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GLGV politely use the Japanese courtesy and say “Itadakimas” before devouring a beat. Offering melodic bars peppered with pop culture references over sweet yet powerful production, the Parisian crew comprises five rappers and a DJ, balancing between different worlds as an eclectic group with a genuine original energy and sound. Their name is an acronym for “Good Life Good Vibes”, and together they’re determined to shine with their second project ‘EscXale’, releasing September 21st.
- Sid Vashi is a recording artist from Mumbai, India. In 2017, he released the concept album ‘Azuma Kazuma,’ which received critical acclaim for its ambitious narrative arc and intricate musicality. The final collateral release from the album’s universe, the single ‘Birds’, was released in May of this year. Azuma Kazuma is a Bildungsroman set in the outer solar system in the far-flung future, telling the story of a young nondescript man overwhelmed by existential fear, the finality of capitalism and wistful memories. Over seven tracks, the album swings wildly from bass, to jazz, to indie ballads, all coloured in the tones of Sid Vashi’s warbling voice and labyrinthine electronica. In 2019, he plans to begin a fresh release cycle inspired by new surroundings and old musical traditions, tempered by his own unique irreverence.
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In a scene where hype can build and fall dangerously quickly, A2 is an artist who has been slowly burning away, honing his sound and building a dedicated following over the last six years. After the success of his 2017 debut full length album ‘Blue’, the south London artist returns with a brand new 5-track EP that takes on a warmer shade; the rapper sets the tone from opener “Flex Luthor”, as his distinctive croaky flows ride soaring RnB-infused trap production with celestial synths and pads creating an uplifting atmosphere. Standout track “Flair” sees him link up with Octavian, Suspect and Yxng Bane for an irresistible banger, underlining his status amongst the UK’s upper echelon of elite artists who are pushing the culture forward.
Chicago emcee Elton makes a profound and soulful introduction with his debut EP, “Elevated”. Sitting at 6-tracks deep, the breakout project is packed with soulful jazz-infused production and introspective lyricism, with the young newcomer’s powerful versatility making it one of 2018’s most impressive new hip-hop offerings. Featuring a slew of his peers in fellow Chicago artists Phoelix, Akenya, Blake Davis and Luke Titus, with this effort Elton has created an impressive foundation for his inevitable ascension.
Hailing from the Paris neighbourhood of Argenteuil, Jewel first found a means to express himself though dance before falling in love with rhythm and poetry. On the soulful “High School”, the lyricist is all in his feelings as he finally reveals his secret love to his high-school crush. Effortlessly switching between a precise flow and a harmonious hooks, he offers a upbeat, lilting energy to create a striking piece with real replay value.
Molly Hammar’s debut EP fulfils her dream of making soulful R&B music. ‘Sex’ is an uncensored settlement with the shame around female sexuality; a 6 track EP about freedom and liberty, filled with anthems to deconstruct the social taboo around talking about the female body and sensual pleasure. Hammar’s voice is as smooth as silk as she sings about relatable themes of independence and that empowerment; ”I don’t need a man, I need a hand.”
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Sage’s songwriting prowess wields the power of her skilful instrumentalism. Whether leading jazz-driven ballads or adding an artfully minimalistic touch to electronically-infused tracks, her music bridges the gap between the indie and mainstream cultures of Kenya’s diverse scene. Produced by her longterm partner Dillie, “Watching You” is a soulful blend of timeless melodic RnB and down-tempo trap that emphases the strength of her harmonised vocals, ahead of a delightfully unexpected twist.
Danish band Barselona make smooth DIY-pop for every walk of teenage life. Rud Aslak and Rasmus Theodor met each other at an ‘efterskole’, a unique type of independent boarding school for young people between the age of 14 to 18, and together have risen to be one of the most promising duos in Danish music. Barselona’s tracks are characterised by slow-paced summery warmth, retro synth elements and vividly descriptive romantic storytelling about adventures in the sun. Their sophomore EP ‘Sommerkys’ (meaning ‘summer kiss’) adds extra layers of depth to their dream-like universe, with big things to come for the duo.
