Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Album Review: 'Steampunk Cybercrunk' by Dataphiles

Dataphiles, a resident of South London, is an independent music producer, sound designer, and self-proclaimed Reaktor mangler. Utilizing an astounding amount of textures, Dataphiles manages to create a very unique sound amongst electronic artists. Blurring the lines between conventional traits of digital audio workstation productions, it's quite apparent through sounds used, this artist is a lover of music.



As stated on his Bandcamp page:

"Steampunk Cybercrunk is based on the concept of two realities colliding: the alternate past of infinite opportunity that is Steampunk and the laser laden, futuristic but dystopian world of Cyberpunk. It combining elements of electro-swing, dubstep, house and classical music to create a fresh approach to the electronica EP."

While I do feel this album does represent two different worlds of audible nourishment, it feels much more vast than that. Each track feels like a strong representation of influence, even if it's hazy on where it came from or how it functioned in the grand scheme of the album's tone. Which truly makes me think that even the slightest, shortest sample picked up by our senses can create the most dramatic of differences in how we perceive audio in any given space or time.

"Beep Beep Baby":


Bell ringer? Electro-Swing is in the house. If you're a fan of Parov Stelar, The McMash Clan, or Gramatik...you're going to dig this. The chopped up brass contorted with sidechaining basses and all manner of unusual percussion make this a delightful groove that doesn't take much effort to jive to. And while it does progress and add variety to the percussion throughout the tune, it doesn't really introduce much melodic variation. Subtle diversity enumerates growth in a artistic expression and while I do feel this is a tune meant mainly for the dance floor - and not at an isolated location in a garage - hearing it as a critic/nit-picker: the inclusion of a key change might've worked well at 2:45 after the breakdown.
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"Remember Me":


Emphasizing a much darker, minor tone, "Remember Me" reminds me of early Unreal Tournament music. A driving, murky tune that accentuates mellow yet distressing hints of general eeriness. It's hard to pin down a mood for this one, honestly. It's like if Nine Inch Nails mixed with Maniacs of Noise. Not much else to say about this one, I can dig it!
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"Harpsix":


Oh yes, breaks. Breakbeat. Breakwinning more like it. I love breaks, everything about them gets me hyped up for something. This song, introducing - as you might have guessed - a synthesized harp, creates a familiar yet distant approach to a genre I cherish greatly. Good chopping on the drums, the disjointed breakdown (at 2:04) really adds an uncommon rhythm to this style of music. Reminiscent of a good friend of mine...this song hits a soft spot for me, and is my favorite track on this collection. I'd gladly listen to this song over and over and over.
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"Waltzing with the Devil":


Being the longest track on the EP, it's no surprise that it also features the most amount of variation of any track. So here's my narrative take on this track: A robot, a self aware robot named B0b was slumping his way across the dystopian, futuristic city of Kwan Loong, when he came across a hooded figure on the side of the street. The hooded figure began talking to B0b, but when he couldn't understand (not being programmed to understand English), the hooded figure began playing a tune on his fiddle. With excitement, B0b walked with the stranger, understanding very little of this magical talent when the hooded figured handed the fiddle to B0b, and struck a deal saying, "My power could be yours, if your free-will is bound to me." B0b looked at the stranger and glared back at the fiddle, analyzing the hooded figure's lip movement to the electromagnetic pulses emitted by the fiddle and suddenly figured out the intention. In an instant, the robot had gained all he needed recreating a history of all the previous notation that had been played by the hooded figure, and handed back the fiddle...walking off into the distance.

A very pleasant and original tune, this one.
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This is certainly one of the more original albums to head in my general direction. I'm always happy to hear something new but I'm obligated to review accurately. The general production of this album is good: There is no clipping and all tracks remain sonically cohesive. The tracks serve as a platter of unique resonance and for the most part, it would be enjoyable to everyone who doesn't wish to listen with a sense of constructive criticism in mind. While I would've preferred a bit more headroom in "Harpsix" to widen the sound of the track, that does not make it a bad track. Production and arrangement are two very different things, and if the world listened more closely to the two elements presented in most digital music...it'd be a happier place. Or not.

