Rap made from France, with attitude.

Juste Shani, a french rapper extraordinaire has hit a beat and bars like no other with her upcoming EP Quelle Idée?

Fairly unique in it’s composition, the EP (which will be on sale January 13 2019, by the way) is a very good celebration of rap and boom-bap music, combining elements from all genres ranging from trap to slight tunes of jazz.

A small package of four tracks, we start off with Faux Départ, which for those of you who don’t know French means False Start. A protest against being forced to molds and being mislead in terms of a career life and one’s own life overall, Faux Départ pretty much allows you to enjoy the rhythm that is fairly classic to French rap but twisted to the roots of rap: acting as a protest against certain dents in society.

Jump to Kirikou, the second track of the album (which is probably named after an amazing animated movie of the same name) and we get a full on different vibe from Shani’s first song. Following a more modern rap background, Kirikou drives on forward a more powerful tone in terms of her independence from people which comes up in the lyrics. A massive fresh air to the modern rap ambience, this one is a massive win in my books.

Charles Perrault, her third song however, drops back to a more mid-2000’s sound with it’s gritty Akai MPD style percussions and drums, really pushing in the aggressiveness of this beat. Going against the rules of a fairytale, Juste Shani breaks down the illusions of real life by pulling parallels to stories like Sleeping Beauty (which, fun fact, was a story originally written by Charles Perrault. Thanks, Wikipedia.) and Snow White.

Ending this marvelous album is Vie de rêve, which is personally my favourite track from the album. Why? Because it completely rewrites the way how trap is made. Finally adding the much needed flesh around an otherwise very bland music genre, Vie de rêve has got to be the album’s best piece. This is the song where she plants her foot down. In the lyrics clearly one thing comes up: never forget Shani and her powerful verses.

This is one rapper I really will look forward to seeing at the top charts of France in the future. Energy, power and something much needed: a woman at the helm of rapping about societal problems.

 

Go check out Quelle Idée:

https://justeshani.bandcamp.com/album/quelle-id-e

Follow Juste Shani:

https://www.facebook.com/justeshani/?ref=br_rs

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQg6LL5WbKBcKfI4L82ra5A

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The Other Fantasy by Ed Longo, a promising modern take on jazz.

Remember how I said that funk ain’t dead on the previous article? At the other side of the coin, Ed Longo is rejuvenating jazz with The Applied Arts Ensemble, a group of mainly jazz musicians from all around Europe. The fifth entry to the roster of Early Sounds Recordings seems definitely to be their best lift-off to 2019 with a very interesting concept.

Even though the album will be published on January 2019, we are greeted with an amazing introduction to this ambiguous project: Love On The Line. Starting off on a rather italo disco-y tone, we get more and more deepened into the soft bed of jazz through tinges of funk starting off with a wavy synth followed by a mellow flute,  urging us into a dream state-esque groove. The drums themselves give the perfect BPM to tap to, and slowly every element including the ethereal female vocals come together into a full track that is just waiting for a radio release.

Mark January 28 2019 folks, that’s when the EP will drop and when we can listen to what is Ed Longo’s strongest introduction of the upcoming year.

SINGLE: Tango Hustle by DJ MARRRTIN

And who said that funk was dead? DJ MARRRTIN keeps the sound of that action packed genre well alive with his single Tango Hustle, which is part of the up and coming album Tango Hustle / Arash1 / Kills that is to be published by Stereophonk, a French label and pure treasure trove of full albums and tracks that ooze the unadulterated energy of genres like funk, bebop, and jazz.

Not even wasting a single second of the groove, Tango Hustle is a track with musical power to be reckoned with, mainly empowering the oh so classique feel of the plucking electric guitar. Not only that but also the piano that emanates bebop style vibes with it’s smooth arpeggio. In layman’s terms, the piano is amazing.

What are you waiting for? Go pick up the pre-order vinyl here:

https://stereophonk.bandcamp.com/album/tango-hustle-arash1-kills

Check out Stereophonk:

https://www.facebook.com/stereophonk

PRODUCT REVIEW: Ollo Audio’s S4 and S4R headphones

Before we begin this article, this is by no means sponsored by Ollo Audio. I hardly pay attention to headphones at the higher end, but now that I had the chance to test these out I feel that an article explaining what made me fall in love with these headphones is the least I can do for an independent headphone manufacturing company.

As some of you might know, I am very deep within the world of music and I love listening to new unique takes on different genres, ranging from jazz to experimental electro.

I have been scrounging for a while for a great pair of headphones that allows me to hear the full range of a track so I could do a thorough investigation of the auditory world the song created.

So after a massive research and through the mixing group I frequent called the Mixbus Soundstage, I found out that Ollo Audio allows trial listening to their headphones.

So I gave them a go.

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Ho-ly d-a-m-n.

Right off the bat, the build quality is phenomenal. We are talking about wooden headphones that actually feel like the design mirrors the performance and not like some cheaper wooden headphones that are like paper mache cups. These are actual, hard and sturdy wood that could survive any fall. Don’t drop them though. Seriously. Care for them like your new first born child.

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The packaging itself is fairly simple.

