Friday, October 2, 2015

Album Review: Trap City EP by Marvelous Southstar

'Trap City' by artist Marvelous Southstar (Marlon Carter) is a 7 track EP filled with a nice blend of contemporary hip hop/R&B laden beats. His smooth style paves the way with effortless fluidity combining rich vocals and polished beats. In my perspective, this album is both definitions of "trap" meaning the way the album is laid out, it traps you, captivating you to listen. Then from the first song, "Trapped" you are seized by a song that...incorporates trap. Very creative way to get your audience listening.

Some of my favorites:


Actively talking about what seems to be his life, Marvelous displays intense verbal rhythmic uniformity by conveying straight forward facts that pertain to: ability and sustainability or adaptation to recreation; sometimes spirituality to self-identity. The roots of this song are buried in what seems to be a cloud of despondency; it strikes deep because most (if not all of us) have felt the urge to break free. Set aside to concerns of monotonous everyday life, unshackle yourself, and be independent. Standing on your own two feet, being prepared for whatever life brings...that is what this is about. A liberating feeling but not without a sense of responsibility.


At 0:28 the lead synth drops into a clean 4/4 beat with a heavy bass (808?) complimented by an airy hi-passed pad. The drums drop out about a minute in and the artist takes center stage, professing feelings about a girl, talking about finances, giving a moment to the fans, and going back to talking about his girl. It's a simple, catchy tune that could get anyone moving in a club, but to really explore the emotional depth of this song, would require a new paragraph entirely.

His song brings up a point: What is worth your time? Concentrating on what we deem most valuable can cost what little moments of reconciliation and pleasantries we have in this world. What if you talked about how being focused on your life and wife has impacted your own stability, financially or emotionally? What consequences have you faced from being in a position where multiple things you care about repeatedly cause distress? Maybe I'm looking too deep but the song doesn't explore very many avenues in lyrical imagery. The song has a very defined structure and, being concrete in its arrangement, it allows one to "zone out"But the story-line, seems very general.


Everyone has problems and it'd be far from the truth to claim otherwise. Some deal with it in ways that tend to lean to the dark side (depression, anxiety, crime, etc) and others are more productive and creative. With relationship problems, there are two sides to every story. Each view could contradict dramatically from the other and with this song, we are allowed to hear exactly that from "call and answer" verses placed well between each chorus of the song. The beautiful vocals of Kagey Constance is quite a nice addition. It's a creative technique that really won me over and I believe more so than the vocals, it's the surrounding dark atmosphere that completes this track for me. A favorite for me. Recommended.

With a decent amalgam of decidedly favorable tunes, "Trap City" brandishes a swift yet cold Rapier onto the battlefield of UK Hip-Hip/Rap. His style is rapid yet subdued, providing a cornucopia of combos to achieve victory and claim a shot at the spot on top of the leaderboard. However, some of the sounds are re-used as intros and even though it's only a short clip you'd be surprised at what your brain remembers. It's a small issue on an otherwise swell journey. I enjoyed this album. You should listen to it. Thank you.

I give this album an 8.6 out of 10.

This album can be purchased either on iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify!

Thanks for Reading!

Marvelous Southstar:


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Single Review: "Polka Dot Dress" by Stained Glass Studios

Stained Glass Studios, is it a band? Is it a supergroup? Is it a glass blowing factory? The name simply poses too many questions for one to solve. It's simply too big a mystery for me. Or is it? Lead by Mike Antonio Jr. and Curtis Gruver, this new single advocates one's longing for a relaxed, happy, and cool life.

This song promotes the simpler things in life by its audible representation itself and while the name might not imply that (maybe?): the general structure, soft vocals, and casual nature of the percussion pushes you along a seemingly positive and serene journey. Remember years ago in a time where you thought about nothing, and looked up at the stars while eating some KFC? Yeah, it's kinda like that.

At 0:02 seconds in, you'll feel like you dropped something off of your desk. Until 0:25 the song is very reminiscent of 90's ska punk, with the quick guitar plucks followed by the bass. If you like bands such as Slightly Stoopid, Sublime, hell even The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, you'll find your head bobbing soon enough.

The music video is a trip, not as in a psychedelic one. The song spans 4:20 but, the clips that make up the video can't be more than 4-6 sec long per shot. So the video tells a tale of a party but it's done so in a way that matches up with the song; it makes you feel like you were there. Plenty of close-up shots on this have been either: slowed down, sped up, clipped, repeated, lightened, cropped, and otherwise mutilated. But? It works and works well.

Stained Glass Studios is a new band to watch out for in the future. This might be a first time endeavor but it's a strong one. It's one that really strikes an impression to those who listen close enough. If you've heard it more than 5 times, listen 5 more. Spread the word, fight the power! Peace out.

Stay Classy

- DjjD

Stained Glass Studios:


Monday, August 24, 2015

Single Review: "They Don't Put it Down Like You" by Yourz Truly ft. JC Collins

As stated on his Soundcloud:

"Rapper , singer , songwriter Quartez L. Binns better known as Y.T (Yourz Truly), started out as a R&B artist and would later go on to prove to be multi-talented as he took on Hip Hop as a freestyle rap battler, showcasing his lyrical skills during his high school years. Known for his diverse style and musical creativity, Yourz Truly is the first artist to be released on the indie label FaSho Records based in Atlanta."

Yourz Truly aspires to break out of the typical facet of hip-hop/R&B based with new and innovative beats meant for the dance floor and beyond. Whether your listening in your car or blasting in a cubicle at your workstation, "They Don't Put it Down Like You" is sure to get your body movin'; while I'd like to hear (and see) more freestyle raps from this young artist, with the two tracks currently present on his SoundCloud, his potential is very good for the future. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

At the start of the song, we have a mellow synth followed by some minor sounding chords. The song progresses nicely into a chorus and the main line of the song "They Don't Put it Down Like You". By a minute in, you realize this is a chillin' on the couch type of song. It's not overly complex and it doesn't need to be. The lyrics compliment the 16th hi-hats, and the bass accommodates the ample room left for the short but sweet piano plucks.

The song is very well written and the overall theme is one of love and respect. The song provokes a strong emotion for objectiveness, implying the other party (for which the song is about) is one of a kind. Hence, "They Don't Put it Down Like You". R&B is a strong genre for these particular "feels" and this song definitely nurtures those feels. Much like the conclusion of many video games, movies, or novels, you want the struggling hero to succeed. It is the classic tale of the underdog looking to seek out and obtain his goal.

However, as much as I like this song, as I stated before, it's not overly complex. If you're looking for a track that has a variation of time signature, a change of key or a turn of tempo...this might not be for you. The track very much maintains a stagnant feel, but it is one of a catchy nature.

This is a great song and I highly recommend you be on the lookout for Yourz Truly. His style is unique, his flows fresh, and his beats tasteful.

I give this track a 9.3 out of 10.

Thank you for reading!


Label Homepage:

ahem...yours truly,

- DjjD

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'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.

"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!


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.

"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.

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'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!


I give this album a 8.4 out of 10.

Follow 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'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!


I give this album a 9.3 out of 10



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:

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.

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, 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!


Blog Page:

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.