Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Freshest Manure.

This is my JAM.

Cockiness by Jonas LR is a testament to the adage, “When life gives you lemons, make some damn lemonade.”
Wahenga walisema...

Made from samples of the truly terrible original by Rihanna, young Mr. Jonas Haslam (Who hails from Leeds like Favela, Go leeds!) gives us one of the most highly stylized songs of the year. With chopped up synths and the most deliciously naughty refrain (I love it when you eat it), this cheeky number  is the perfect song to drive to on your way to the discotheque with your inappropriately dressed, not-quite-turnt-up friends. It is sure to get them young and ready. Check out his other songs on his sound cloud.

On a different note, this song has me thinking Ms. Rihanna and the illuminati machine behind her should consider jumping on something like this where she is doing a lot more toasting than singing. Maybe team up with the likes of Bassment Jaxx and them because she actually does sound really good on those verses with that sexy bajan accent. I think it would work well and give her some much needed grit. You are welcome Jay Zed.

Please share your JAMS with me. Please. Thanks.


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Stay afloat.

Some songs help us to not commit suicide.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when one’s filters are down, the responsibility that comes with being alive can be overwhelming. When we are just bobbing up and down this sea of life, not sure where we are going and whether we even want to go there. For me, these moments occur from time to time, but especially during the morning and evening commute. I don’t know if it’s the muddy roads and cold air in the mornings or the tired, sweaty faces and obnoxious radio presenters in the evening, but the commute almost always makes me want to chuck it all in. Or at least go on stand by for a little while. Don’t you wish you had a stand by button?
If only..

Now, before you get properly depressed, I have good news. Life might not provide a stand-by button but it has given songs that can cushion us against the turbulent ride that is mortality. Songs like this.

Lisa Oduor-Noah’s voice soothes.
The Legacy project has some really good stuff guys..

Her honey-sweet soprano often cradles my forlorn spirit on a cold morning or after a bland, useless day. I don’t know much about her except that she does a lot of features and while this is great, it’s time she ventured out on her own. I would love to hear her more clearly.

Her sound reminds me a lot of this miracle of a girl group.

First of all, the name King is BOSS.

Secondly, why don’t they have an album yet? These ladies caused quite a stir in 2011 when Phonte (formerly of now-defunct Little brother and currently one half of Foreign Exchange) stumbled upon them and went all stan-like. Soon enough they were getting daps from the likes of Badu and (gasp) Prince. I wonder if they got overwhelmed by the positive response or are just so zen and hence are in no hurry. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Check out their website for more information.

As for Lisa, we have a lot of mutual friends so I’m going to see if I can talk to her soon and find out what she is up to. If she indulges me, I shall get back to you guys.
In the meantime, don’t commit suicide, as pointless as it all may seem.
We may not be important, but we certainly are valuable, otherwise, the universe wouldn’t have let us exist.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

All Soul: Long live Marvin's music.

Last week was Marvin Gaye’s birthday. He would have been 75.
Brother was so cool...

Marvin’s music is the type that is so popular, so big, so universal, you are tempted to ignore it. I did for most of my life. Only started paying attention when I noticed that all these young RnB cats are pretty much  trying to be Marvin Gaye. Just listen to Miguel’s “Adorn” and tell me you don’t hear Marvin, particularly in the bridge.  I can only imagine how much more eargasmic his music must have been for those who didn’t hear versions of him first. Still eargasmic today, don’t get me wrong.

So, the album that has been on repeat for a week now is what many argue to be his seminal work, “What’s going on?” I first got a real taste of this masterpiece when I stumbled upon a podcast on the BBC (which I will forever advertise freely) a few years ago. They were discussing the ins and outs of the making of the album and why it is still important today. First thing you need to know is that this was the first concept album in the entire RnB genre. Marvin had to fight to make this album because Motown were not willing to hand over creative control to him. Well, they finally did and he made it in 10 days. I guess when the muse arrives it doesn’t take forever to produce your life’s defining work.

I love concept albums. When artists limit themselves to a particular narrative, style, message or storyline, they can’t be lazy. They have to be concise and still blow minds…or at least fire a few synapses. It really tests their ability. The question was a simple one, “Just what in the hell are we (human beings) doing to each other?” It was inspired by the social upheavals that were going on in the states at the time; The Vietnam War, police brutality etc. Musically, the vibe was captured perfectly. The atmosphere created by the exquisite strings, slow, subtle drums, heavenly harmonies(I live for the harmonies on this album), the church-like adlibbing and most importantly, Marvin’s lead tenor that rang heavy with emotion was in a phrase, a Spiritual Revival. The orchestration is the best I have heard in my life (Big up Dave Van dePitte). This is music that makes you want to repent and be healed. Maybe that’s just my pseudo-christian sensibility showing itself but I doubt anyone could truly say they don’t feel God when they hear that tense Marvin wail over a flute solo. Marvin grew up in the Pentecostal church and needless to say, this influenced his style greatly. Lyrically, he wove seamlessly from the more direct messages (What’s going on) to the abstract (Flying high). The loose structure of the album made it feel a little jazzy. One couldn’t really tell when some songs started and others ended. This added to it's euphoric element.

What Marvin was trying to say was noble and a little naïve, which made it all the more special; Let's just love each other. His sensitivity as a human being was tangible in this album and his willingness to strip himself bare for the work only made it richer. He was all soul and truly magical.

This album is a sweet incantation that helped a generation conjure, confront and exorcise its demons. If you haven’t had a listen, your life has a gap that will only be filled by this.

R.I.P. Marvin.