First off I tried their S4‘s, their open back option and apparently the most popular version of their headphones that is fairly used amongst the mixing communities around the world, ranging from at-home studio mixers to the veterans at Abbey Road Studios.

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Part of Ollo’s mantra is using environmentally friendly packaging.

What baffled was not only the build quality but the full range they allowed me to hear. I have Grado SR-60e’s which were my point of reference to the S4 open back headphones. So naturally I did a comparison, and I found out the differences were slight but clear; the S4’s allowed me to hear even better the lower frequencies in songs and when mixing they allowed me to single out, even more, the problems in a mix. On mastering, they felt like the most natural choice to use after doing a pre-mix with my basic Grado SR-60e’s.

Even better was how surprisingly sensitive they were to volume change when it came to listening to music but in a good way. At times I noticed that some of my headphones can’t handle sudden loudness spikes that come from more intense music like garage rock or more party-centric electro. Even my SR60e’s can’t handle that well, at times I can hear a small crackle at the higher frequencies.

The S4’s though kept the sound very well rounded and contained, not allowing a single frequency to go over their intended limit. For some, this is a great sales point, for others not. I love hearing a full range of a song but I dislike when some instruments take too much of a lead.

As for the S4Rs, the difference is simply that they are closed. Compared to the S4s though they felt more responsive to bass and brought out even better the punch in a song. Say if you’d listen to more intense music like glitch hop or mixed gun sounds, I would definitely recommend using the S4Rs for the process considering how even their frequency response is fairly flat but allows you to hear the vast frequencies like the S4s.

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Considering that Ollo Audio started off in 2015, compared to most higher-end headphone manufacturers they are still figuratively walking in children’s boots but man, after listening and using these headphones for me it is very clear: those baby steps have evolved into massive leaps, and those children’s boots are just about to transform into grown-up boots that will strut the road of high-end and cost-effective headphones.

Ald reading on the origin of Ollo Audio, seeing how it all started from an experiment of putting a speaker into a chair, it is safe to say that innovation itself clearly has no limit at all!

I can’t wait to see what Ollo Audio will create in the future. I regularly keep on checking what they are up to and I sincerely hope that you will too.

Go check out Ollo Audio:

https://www.olloaudio.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ollomixingsystem/

SINGLE: Smalltown DJs & Dances With White Girls – What’s Your Poison

Friday’s around the corner, so of course for that we got Smalltown DJs with Dances With White Girls bringing us this banger of a single What’s Your Poison, a track true to it’s roots as a fist pumping, foot stomping and jump inducing electronic disco beat.

Along with a good old vocal loop that is very deeply rooted in the electro scene since the 90’s going “disco, techno, what’s your poison”, this banger is easy to chant with and just let your body do what it should do: pump to the music.

Check out Smalltown DJs and Dances With White Guys:

https://www.facebook.com/Smalltowndjs/

https://www.facebook.com/danceswithwhitegirls/

ALBUM: Calendar Project by Feverkin

Releasing the 14th of November 2018 but available to listen on Bandcamp already, Feverkin graces our ears with an album aptly named Calendar Project, a mix and match of very chill instrumentals followed by an amazing ambiance.

Easily remembered, each and every track is simply named after every month of the year, from January to December. Each song representing it’s respective time of the month very well and staying true to very laid back attitudes, stumbling upon Calendar Project was an accident that I hoped to happen.

Starting off with January, a form of melancholy to the end of winter is easily heard, with percussions to match and very deepening harp, I love every second of this song and I knew that the first 20 seconds got me in deep to the auditory world created by Feverkin.

And to the middle of the year, we flow to June, with a summery harp inviting into a song that clearly invites the heart of summer into it. Towards the end, crescendoing to a more upbeat drum track along with what I guess is a form of background kalimba, the entire song is covering such a vast soundscape along with its very immersive cricket ambiance, beckoning of a wheat field in the summer.

And by the end of the year, what hit me the hardest was the amazing track of October started by the ethereal wailing of a woman panning from left to right. This track itself yells autumn, it is like a melancholic ode to the end of nature’s liveliest months and the welcome to the cold winter. Like a very sad berceuse to nature, gently letting her fall to sleep so we can meet her again next year.

What surprised me most was not only the music but the videos associated with each and every song; showing the process of how each track was composed and the instruments used to create this vast soundscape. Definitely fell in love with the use of the steelpans.

All in all not only was the mixing amazing in this album, but composure itself is also clear with perfect panorama and use of reverbs. You can hear the very distinct room tone too, the mixing itself clearly kept to emphasize space.

Which I guess is what this entire album is about. The space around us, the space we want to be in every month represented by tracks masterfully crafted by Feverkin.

Whether your favourite time of the year is spring, summer, autumn or winter, Calendar Project is an album that for me redefined the usage of sound design in music. I haven’t even picked my Album Of The Year yet, but this one definitely takes the cake.

For a while, I saw that implementing ambiance in music and using it as the base premise of a song might be near impossible due to the unpredictable nature of, well, nature. But clearly, I was mistaken. Feverkin showed that when the right minds are working at the right time, an amazing album can be made in harmony with nature herself.