‘Koopa-Cabras’ is a unpredictable celebration of monsters and folklore. The latest release of Tropa Mágica, the musical project of brothers Rene and David Pacheco, the track stars modern mythological creature Koopa merged with a more cryptic Latin-American character in The Chupacabras, who’s name comes from the beast’s reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock.
The track starts with synth arpeggios that mark the “arcade videogame ultimate villain feeling”, before suspensive percussion appears followed by a bassline and surf style guitars that creates the tropical punk mood characteristic of the Pacheco Brothers. The siblings, based in Los Angeles but of Mexican roots, collaborated in this occasion with two other Latin artists: Fredo Ortiz and César Mejía.
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Sidharth Ezhilan writes genre-defying electronic music as Ezzyland. Starting off as a committed fan of hip-hop before discovering electronic music through Soundcloud, his music reflects his broad range of influences; though fluid in form, the core precise note selection drives the narrative with an emphasis on melody and a full sound run through experimental downtempo motifs. With his latest release ‘Kryptonite’, the Chennai-based musician creates a compact but satisfying piece, with hedonistic, melancholic lyricism marking his first attempt on vocals. His experimental approach, fusing hip-hop and electronic music with an organic groove, leads to the creation of an evolutionary sound and makes Ezzyland a definite artist to watch.
Indulge in Code Kunst’s rich and deep music world. Over the last five years he has become one of Korea’s most successful hip-hop and RnB producers, with an internationally-renowned reputation inspiring projects such as “Hood” with Joey Bada$$. 2018 has been a big year for him, after signing to rising label AOMG and appearing as a judge on South Korean TV rap competition ‘Show Me The Money 777’; building on these successes, Code Kunst shares new double single “BLESS” collaborated with Loco & Woo Won Jae. The low-pitched melody and Woo Won Jae’s indifferent style of rapping creates a tranquil and relaxed vibe, alongside melody variation and support from Loco, while B-side “11” is driven by dream-like acoustic guitar ethereal vocal samples, showing Code Kunst’s skill of controlling tempo and deftly putting the right factors in the right place. The producer explained the message behind the release; “We always pursue our own BLESS and do explore, but usually, find ourselves getting more depressed in the progress. However, despite the desperate situations, we are still blessed existences that can constantly try to reach for the bigger dream.”
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Kemunto’s delicately smooth vocals belie her raw, emotional vulnerability. Born and raised in Nairobi, the artist describes her sound as “afro-urban soul driven music”, penning a range of RnB inspired slow jams infused with reggae grooves. Accompanied on guitar by Edwin Majanta, her new acoustic version of the track “Maybe” is angelically haunting, consoling and beautifully heart wrenching all at once.
Almost a decade ago a dub legend, Mad Professor, originally from the tip of South Americas belly, Guyana, joined forces with the Uruguayan Alicia Dal Monte Campuzano known worldwide as Alika to give life to an iconic album in the history of dub: ‘Mad Professor Meets Alika’.
The complex work, entirely produced by Mad Professor, has seven tracks with their respective dub version of each. Alika’s powerful voice contributes direct, clear lyrics in both English and Spanish that speak of respect, dignity, and self-confidence as she rejects the oppression, consumerism and corporate dominance of Western society.
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Ninth Child’s ethereal voice is etched delicately into the soulful edges of her heavy drops with a psychedelic style that provides a sonic refuge for listeners. With a fiercely feminine energy that is welcome in the growing festival scene, her audiences bathe in the reverberated echoes of her emotional lyrics and adventurous electronic soundscapes, which she writes, produces and visually embodies herself through her own creative and artistic direction. Her “LOVERS” EP dropped early in 2018 to a positive reception, alongside her intense high-energy shows, featuring projections, free-form dance and unique costume design.
