Earshot Boombox

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Roger Riddle - The Un-named mix.

Well here it is. My first mix on the new Earshot page. I'm sorry to say though, this mix isn't new. I ran across it while looking at my Soundcloud page. I hadn't played it in a long time and all I really remembered about it was the first two tracks. Once it got rolling I really got into it, so I decided to share.

I created this mix when I thought about applying to The Red Bull Academy 3 years ago. Then I got chicken and never sent in my application.

This mix is what it is. No title. No tracklist. Just an hour of good music. I always imagined driving around a city late at night in a nice car viewing a beautiful nighttime cityscape.

That's never happened for me. I hope it will for you.

Please feel free to let me know what you think. About this mix or about any of the posts I make. I love responses, "Likes", and tweets. Holla at a brotha.


Sean Haefeli - Rise

This is one talented cat. Go ahead and look at all that style. If you had to guess as to what kind of music he made, what would you think?

Yep. Jazz. And he is something we don't too often hear from the world of Jazz any more.

This Berlin based Jazz phenom is a vocalist as well as a pianist, a lyricist, and a composer. He has self released three albums, and to top it all off ... he's a model. If you were that smooth wouldn't you be a model too? You'd wake up, look in the mirror and say, "I think I am going to be a model today," and walk out your house on the way to a photo shoot.

Ok. Let's get back to the music this man creates. He has a deep voice and his style of singing seems to stand on the point where rapping, scatting, and singing all cross. My very first though was that his style was in the vein of Gil Scott-Heron.

His band is tight. They remind me of The Roots circa Do You Want More?!!!??!. At times on Rise, Haefeli's newest album, he opts for the warm tones of the Fender Rhodes instead of a piano, giving the album a feel more like a mid 70s Jazz album. However, on "Essential" when he does play piano, you get a glimpse of how talented a pianist this young man really is.

There's not much more I need to say here. Now it's up to you to give it a listen.

DJ Nature - Savage Reprise

There are many unsung heroes in the world of music. People who made a consistent impact over many years and they go largely unknown. However, if you meet the right people you will learn that these overlooked masters are held with the highest esteem by some.

Allow me to introduce you to DJ Nature (not to be confused with DJ Nature of "Live And Direct" with Slim Kid Tre and Rev. Shines in Portland) aka Milo Johnson. Back in the late 70s/ early 80s he went by DJ Milo and was throwing some of the most eclectic parties in Bristol, England with Nellee Hooper and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall. They became known as The Wild Bunch because they were playing funk, new wave, disco, jazz, reggae, soul, punk and hip hop.

This was indeed some heavy company. Marshall went on to form Massive Attack. Hooper went on to work with Soul II Soul.

Milo went on to tour Japan with The Jungle Brothers, DJ Red Alert, DJ Cash Money, and Public Enemy. He worked under the monikers DJ Milo, DJ Nature Boy and now DJ Nature. It's said, his style of DJing Disco records has had a direct influence on how the UK House DJs played in the early 90s.

Now, DJ Nature has been living in New York and enjoys a successful career as a House DJ, playing some pretty high profile parties. He has also released a few tracks via the Golf Channel Recordings record label.
"Savage Reprise" is a moving, soulful, House track that leans somewhat to the Detroit style of House. The video seems to be an introspective and artistic look into a day in the life of DJ Nature.

I enjoy playing House and a song like this one plays an important role in setting the vibe of the set in the early part of the mix. If you hear that one, you know it's going to be a deep and sexy night.

Dag Savage - Cali Dreaming

Dag Savage is a Calironia based group consisting of MC Johaz and producer Exile.

Exile is a busy man. This guy consistently puts out music from some of the best "under the radar" MCs. This is the same Exile behind Blu & Exile, Dirty Science Records, and even way back in the day (circa 1995-2005) a member of the group Emanon, which featured a rapping Aloe Blacc.

So, fresh off the second album from Blu & Exile, Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, Exile headed back into the studio to work with Johaz on the Dag Savage project. The result was a mixtape and an official 4-track EP, Cali Dreaming.

