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Monthly Archives: October 2015

obenewa

Primal panting over a pulse, flashes of glimmering chimes and an intricate, glitchy beat all topped with self-assured vocals that include sweet African samples: this is London singer Obenewa’s fantastic ‘Marshmallow’. It has an afro-house flavour to it, bringing some welcome, warm dance vibes to the fore. Her previous output includes ‘Solid Gold‘, a poppy R&B track with more celestial, traditional stylings and, while it was quite pretty and her vocals were powerful on it, it seemed a little like ground that had already been trodden. But this is not the case on the fantastic (if all too short) ‘Marshmallow’ or, indeed, more recent Machinedrum-produced ‘Save Me’. The latter is reminiscent of Imogen Heap, with its strangely manipulated vocal harmonies in the background and the soothing sense of cloud-like ambience that all underpin the singer’s unfaltering voice on the refrain, “Need to save me from myself”. There’s an older track ‘He‘ too, which channels Mary J. Blige with it’s squelchy, sultry swagger and charming hints of gospel.

Give her a listen, she’s pretty wonderful and there’s a lightness to her sound that’s all quite refreshing. And – as if the deal needed sweetening – ‘Marshmallow’ is free:

bmpm

[Originally published on GoldenPlec]

This weekend will see the third annual International Cassette Store Day take place. While Record Store Day has been stripped of much of its legitimacy, there remains a certain authentic charm to its cassette tape equivalent. But does anyone even still use cassettes? We spoke to the (ultimately) New York-based Robert Prisco, the founding member of Beach Moon/Peach Moon who, earlier this year, released their sweetly whimsical album Kite Without A String on cassette.

Some background information is perhaps necessary. Originally Beach Moon/Peach Moon was Prisco’s solo project, as he wrote while wandering between home and the West Coast. The name encapsulates the particularly isolated, personal subject nature of his music. “I’m from Long Island on the East Coast and I used to always sneak onto the beach at night when no one was allowed just for the solitude and time to think,” he explains, “It’s a pretty awesome and overwhelming thing going to the beach when there’s no one on it, especially because it’s super crowded during the day. And that’s the sort of imagery I like to evoke, so when I first started it was the name that I gave myself.”

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yankarifelabration

[Originally published on GoldenPlec]

This week is a special one for the Afrobeat fans amongst us. October 15th was the birthday of one Fela Anikulakpo Kuti, the founding father of the groundbreaking genre and – as such – the week has become one of annual festivities dubbed, fittingly, as Felabration. Kuti’s legacy is one that has spread far and wide from his native Nigeria, including to his self-professed disciples, the Dublin-based Yankari.

Launching their EP, Memoirs Of Our Time, this Friday at the The Sugar Club’s Felabration event, the group showcase a fantastic understanding of all that is great about Afrobeat: enticingly intricate rhythms dancing beneath rich brass grooves. Lyrics about justice and hope channel Kuti’s spirit, but the trio are not content in mere emulation. Instead, the instrumentation brings in more contemporary Western styles too – there are licks of bluesy, rock guitar and jazzy organ sounds, for example. The result is a a gloriously upbeat, immersive listen that is impossible to sit still to – check out our exclusive stream of new track ‘Society’ over on GoldenPlec if you need proof.

We had a chat with Uché Gabriel Akujobi about Yankari’s fascinating origins, the recording of the EP and, of course, Fela.

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I once tried to start a regular feature on this blog “For the love of R&B”, in which I would gush about how amazing ’90s and early ’00s R&B was. The section has been neglected greatly, but yesterday was Ashanti’s 35th birthday and I’ve been listening to her a lot lately and man, she has some jams. Accordingly an R&B post revival was in order, in appreciation of the one and only Ms Ashanti Douglas.

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It was in the 1950s that a movement amongst certain European playwrights saw the development of “Theatre of the Absurd”. Famously, these were plays that explored the mundaneness of human existence. They focussed on a breakdown of communication – the likes of Beckett and Pinter created funny yet tragic plays with repetitive, seemingly pointless dialogues that were laced with a sense of hopelessness and triviality. Holding Hands With Jamie, the debut album from Dublin’s Girl Band, could be considered in a similar light – there’s an odd lyrical focus on the banal that more often than not ends up drowned in frustrated, fantastic cacophony.

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