=I’ll Fly]

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Ecosphere by Panacea

"Gotta be myself, and I mean myself."

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You may recognize this sound, but under a different group, namely Restoring Poetry in Music (RPM). Both Jason Moore (Raw Poetic) and Kyle Murdock (K-Murdock) started out in RPM, and created a side project, Panacea; but the two groups have some slight variations. RPM is a band consisting of five instrumentalists (or so), where as Panacea consists of K-Murdock on turntables, a sampler, and maybe a few other devices with the help of Damu the Fudgemunk. Both groups have Raw Poetic as the front Emcee, and gee golly gosh is he good… did I really just say that : The difference in sound between the two may seem slight at first, but once you immerse yourself in ’em, you notice the contrasts in style. Raw Poetic’s style is relatively similar throughout the groups, but K-Murdock switches it up, bringing a more progressive, experimental sound to Panacea.

I had quite a few songs I wanted to feature from Panacea’s four LP’s, but I decided to go with Ecosphere from Ink is My Drink. K-Murdock creates a stunningly poignant beat, and features Patrick Fritz (P-Fritz) from RPM, who has an amazing voice, and I mean amazing! Though, this song doesn’t do him justice, so go to one of RPM’s features (here or here) to really capture his stunning vocals. You won’t be disappointed!… I mean, the guy is so good I kinda have a man-crush on him. ;) Anyways, compare this song to RPM’s, and tell me what differences you find… if you’re up to the challenge!

Lastly, I know I’ve mentioned this too many times already, but you really need to check out RPM. They’re one of my favorite hip-hop groups, and I know you will enjoy ’em… maybe even more than Panacea!

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In the Twilight by TM Juke

This song will put you on another level.

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It’s funny how songs can remind you of the most random places. In The Twilight reminds me of strolling around The British Museum, admiring all the fascinating artifacts. I actually went there twice while I was in London; once to actually appreciate the art, and another time to goof off and take funny pictures (I act like an adolescent at times all the time).

The reason I chose this song is because I like it (duh, haha)… ok, other than that I chose it for its unusual, yet appealing instrumentals. A lot of the time when I hear DJ’s experiment with new sounds the end result just sounds like a bunch meshed noise resembling a child pressing on a soundboard! However, in this case the sounds collaborate into a relaxing, downtempo beat with a natural flare. If you like this then definitely check out my first feature of TM Jukes, Knee Deep, which has some soulful vocals. And, if you’re reading this right now, you better scroll down and comment on this damn blog or else! ;) (or just be my Facebook fan :D)

Important, my favorite parts are at 2:06 (saxy) & 2:21 (the beat hits right) – check ’em out!
This song will put you on another level.

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[audio:IntheTwilight.mp3|titles=In the Twilight]

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Sleep Walkers by Restoring Poetry in Music

"Lately i've been in-between reality and the world of dreams."

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Alright, so you caught me, I posted this one a while back (you probably had no idea), but I have a good reason for posting it again (kinda). The original post was the entire album (Pyramids in Moscow), including Sleep Walkers. Since I’m not doing full album posts (for now), I wanted to split up the older album posts. They’ve got some of the best music on the site, so why wouldn’t I show ’em off again… right… i’ve also been studying all day, so I didn’t have as much time :D (so, that could be it too). Alright, to the music!

As I said in the original post, “This is not only my favorite track of the album [Pyramids in Moscow], but one of my favorite songs of all time!” I love Raw Poetic’s rap style against Marlon Vann’s (H2a) trip-hop styled beats. But what really shines is Patrick Fritz’s (P-Fritz) voice: it’s shockingly (!) smoooth. Just listen to it, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it (at least!). This is some of my best stuff! (or RPM’s, I should say) As always, tell me what ya think. It’s the only reason I write :)

Also, this includes the entire song, which the original post did not!

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[audio:SleepWalkers.mp3|titles=Sleep Walkers]

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