The title track features up and coming Cali MCs Fashawn and Co$$ and...wait...is that Tiombe Lockhart singing? Yes! Tiombe Lockhart of The Platinum Pied Pipers and Cubic Zirconia makes a guest appearance as well.

What I like most about this track is that in this era of flash, pizazz, and trap, this is just straight forward hip-hop. A solid simple beat and lyrics that convey stories about life.

Well done Dag Savage. Well done.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Millie Forte - Titleless

When certain people send me music I get excited because I know they are always going to hand me something extraordinary.

For instance, I knew when I heard from Al King, whatever this track was was going to be good. Damn good.

And it was.

He introduced me to a young artist named Millie Forte out of Atlanta. Forte is part of a collective of creative minded musicians, rappers, and producers named Universal Kingdom.

Millie Forte is the singer of the collective. He's appeared on some of Al King's past works. He works in a very mellow and laid back style that he refers to as "Chillwave"; a soulful, downtempo, electronic style that overachieves on "Titleless". This is the type of electronic music that would make even the most staunch electro hater listen close.

However it's not really fair to just group "Titleless" in with electronic and leave it be when there are so many elements at work. The best thing to do is just listen and let you decide for yourself.

It seems to touch on styles similar to artists such as Submotion Orchestra, 4Hero, Anthony Valadez, and others while still being unique. This one will definitely end up in an up coming downtempo mix from me.

I'll be checking for more from Millie Forte and the rest of the Universal Kingdom crew.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kutiman - Dover.D

I'm going to start this blog off not talking about the artist who is the subject.

Instead I am going to talk about my love of Star Wars.

When I was 2 years old, my parents sent me to New York to stay with my aunt while they moved from our apartment into a house. It was June, so my birthday was the following month and I would turn 3 then, but I was still 2 years old at the time.

My aunt took me to see a double feature. It was Grease and Star Wars; an unlikely combination. She later told my mother that I danced through Grease but I fell asleep on Star Wars. That wasn't quite true. I may have fallen asleep but I was sitting very still because I was blown away by the robots and spaceships. I became a lifelong Star Wars fan. That day set the tone for the rest of my life. When I saw my mom all I could talk about was Star Wars. I wanted to make everything I saw in that movie. I grew up learning how to program computers and even studied electrical engineering because of Star Wars.

BUT, I also grew up obsessed with music. I secretly wanted to be a DJ. I eventually left all of my technology work behind to try my fortune as a DJ. Here I am even writing a blog about music. Grease kinda won the battle for my soul (Which side did I join? The Light or the Dark?). I say kinda because I still watch the original Star Wars once a year. I still buy the toys. I play the video games. I want to be a wookie. And I saw this video and thought it was the coolest thing in THE WORLD!

Well, I'm on the hunt for new music and I run across this great jazzy song. I at first thought it was something from the late 60s or early 70s, it was so swank. However, I found out the song was new and was made by a guy named Kutiman.

Kutiman is a musician and animator from Israel. He studied Jazz in Tel Aviv. There he met a DJ named Sabbo. Sabbo turned Kutiman onto funk and afrobeat, and his traditional Jazz tastes began expaning rapidly.

In 2003 he took a trip to Jamaica to study reggae and ended up meeting and working with Stephen and Damien Marley.

In the years that followed he became a YouTube sensation with a musical visual collage called ThruYou. He took YouTube videos of other musicians and made their videos fit his own music. The videos went viral. He was even asked to do a similar video for Maroon 5.

Well, then I run across the video for this Dover.D song that I had been digging and my jaw hit the ground. Here's what I saw.

Holy moley! Dover.D is apparently an ode to the work of graffiti artist Dover.D who was hired by the Tel Aviv City Hall to install public art on the escalators! The words in the song even make sense "I'm gonna change you woman, step by step"!