Regardless, this is an album that is worth listening to, in my honest opinion. The potential for this artist can only grow from here and I anticipate hearing his future endeavors!

Thanks for reading!

-DjjD

I give this album a 8.4 out of 10.

Follow Dataphiles:

Homepage: http://www.dataphilesmusic.com/
Bandcamp: http://music.dataphilesmusic.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dataphiles/114814585297
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dtplrecords
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/dataphiles


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Album Review: Finding My Home by Postać


Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Postać debuts on the DjjD blog with his new album titled, "Finding My Home". Having 8 years of musical experience with various instruments, this artist released a 10 track collection of the deep, chilling tones of icy coolness. As I write this, it's snowing outside at a chilly 28 F, this album fits more than you might realize. It may not be the largest album I've ever reviewed, but man, the tracks really hit the spot for me.


"Finding My Home," really sets the foundation aesthetic for the whole album. A nice intro, complimented with a wide yet glassy pad which in turn introduces all of the floating, delicate melodies surrounding the percussion which, despite it's simple texture to the song...totally works in this case. Is your house an igloo? There's such a crystalline glow about this song, it's hard to describe but, imagine someone tapping on tuned, transparent wine tasting glasses and that's about as close as I can get to a description. This is great and it also, reminds me of another song, who is from a really good friend of mine. I could, see a collaboration happening.

 

Only getting better from there, the next track, "The Clock Keeps Ticking", really emphasizes the glassy feel from the first but somehow manages to represent a total change in structure and mixing. Now I could be wrong, but it feels like a lot of time when by between the production of the first track and the second one, there's a vast improvement here. Things feel much wider and thus...envelopes the listener more.

I took a few moments to ask Postac his background in music and ask if there was anything he'd like to say to his fans:

"Postac is from Buffalo New York.

Postac started in middle school as the creator, lead singer, and guitarist for the punk rock band Tripod Black. The band dissolved shortly after perusing a B.A. in Music Industry where Postac honed his musical skills in classical guitar, jazz, and classical composition.

Postac has been writing and composing music for a little over 8 years.

Greenday was the band that inspired Postac into music with their album American Idiot. Music from the 80's and 90's from the U.S. and Europe (having lived there for 3 years) has been a huge influence, so artist like Peter Shilling, Coldplay, Dido, Roysopp, to name a few have been heavy inflences. Also music from Kenai Kawai, Philip Glass, Baden Powell, and Charlie Parker have been inspiring and influential."

You know when I started this blog, I wanted to find music I could relate with. I wanted to find artists that could challenge my perception as a critic to find better qualities in instrumentation, arrangement, and whatever else. The goal? It'd be as much of a learning experience for me as well as a promotional advantage for whoever I'd be writing about. I'd be gaining new insights for different types of music and how artists ebb and flow across a digital or analog workstation while it might help them out to be exposed to the people I've met, who might read this blog.

Most times, it's a really easy process. Pure honesty here folks. You take a few tunes, you listen to them over and over until you're singing them in your head without help from speakers/headphones. You judge, you decide, you make several inquisitions and you piece together the results of what you've appreciated or disliked from your pros 'n cons chart.

This album, "Finding My Home" relates to those paragraphs in a way that well...it's kind of existential. Music is freeing, yet the more you travel down the path of a composer/producer, the more away from "home" it feels like. This album is definitely one of the best I've had the pleasure to listen to in 2015 so far. It's chilling, soothing, unique, and it provides classy production.

Thanks for reading!

-DjjD

I give this album a 9.3 out of 10

Links:

Homepage: http://www.postacmusic.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/postacmusic
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/postacmusic
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/finding-my-home/id940120085
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-My-Home-Postac/dp/B00PHPDWN0
Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/6oFCllEZfpU7VNG2wckxGX?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open
Jango: http://www.jango.com/stations/328408003?l=0


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Album Review: DUV 9 Rocket Science by Dynamics Plus

Man, this winter has not been kind to me thus far. I spent a lot of time on an uncomfortable bed, got to know her, got to understand her feelings and know that sleep is not all about comfortable mattresses and sleepy vibes. It's also about springs that pop through beds, or how the bed can be uneven causing you to tilt...or somehow that for any reason at all the bottom mattress's wooden frame could snap apart because you hit the wrong area of the comfort zone. It's a hardship that not all of us have to face but...nonetheless: Beds should be sleepable.