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After an extended break from releasing music, Danish singer-songwriter Coco O. has returned to embark on a new two-track project. Previously known for her work with electronic outfit Quadron, her new solo singles “Bled For You” and “A Minor Detail” are united under the project title “Dolceaqua”, and thematically revolve around heartbreak. Featuring mellow, acoustic guitar accompanied by rich, cinematic strings, the songs are carried by her strong and sincere vocals; her lyrics are introspective and poetic, delivered over rhythms infused with the laid-back softness of Bossa Nova, a departure from her previous collaborative work with producer Robin Hannibal.
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Despite not having a single official record released, the excitement around artist Unknown T has been bubbling away for months now. Finally, this week he released his long-awaited debut track ‘Homerton B’, sending ripples through the UK drill scene just in time for carnival season. First heard previewed on one of the infamous DJ Tim Westwood’s legendary Crib Sessions, the track sees the east London rapper shelling ice-cold flows in his distinctive, instantly recognisable deep voice, as his memorable chorus adds an unexpected danceable energy to the track. Drill is arguably Britain’s most controversial genre of the moment, with many artists making headlines for criminal activity and police even going as far as to block tracks from YouTube and ban acts from recording or performing, but Unknown T draws the focus back to the musicality as his booming melodic delivery and crystal clear enunciation inject a startling fresh energy, illustrating the enduring power of innovation.
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Mumbai-based live electronic act Madboy/Mink are known for their trademark electro-funk sound and high-energy theatrical performances. Delivering a cosmic disco sound with a sonic palette inspired by vivid synthesizers, their third EP ‘Persons. Elastic. Superior. Fantastic’ is a post-punk-infused psychedelic journey that is warm, lush and vibrant, and introduces the audience to a new side of the duo’s personalities. Both members hail from film backgrounds and share a keen interest in retro-futurism (a fictionality of how people in the past envisaged the future); as such, the EP’s standout track ‘Laika’ is a direct reference to the first dog to be launched into space, orbiting the earth in 1957. Contrasting with their previous louder, more club-oriented work, this latest project has an introspective and funky approach reminiscent of Daft Punk, making for a smooth listen whilst also carrying a strong political message about global issues, driven by the theme of space exploration and a perspective on the insignificance of life in the larger scheme of things.
Olympia is an enigmatic R&B/soul artist based in the Philippines. Born Anica Feliciano, she’s fast become one of Manila’s best kept secrets and has already worked with a number of notable artists within the Filipino scene, featuring on records from the likes of CRWN, Pamcy, Aries and more. ‘You’, the first single off the artist’s upcoming debut solo album, is a smooth melodic track filled with mellifluous tones reminiscent of laid-back afternoons.
Swedish MC Silvana Imam linked up with two of the hottest names in the country’s hip-hop scene, Fricky and Khan-Ji, for a brand new 2-track release. First track ‘4 h’ is a slow, grooving love song; Khan-Ji sings with his distinctive deep, warbled voice ‘4 timmar, jag och du baby’ (‘4 hours, you and I baby’) over a bashment-infused rhythm, as Imam explains her love for her partner and Fricky completes the song with his sweet auto-tuned vocals. The mix between her direct rap delivery with Fricky’s piercing vocals combines again on smooth pop-trap effort ‘Ta Hand Om Dig’ (which means ‘Take Care Of You’), with the duo expressing their responsibility to be there for their loved ones. Imam’s ability to channel true emotions into her music and this collaboration’s careful blend of rap and melody has resulted in a pair of slick late summer jams.
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‘Léticia’ finds Jazzy Bazz at his most romantic. The Parisian lyricist makes a declaration of unrequited love to the apple of his eye on this light-hearted serenade, poetically expressing his helplessly obsessive desire for a woman who does not seem interested in his advances. After long months of silence, the rapper from the French capital’s 19th arrondissement will be back with his highly anticipated sophomore album “Nuit”, releasing September 7th.