Kutiman also has a self-titled album released in March of 2011.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fatima and Funkineven - Phoneline

I first heard Fatima in 2010 on "Warm Eyes" which featured Dam Funk on production on her debut release, Mind Travellin EP. Her voice combined with the smooth beat from Dam Funk had me hooked. However the stunner for me from that album was the soulfully electronic "On The Go" which was produced by Funkineven.

The cosmic sound of "On The Go" was so fresh and new, the song sat on repeat for weeks. I was unsure which I was more enamored with, Fatima's voice or Funkineven's production. I mean Fatima breaks down the song at the end with an interpolation of Tears For Fears "Head Over Heels", while even through the electronic cosmic storm of this beat you can hear an influence from Donald Byrd on Funkineven.

I felt like I had met the musical equivalent of my best friends.

Lucky for me (and everyone else) this duo realizes how well they work together because they continue to release music on Floating Point's label, Eglo.

They have just released a video for the title track from their upcoming EP Phoneline. This funky number that gives a nod to 90s House doesn't disappoint.

While the EP is available in the UK, it becomes available in the US on October 15th.

Floco Torres - Mega Ton Bombshell

I love Macon music. I think listening to the music from the town you live in grounds you and plugs you in to what happening.

Floco Torres is a New Jersey expatriate now living in Macon, Georgia. He fits in with a generation of hard working, successful musicians in Macon which include, Jubee And The Morning After, Back City Woods, Mag Tard, and DJ Shawty Slim.

Floco Torres considers the month of October his own. His birthday falls in the middle of the month and he usually celebrates all month long by releasing new music and performing live shows, dubbing the month "Floctober".

Torres starts this Floctober off with a bang (heh heh...sorry about that) with the release of "Mega Ton Bombshell". We find the playful lyricst joined production-wise by the equally talented G!manfantastic. Together they create a hard hitting downtempo track that pokes fun at what the mainstream considers cool today.

This track will be featured on the upcoming EP The ProjecT, to be released on October 15th, Torres birthday.  The ProjecT EP is a precursor to his new album Psychdelphia Two.

When you download "Mega Ton Bombshell" for 99 cents, all proceeds go to the production costs of the new album.

Bobby Womack - Love Is Gonna Lift You Up (Julio Bashmore Remix)

One of the greatest things that happened to music over the last year was the release of Bobby Womack's new album, The Bravest Man In The Universe, this past summer. While the album may not have been a chart topper and may have gone widely unnoticed by everyone except die hard Bobby Womack fans and music collectors, it made a statement about longevity in the music industry.

Bobby Womack's musical career has lasted 50 years. In those 50 years he wrote and recorded "It's All Over Now" which went on to be covered by The Rolling Stones and became their first UK #1 hit. He was the guitarist for Sam Cooke. He played on Aretha Franklin's Lady Soul album. He worked with Sly And The Family Stone. He was close friends and even wrote "Trust Me" for Janis Joplin.

In the 70s it seemed like Womack could do no wrong releasing several hit albums that gave us stand  out tracks like "Across 110th Street", "Harry Hippie", "Lookin' For A Love" and others.

He didn't slow down in the 80s either, releasing hits like, "If You Think You're Lonely Now" and "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much".

1998 he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

He was recently heard on The Gorillaz Plastic Beach album with Mos Def on "Stylo". Which would lead to Damon Albarn teaming up with Richard Russell to produced The Bravest Man In The Universe for XL Records. The album is a great piece of Soul with Womack's voice sounding older but as strong as ever.

With a career like that one thing that has always bothered me is that there aren't a lot of moments where you can pull off playing Bobby Womack as a DJ in the club. You can work Across 110th Street in sometimes but that's about it. The Bravest Man In The Universe has inspired some remixers to correct the situation for us DJs.

One of my favorites is a House rework of "Love Is Gonna Lift You Up" by Julio Bashmore. He turns the song into a building, uplifting, dance number that would sound good early in a set, setting the mood for what's to come.

But you can't go wrong with the originals. Pick up this album if you don't have it already.