Big Mean Sound Machine works as a unit to create music that is a nod to its influences (including Afrobeat, Dance, Experimental, and Funk). They respect and clearly have a deep understanding of the traditions they hold up while also creating a sound that is all its own. Their talent got the attention at one point of Tony Allen (Nigerian pioneer and co-creator of afrobeat with Fela Kuti and the Africa 70), whom they had the honor of playing with. The grooves, the harmonies, the ambient effects, the experimental melodies, and ultimately the spirit behind the music on Runnin’ for the Ghost results in music that you feel in your core. The songs call for you to get up and move.
Runnin’ for the Ghost can be found on iTunes
As music makers we have many different approaches of creating our art. One path that some have opted for is the realm of spiritual practice. Music derived from this path can often be fascinating. Even to those not on a spiritual path there is great value in this music.
Enter the world that is the live recorded album The Landing Zone. Created by Ujjaya (aka Hery Randriambololona), a “French ethno-ambient musician with Malagasy roots,” this record is a calming injection of ambient music as well as ambient natural sounds. The record is a meditative journey through a vast number of instruments and beautiful looping arrangements.
Ujjaya came up with the inspiration for his music via “his yoga practice and of his travel through Asia for spiritual purposes.” I may be on a different spiritual path than Ujjaya, but I felt his music on more than just simply a cerebral level. It is an album that is more of an experience than it is a background music like ambient can sometimes become. I truly think there is something of value here for everyone.
The Landing Zone can be found at https://archive.org/details/eg0_162/04-JungleFever.mp3
I’ve featured Suffolk-based Jake Aldridge’s music numerous times here before. This newest single may very well be his best yet. It’s absolutely brilliant guys, from the melodies to the verses, I mean it :).
COC aka City of Colors is a Polish experimental music project based out of Warsaw. Their newest release, Circumgyration, showed up in my email as a submission and I’m really glad that it did. The record explores various spheres of sonic expression. There are synths, samples reminiscent of early Steve Reich, glitch style beats, noise samples that give it a John Cage feel and melodies that interlock to create really beautiful parts. It is a very experimental record, but I think that even the more mainstream listener can enjoy aspects of Circumgyration.
If you like glich or ambient music, click on the Soundcloud link above to experience Circumgyration for yourself.
As a musician I have always felt that the best music just happens. You train your mind to be one with your instrument and its capabilities, then throw it into improvisational situations. Music that is improvisation based takes many forms, and the record Inner by Nunun is one of them.
Nunun is a project consisting of Italian musicians Cesare Discepol (guitar, effects) and Massimo Discepoli (drums). It is deemed to be an album of introspection, experimentation, and as alluded to before, improvisation. The musicianship of Cesare and Massimo cannot be overstated. They understand their craft down to its most minute details.
What really shines here, however, is the compositional acheivements of the group. You are brought to realms of profound groove, ambience, and beauty that flow seamlessly from start to finish on this record. I feel like this album is an intersection of the free jazz philosophy of Ornette Coleman and the grandiose (yet inward-looking) nature of the David Gilmour-led Pink Floyd era.
When Inner releases on March 15th, I suggest you head over to https://acustronica.bandcamp.com/ and pick up a copy for yourself.
Ambient music comes in many flavors, but it is often most associated with a pleasurable dream-like state. I love this type of ambient as much as anyone, but I also love when people explore the darker potential that this music has.
Enter Iranian composer Mehdi Mahmoudabadi and his EP Time is Addictive. In this record, we see the looping minimalism that ambient music is well-known for, but there is a massive twist. The tones, samples, instruments, vocals, melodies, rhythms, and harmonies all give off an experimental and dark vibe.
Try to imagine Trent Reznor in his Downward Spiral period making a record with Brian Eno and you get an idea what this record sounds like. The fact that Mehdi is so young (20 years old) and able to make music that has this much unique character is a real testament to his talent.
Time is Addictive can be found at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/time-is-addictive-ep/id1174937966
“Keep an eye out for Kennedy, he’s a man going places” – BBC Radio 1
Radio 1 in this case knows what they are talking about. As I listened to Welshman James Kennedy’s upcoming record Home, it became clear that he was a man with a strong artistic vision. Central to this record is the powerful nature of the song structure. The choruses soar and the verses are tinged with a driving force that calls you to listen intently.
Incidentally the core inspiration behind this record is, as Kennedy’s PR agency told me, his exploration of depression and utilizing the music as therapy. As a fellow sufferer of severe depression, I totally get this. And this understanding is helpful in looking at the record as more than just a collection of great songs.
The songs are powerful and can only come from a place that understands what darkness truly looks like. James Kennedy’s vocals are modern, refreshing, and ultimately an amalgamation of numerous stylistic influences (rock, soul, blues and pop). For me, James may very well be the Welsh Jeff Buckley, as his songwriting reminds me so much of the late, great performer.
Home is an uplifting journey for the listener and it reminds you to dust yourself off and keep pushing on in a hostile world.
Home can be pre-ordered at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/home/id1182038899
James Kennedy can be found at: