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‘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.
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SUMIN defines versatility. As a producer, creative director and singer-songwriter, the Seoul based artist’s talent was fostered under the care of her piano teacher mother, and music became the focus of her life. After years of successful projects in the K-pop scene, this year she finally released her first studio album ‘Your Home’, a diverse project filled with multi-faceted songs that express her perspective on love. Under this romantic theme, factors like affection, anger, difference, and sensuality are portrayed through the different styles & genres that represent each emotion at its best, with blasts of 80’s synthpop, R&B and house. The title track ‘너네 집(Your home)’ featuring guest vocals from Xin Seha, creates a fantastic feeling of dazzling adoration as synthesized dream-like melodies flow through a pulsating beat.
One of the most talked about bands to appear on Brazil’s indie rock scene, Carne Doce hail from Goiás, a state traditionally famous for country musical acts but that has been breathing new life into the indie rock landscape in recent years with the emergence of bands like Boogarin. Carne Doce were founded 5 years ago by the couple Salma Jô (singer) and Macloys Aquino (guitar), creating an outlet where they could talk about their love and relationship in a frank and straightforward way with a refreshingly naturalistic perspective on sex, love and other drugs. The single ‘Amor Distrai (Durin)’, from the band’s newly released third album ‘Tônus’, is a perfect example of a passionate night between two lovers; a smooth, steady tune with honest lyrics that go straight to the point of the singer’s desires and wishes.
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An ensemble of woodwind instrumentation and beatboxed rhythms distinguish the sound of ‘Sistema’, a four track EP released last year by Eric Mandarina. An experienced musician, actor and all-round entertainer, since 2004 he has been studying self-taught percussion, classical guitar and acoustic drums. His latest proposal is a journey that mixes elements of dub and reggae with analogue house bass and funk-infused drum pulses, as lyrics loaded with mundane questions seek to demonstrate the systematic operations that we oppose.
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On her debut full-length album ‘Devotion’, Tirzah establishes herself as one of the UK’s most intriguing artists. Entirely produced by the esteemed underground producer Mica Levi (aka Micachu), the record builds on Tirzah’s previous dance-infused releases by introducing elements of contemporary alternative RnB, creating a distinctive other-worldly atmosphere through warped samples and looped percussion led by her husky vocals. Her distinctive candid delivery is at once warm and mysterious, driving each track as her melodies are pitched up, multiplied and twisted to create a sound that is truly original in its tripped-out, ethereal intimacy. This graceful electronic sound is highlighted on lead singles ‘Gladly’ and ‘Affection’, but each of the 11 tracks here introduces a fresh dynamic, resulting in a record of genuine depth that showcases the 30-year-old’s versatility and natural chemistry with long-time friend and collaborator Levi.
Rotation combines with fellow member of Sudanese collective nuslang. on banger ‘Affin Affin’. The track adopts a ‘trap-zanig’ style, fusing Sudani instruments with contemporary hip-hop to inject a refreshing dynamic energy. Driven by Rotation’s unique flow and a spine-chilling guitar solo by producer WillyWill, “Affin Affin” is a powerful example of the strength of the East African country’s vibrant rap scene, incorporating Western influences to create new original gems.
Following in the lineage of the city’s rich modern musical history, Detroit has introduced another talented mind in Choker. Last year, his self-produced debut album ‘Peak’ received acclaim for uncannily evoking sounds of Frank Ocean, yet still crafting his own individual sound. His follow-up project ‘Honeybloom’ released this month, creates a unique ethereal atmosphere through its experimental approach and depth, with beautifully expressive vocals driving unpredictable, unconventional melodies. Choker is a truly multi-faceted artist dedicated to pushing boundaries while still remaining accessible through his meaningful lyricism.
Performing under the stage name LONER, Lean Ordinario is an independent Filipino artist with an intriguing sound and a promising future. His recent single ‘autopilot’ evokes a darker mood fit for cold nights of solitude, with dreamlike tinkling pianos and sparse percussion taking a different path from his usual indie/neo-punk rock sound. The track builds the excitement for his LP entitled ‘no fidelity’, coming in the near future.
Paris’ Guizmo is a complex figure, with a personal life troubled with self-destructive tendencies and struggles with vice and addiction. In his music he painfully describes his experiences in this dark environment and his slow journey to redemption, revisiting the iconic Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin classic “Je t’aime… Moi non plus” as he explains to his lover how tortured he is and warns her to stay away from him.