Now, for music.



Dynamics Plus, a native of Long Island, New York provides an original blend of R&B elements and fast-paced words of wisdom to those who are keen enough to listen. Depending on how you look at it, this is either going to satisfy your taste with cool, funky fresh synths or aggressive, charismatic lyrics that display a compendium of genres, bound to take you by surprise.

The production of this album is great, the highs are crisp where they need to be and mid-EQ sits on a finely tuned plain of audible astroturf. It varies quite a bit as the tracks can consist of R&B, House, Trip-Hop, Rock, and Funk elements. It always switches things up; there's never a dull moment. I took a moment to ask Dynamics Plus a few questions on his new album:
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DjjD Studios: What was your inspiration for this album?

Dynamics Plus: I guess Rocket Science feeds off the last albums. It was after C.H.A.O.S. Legion and Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship that people kept asking if I was done with freestyle rhyming and aggressive raps. I just felt that the narrative was a fine showcase for my creative slant so I incorporated a lot of the storytelling style on Rocket Science.

 iTunes Link


DjjD: So it's your fans who help you create more new material?

Dynamics Plus: Yes. It's about slices of my life translated through rap music. Things happen and have happened and I share. I planned for a huge number of albums and I jump around that list of projects- depending on what's going on and what feels right to make. Some projects had to wait until my skills and tools matched my vision.

DjjD: What equipment did you use?

Dynamics Plus: Tough one to answer since some of the music on Rocket Science is very old and my gear list has changed a lot over the years. I usually have a sampler, a ROMpler or workstation keyboard and then several synthesizers working together. I like to have a wide palette of sounds available.

Recently, most songs start with NI Maschine, the Spectralis synthesizer and a KORG M3. That's enough to get me deep into the track. I have a lot of other gear that I turn to, but I get more done when I focus on a few pieces doing a lot.

DjjD: Who was all involved in the process of this album?

Dynamics Plus: This album is special to me because I reached out to so many of my friends for help. SheaDoll, the same singer from Fortress of Solitude's "Maschine Slave" appears on "Hug the Pole". Nae B, another singer, helps me on "Plenty to Say" and Anthony Michael Angelo plays guitars on "Dash the Cloud".

I think it's important to collaborate. There's an energy that builds from people working together. Players and other artists add their unique spin and input and I think that value is becoming lost as everyone wants to be a one-man-band. I like discovering new paths and perspectives...and that's why I joke it's hard to think about something you haven't thought of.

DjjD: How long was this album in the works?

Dynamics Plus: Years, honestly. I remember trying to create this album years ago and failing miserably. "Gear Lust" in particular had about a dozen different versions recorded and I hated them all. The album intro was recorded several times and I completely rewrote it for this album. "Summer Anthem" never had a second verse and was going to be a quick interlude. I basically gave up and realized it wasn't the right time to make Rocket Science. Even "The Ultimate Year" was remixed at the last minute. Now? It just felt right- like this was the ultimate year to release an album called Rocket Science. I guess I finally figured the formula out. Thanks for the time, my friend.
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I gotta say, I really like "Gear Lust", the drums almost sound vintage as if a touch of tape saturation was added to the percussion to fill the soundscape. His rhymes punch through the track like Chuck Norris busting through wood planks, it's powerful yet fluid. I feel like I'm hearing some 303 basslines in the back there, which...is always a good thing in my book.


The album takes on some dark topics and overall, can feel a little gloomy at times yet the short but humorous skits inbetween tracks really help showcase the artist's diversity. I've taken a good amount on this review adding and subtracting; separating the facts from the personal opinions. Reaching a final verdict, the answer is this: the production on all the tracks are great.

I believe Dynamics Plus has done an awesome job here. It's not hard to tell a lot of serious work went into this. It takes a special kind of person to make everything sound just right, it takes a skilled one to make it cohesive adhering to a certain degree of multeity.

"This is just a vision of incision with precision" - 'The Ultimate Year'

I give this album a 9.6 out of 10. Thanks for reading!

