Giant – Hibernation: The Mixtape

HIBERNATION COVER

The internet has become a great place for mixtapes to be produced and distributed. Certainly, it was a great way for artists such as Nicki Minaj and the like to gain attention. The issue we now have is being able to wade through the sheer quantity that’s out there, which is no mean feat. Giant has created a slick mixtape with shining production values, in the shape of ‘Hibernation’.

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Steve Ryan – Boundless Moments

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Opening with ‘Real Time’, it’s clear that Steve Ryan brings with him a lot of confidence, and a lot of funk!

The guitars snap along, supporting Ryan’s soulful voice. The breakdowns are fun as well, with some latin percussion revealing itself in the background.

‘Your Stare’ immediately shifts tone, a smooth lounge number with piano and cymbal swells. Rich with airy vocals, the song sways along at its own laid back pace with no hurry. At points it gets a little over-saccharine, but Steve Ryan sticks to what he does well, and his voice adds depth and soul.

‘Easier Said Than Done’ heads into rockier territory, with squealing guitars, a strong rock beat, and guitar parts that touch on Pink Floyd. The fun starts in the second section of the song, where the guitars begin to really chug and the rhythm is pushed a little harder.

Blue notes are all over ‘Don’t Tell Me’, led by a strong piano line that lays a foundation that is firmly established by the time the chorus kicks in. Moody backing vocals fill in with their “aah-aah-ahh”s in the pre chorus, resurfacing later on to create an exciting choral line that draws on gospel influences. And watch out for that falsetto!

‘Say It AIn’t So’ keeps things simple with a classic Rhodes and jazz drums, while Steve Ryan croons with confidence over a smoky, bluesy, jazzy final song on the album.

Steve Ryan delivers a generous helping of soul, blues, and jazz; check out Boundless Moments.

Convulsic – Love Space EP

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Opening with brittle, warped beats, Convulsic’s Love Space EP‘s first track ‘The Day You Left’ creates a moody atmosphere.

Chopped, stuttering female vocals set the stage with a big bass beat behind them, before the house organ moves in to play, as the double-time rhythm kicks. From this point on, all best are off – Colvulsic throws everything at the track but the kitchen sink; bass drops, glitched-out glimmers, Rustie-esque bleeps, and a massive sprinkling of dubby throbs. Vocals are chopped up beyond recognition, until everything pulls back to present a distant wash of smoky electronica. The track shifts and changes, keeping interesting the whole time, and closes on a softer tone, with a heatbeat-style throb before its abrupt end.

‘Love Space’ keeps things going in a similar style, although the vocal sample feels slightly ill-fitting on some notes which although something of a shame, creates an intriguing vibe that keeps the track slightly on edge. The electronic arpeggios create a pretty texture shifting up and down on the left and right channels, and droney sirens begin to creep in to the mix to punctuate the bass drops. The mid point of the track sees things pulled back a little to allow the track some room to breathe, until a four-to-the-floor beat kicks in leading into the trademark dubstep breaks and beats.

For some manic, all-out dubstep, check out the Love Space EP by Convulsic.

Magniz – Music

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After a spoken word introduction, the album gets going with ‘Staying Wid It’, a sharp and snappy track with a hot snare leading the beat.

It’s upbeat, fresh, and modern sounding with female backing vocals and a confident flow. Tonally things stay interesting, with the vocals treated with some distortion at points to keep things edgy.

‘Leave Us As One’ opens with a female lead and a dark organ, before distorted guitars begin to chug, laying a foundation for Magniz’s raps. The whole track stays closer overall to its hiphop genre, using the rock themes as a way of flavouring the sound rather than being crossover or hybrid.

‘Continuum’, an instrumental, features dubstep throbs with synths and slapback delays, and a peppering of glitchy chiptune elements.

‘Feel The Power’ unloads the raps hard and fast to the point where it sounds like they might trip over themselves. It’s another darker-toned track, with some inspiring melodies alongside the vocals, while ‘Boom Bap’ introduces a horn section as it opens, leading into a total freakout of wub-wub bass, pitch shifted vocals and frenetic rapping.

Things get toned down a little on ‘Let Your Light Shine’, with a sweet piano section that lays down the backdrop for some Kanye-esque stylings and a smooth female vocal on the chorus. The album sticks with this tone here as it moves on to ‘Daydreamer’, another instrumental track featuring pianos and an insistent beat that stakes its claim at the mid-point, before cutting out as the pianos re-emerge and then easing back in for the track’s ending.

‘Bring The Artillery’ has an appropriately military tone to it, forward facing and consistent in its rhythm on both music and lyrics, while ‘It’s About Time’ draws on video game music and deep bass throbs. The final instrumental on the album, ‘Fracture’ sticks with the video game sound and throws some airy gasping vocal samples into the mix, before drawing to an energetic conclusion.

Penultimate track ‘To The Sky’ features a female vocal on the intro from La’Nique, which returns for the chorus. Her voice fits the track well, with a softness that works well in juxtaposed with the rap.

Music concludes with ‘A Monsta’, which takes a full minute of instrumental to prepare itself before any vocals appear. When they do, they are rich are varied, featuring guest vocals from Destination Mars.

Go ahead and check out Music by Magniz, for some fresh hip-hop that takes cues from many modern artists.

Sticky Fingers Band – I Miss The Good Times

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With classic rock and roll sensibilities, the Sticky Fingers Band use their Rolling Stones influences to their advantage.

With vocals that echo Jagger’s distinctive tones, and a huge brass section, ‘I Miss The Good Times’ is big, ballsy, and confident in what it delivers. There’s a hint of ska underneath it all, which mostly comes from the way the bass and saxophone work together as the track begins, drawing in an additional influence from bands such as Madness.

The track features a strong middle eight with a climbing bass run, leading into a smouldering guitar solo that bleeds into a cheeky sax section.

‘I Miss The Good Times’ is effortlessly confident, meticulously produced, and carefully mixed. It’s these elements that make it a track that could very easily be overlooked on the basis of its sheer credibility.

For some home grown classic bluesy rock and roll, check out ‘I Miss The Good Times’ by the Sticky Fingers Band.