Greetings!

instruments

I’m one of the new writers on Frequency Café! My name is Ximena López and I am 22 years old. Currently, I am studying journalism in Spain and I am within my third year. I am originally from Panama, a small country in Latin America. My first language is Spanish, but I studied in English up until university when I moved to Spain.

My main interests other than music include very indie oriented things, things that are not ‘mainstream.’ I do play piano and guitar and I am proud to say I can read sheet music.

I joined into the Frequency Café since it is a great way to start getting used to constant article writing and also a theme I enjoy.

TRACK: What’s In My Heart by VIGI

 

Time capsuling back to the good old grooves of the 1980’s, VIGI comes up with it’s track What’s In My Heart a song that is part of his up and coming release French Honey.

A pure, no holes barred disco jam that is so true to the source material that it feels like one of those hidden gems you find from a vinyl thrift store.

With a flute ensemble along with the horns on the background and an amalgamation of both electronic and acoustic drums along with the classic alto sax and basslines, this release that is sponsored by NDYD Records is a clear homage to Donna Summer’s type of music.

I just love this song so much! Just the feel of going back to the time with a cassette player on the hip and just jamming along to the sweet tunes is a very warm feeling.

Give this track a listen, I can assure you that if you never heard true disco, this is a perfect modern take to the classic genre.

Go check out VIGI:

https://www.traxsource.com/artist/85477/vigi

https://www.junodownload.com/products/vigi-french-honey/3911698-02/

Go check out NDYD Records:

https://www.traxsource.com/label/25561/ndyd-records

ALBUM: Sunstroke Bloodpool by Silent Laika

 

Fully charged with emotions ranging from apathy to love, Silent Laika flows their soundwaves into our ears with Sunstroke Bloodpool, an indie rock/ alternative album filled with a lot of songs that remind me deeply of both the Arctic Monkeys and Gorillaz.

The quartet composed of Jacob Mundt, Lewis Parker, Asbjørn Mathorne & Arto Louis does such an amazing job at bringing in an album oozing of a form of feeling like you would be in a warehouse live gig, just such amazing energy in every track.

Personally, I found Champagne Emoji to be their piece de resistance. A lot of emotion in it, encompassing the full length of the melancholy of love, the good memories but also the coming to terms of the other half simply not being good for you. Along with nods to emojis, this is a nice take with modern lingo on a classic subject in this genre of indie rock.

What mainly took me in though was how every song has unique instrumentals while the vocals stitch the whole album together extremely well making them dreamy, filled with attitude and pleasant to listen to.

All while listening to the album I felt a simple need to sway. You know what I mean, right? Just a feeling of letting this flow take me in and lull me to a simulation of a meetup with friends, corking a few cold ones, enjoying a nice campfire and kidding around. How I envisioned this album, basically.

One thing that made me sad was how there is no vinyl nor cassette release (or CD, but who collects those anymore, am I right?) so I can only hope that Silent Laika will release their albums physically someday.

Please?

Pretty please?

Go check out Silent Laika’s Bandcamp and pick up Sunstroke Bloodpool from there:

https://silentlaika.bandcamp.com/album/sunstroke-bloodpool

Silent Laika’s social media:

https://www.facebook.com/silentlaika/

EP: Joy O & BenVince – Transition 2/ Systems Align

 

 

Under the label of Hessle AudioJoy O and BenVince released in May of 2018 their two-sided vinyl EP Transition 2/ Systems Align, a very classic render of ambient electronica with Boiler Room-esque vibes that you can imagine in an unsolicited party in an abandoned warehouse.

Starting off with Transition 2, there are very clear references to trains with the rather entrancing and smooth whistles, while the bassline itself guides back to the jamming session itself; percussions and synths coming together with the sequences, the mish-mash of all these elements clearly is a perfect rendition of that very classic house tune: super chill, very underground and energetic.

From side A of the EP, we jump to side B with Systems Align, this time going to a slightly grimier version of house music. Strong bass kicks push you right into a more tribal composition; synths first alluring you that it will go to the familiar pattern but no, after the 0:51 mark you will hear how the arpeggiation suddenly greets you with background trumpets, reverbed into a near whale-like screech. The rest, you will see. Prepare for a digital tribal dance.

Overall it is clear why Joy O and BenVince teamed up for this shared EP, it is clear that their sounds are very similar and I can’t wait to see what else they will come up with.

Usually, I find this kind of ambient electronic music rather dull. There are many instances where it can simply just become completely gray: it is always the same old bass sequence, kick, hi-hat and synth arpeggio.

But not on this album, sure Joy O and BenVince follow the same layouts as ambient electronic music, but they add their clear own spices into this mix. A dribble of tribality here and there, another pinch of urbanism and post-modernism there… basically, it all simply works.

If you are not that much of a fan of electronic music, I highly recommend this EP. In fact, I placed my order for a vinyl and I don’t have a vinyl player! Yet.

Go check out Transition 2/Systems Align:

https://music.hessleaudio.com/album/transition-2-systems-align

Go check out Hessle Audio and follow their social media:

https://www.facebook.com/hessleaudio

http://hessleaudio.com/