Links

Homepage: http://www.thedynamicuniverse.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dynamics-Plus/112125078834120
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DynamicaMusic
MySpace: https://myspace.com/dynamicsplus
Blog Page: http://dynamicsplus.wordpress.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DynamicaMusic
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/dynamics-plus
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/dynamics-plus/id58742748

P.S. Personally, I quite liked Chaos Legion as well, so here's a bandcamp playlist!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Album Review: Story of Staying Home by Sanghera


A resident of San Francisco, Sanghera hits the industry with a 7-track LP full of mindbending lyrical twists, expressive flows, and impressive diversity with "Story of Staying Home". Chalk full of rhythmic snaps and pops, Sanghera proves knowledgable in composition as well as production. Listening to the lyrics closely "Story of Staying Home" explains exactly that. It describes through rapid rhymes, the experiences of an individual who's had the hard times, the hard life and engages those who pay attention with a emotional double edged sword disguised as an audible message. It's hard to tell Sanghera's influences because...there's too many I can count from the assortment of genres exerted.


I quite enjoyed '1991', the intro hit me in all the right places utilizing fast hi hats and saturated yet soft basslines. From The Departed clip to the staccato strings and meticulously placed synth plucks layered between, this track is for those who thrive on the hard hitting beats. My only complaint would be the length, it ends well...but just over 2 mins and 30 seconds I felt the track could've gone farther.

This collection of tunes is layered, detailed, comprehensive, and above all, smooth. Sanghera has quite the following on Facebook, so it's nice to know I'm but just one of the many people to hear his music. It deserves to be heard. It is music that is marketable and satisfying. So congrats to Sanghera on his release, and wish him the best in his musical endeavors.

Thanks for reading!

I give this album an 8.7 out of 10.

Links:

Homepage: http://www.iamsanghera.com/wordpress/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsanghera
Twitter: https://twitter.com/i_am_sanghera
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/iamsanghera
Bandcamp: https://sanghera.bandcamp.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Album Review: Scenes Through the Magic Eye by Rasplyn

Now, I'll just be blunt with the audience today. Hauntingly beautiful is an expression that's often thrown around a lot. Whether it's just a ghost that looks pretty, or a song that is so well crafted that it's disturbing...it's apparent that Rasplyn throws something unique at the celestial world of audible tones and strikes an unusual presence in the world of "hauntingly beautiful" music.


To be released through Mythical Records, "Scenes Through the Magic Eye" is a blend of ambient, neoclassical, and folk elements. I do say, with a name like Mythical Records, the majority of their material is exactly that. With all the tracks being longer than 4 mins, it's easy to see why each one will require ample to listen to appreciate just what exactly went into this. 'Priestess of the Goddess' clocks in at the longest track on the album and appropriately, it showcases of the immense detail put into the slight velocity levels of nearly all the string instruments and how that compliments the brass and bell instruments that follow suite.



The album follows a medieval path, and whereas most of the tracks are deep with dark, ominous vibes...'Open Door' shows a softer side of Carolyn O' Neill's solo project. About 2 mins in the track takes a much more mellow, gentle tone. It's a reflection of what has happened and what will come...

"You're waiting for a train. A train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don't know for sure."

This is the general vibe I get of this album. Your path seems uncertain, but whichever way you take, it won't matter. The audible ingredients in this avant garde, industrial, fusion based cocktail concoct a trippy experience that is bound to leave you in a petrified trance; while you might not remember every single detail, the whole picture is anything but a blur.

I give this album an 8 out of 10.

Carolyn writes:

"Rasplyn's "Scenes Through the Magic Eye" is Carolyn O'Neill's debut release on the experimental music label, Mythical Records. Rasplyn is the solo project of Carolyn O’Neill who uses her experience with classical composition and film to create mystical and visual landscapes with her music. Carolyn is a Chicago native who grew up playing the clarinet and organ. After playing in her high school orchestra for four years she went on to receive her degree in Music Composition from Columbia College Chicago. Her music is dark, but beautiful and filled with textured layers influenced by world culture and fantasy. Her style is transforming as she experiments with adding vocal elements into the environments she creates. Her debut album "Scenes Through the Magic Eye" is due to be released on Mythical Records on November 30th, 2014."

Thanks for reading!

Links:

Homepage: http://www.rasplyn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RasplynCarolynONeill
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rasplyn
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rasplyn
G+: https://plus.google.com/110526813640647977151/posts

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Album Review: Hand Over the Heart by Rainstick Cowbell

It's hard to stay why 'Hand Over the Heart' has such an impact on my own view of music, but few can reach a similar level of raw emotional audacity. Whether you're listening to this album as another artist trying to gain influence or a listener who stumbled upon a musician who blurred musical lines: This album is something else. The various environmental noises, the quick guitar string pops, the vocalized percussion...it all adds up to something that feels like metal but acts like classic rock. As stated in the description of the band, Rainstick Cowbell prefers to go by anti-folk, and while I can't say I've ever heard of that genre before...the idea of it, sticks out very vividly.



But it's all more than that...

The amount of influences in this music, is astounding. I haven't talked to the artist too much, but the wispy vocals in some of the songs are very reminiscent of something I'd hear out of a Led Zeppelin album. Rainstick Cowbell tells a tale of a person whose voice punctures the limits of reality and warps the very fabric of space; throws it into your headphones for a very surreal experience.

There's a familiar yet, concerning random pattern to his songs. They start out soft usually with an aimless, sundry ambiance leading into a guitar riff that can also go into a number of different phrases. All of them have a different atmosphere, take a listen to this one:




Versus:



I can't say I've heard anything quite like this, but I can't - in good conscience - review this with insanely picky production standards that I've had in recent reviews. This album sticks out on its own solely for its musicality, emotional depth, and rough vocals that add a classic, almost analog depth to his tracks. It's different, yet recognizable...and Rainstick Cowbell does a great job of keeping my attention (mostly) throughout the entire album. The one issue I take, is one that probably isn't relevant, but the end track...

...makes no sense.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Most albums I review on this page, I'll do a test. It involves a pair of headphones, a music player, and a bed. If I can lay down and get through it without having to move at all, it's a great album. With pleasant tracks throughout the whole compilation of songs, it's very unsettling to hear an end track, that is static-y noise. It threw me out of the world I was in, the places I was going, the things I was seeing, and the vibes I was feeling.

Aside from that bit, this was a great album, one that surely deserves your attention.

I give this album an 8.7 out of 10.

Thanks for reading and now...

Links for everyone!

Home/Bandcamp: http://rainstickcowbell.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rainstick-Cowbell/463891770047
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rainstickcowbel
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rainstickcowbell

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Album Review: 'Lounge For Intellectuals' by Paul Kremleff

I've always been a fan of chillout. Something about the vibes it gives off through most of the tracks I've heard in the genre...I can't quite put it into words. The ambient pads, mixed with a soothing bassline and a couple gliding arpeggios. Think of your favorite track you listen to, ask yourself how many times you would play it over without switching to something else. The term that fits closest though, would probably be equilibrium.


'Lounge for Intellectuals' is a 10-track CD by Paul Kremleff, a singer-songwriter from Moscow, Russia, emulates easy listening vibes while crossing the border into pop. A few of the tracks give off a very dance-y yet ballad feel. At "I'm Falling Down," I'm picturing over the top film soundtracks from the 80s, like...Top Gun.

The production is pretty good along most fronts and it's easy to tell where Paul excels. "4 Minutes of Contemplation" is an example. Call me a sucker for intro pads, but when the pads mesh with the already looping guitar, it's blissful. However, the negative of this album, which is hard to say for some tracks...is the vocals. Sometimes they're spot on. With " - & + ", you really get a Gary Numan vibe. The vocals fit in a way that it keeps the song going with a driving force.

This is a great debut from Paul. I really feel like with a little more effort put into the vocals things would've been a little different, a little clearer. The production values stand out as being a highlight of the album, and this definitely fits into the Easy Listening genre. With influences like Barry White, U2, and Jamiroquai...Paul showcases a multitude of multigenre tracks that are well worth your time!

I give this album a 7.8 out of 10.

Thanks for reading!

Paul Kremleff
Homepage: http://www.paulkremleff.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/paulkremleff
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulkremleffmusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulKremleff
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulKremleff
Google+: https://plus.google.com/101329363715775170034/about