Some Kind Of Illness – The Light

Sometimes you hear something that sounds just very familiar. Like the tune you used to hear when you were a kid, hanging with your girl. Or that song that came up yesterday on the radio. Or this tune you hear when recognizing that old record store you used to spend all your money. You know when this happens, right? Only when the music is done with passion.

“Some Kind Of Illness” is a british band founded around 1999, and they do some very authentic acoustic slow rock since then. Having gained a lot of experience over those last years, they recently came up with their ten track album on bandcamp which includes “The Light”, a song which caught my attention because of the way it’s played. The great thing about the way it’s played and sung is that you actually feel what the brothers Mark and Paul Hinks are trying to transmit to you as a listener. I always enjoy when something doesn’t only reach my ears but triggers an emotion in any way. In this case, it’s done by a minimalistic mixture of guitar layering combined with serveral vocal tracks. This results in something smooth, something authentic. You won’t find sixty layered synths here, no fat bass or flat mixed drums. And that’s what’s making it real: no room for playing a role with this kind of music. Listening to other tracks of “Some Kind Of Illness” I realized that the secret ingredient to their music is just that – no gimmicks. Just passion. Feeling. Those guys not only know what they are doing, they FEEL what they’re doing. And from this point on, it doesn’t get any better. I’ve heard so much artists over the years who are all about the technique but not about the feeling. But those guys are different in a refreshing and great way.

If you’re having some spare time and are in the mood (key component people, the music is mostly melancholic and needs that environment to be played), I strongly suggest you check out their other work on bandcamp or soundcloud. You’ll find guitars, warm voices and sometimes even a touch of synth tracks involved. Most importantly, you’ll find peace of mind for a couple of minutes.

Irishjohn – Juno

Until today, I never imagined that the work of the Jupiter polar Orbiter could be peaceful, happy and fun.

Do you even know Juno? Besides originating from greek mythology, that’s the name of an orbiter module packed into the running NASA new frontier program, and it’s mission is to collect data from Jupiter. Dublin based producer Irishjohn now set up a electro/edm track, picking up Juno as a concept for this track. What I first expected to be a dark, uncomfortable environment (after all it’s deep space, right?) turned out to be a very nice and soothing track everybody can enjoy and dance to.
The beat and bass combination is pretty minimalistic and steady which acts like the foundation of the whole track. Due to the fact that it’s a great alternating baseline, combined with an arpeggiated synth for the main melody, this track is just making you move a bit, and with several changes happening there, like a break or a slight change in the arpeggio of the synth, the track brings the last missing piece of the puzzle to the table – that would be creative arrangment.
To compare the track itself to the Juno mission: it’s doing its job steadily and like it’s supposed to be. (I guess it wasn’t that expensive to produce though, haha.) There aren’t too much exciting things going on, but that’s really not necessary. Irishjohn found a main melody that works just fine, and managed to combine it with all the things necessary to make people move. To state the major negative thing in the track, it’s that changing synth sweep done with high tones. In my opinion that happens too often, being too present in the high eq band. Besides that, this one is an all-purpose tune for clubs as well as background music in bars or something like that.

Irishjohn did another track obviously from the same run called “The Cassini Divison” where he used basically the same elements and instruments he did with “Juno”, this one is another track worth checking out. Also, you’ll find a bunch of other tracks on his soundcloud acccount.

Hunnymoon – Bandit

If someone releases with an outstandingly well mixed track and a state-of-the-art music video coming along with it, he or she just gotta convince me to not just have the money to do so. I need to be convinced that there’s talent, emotion and passion involved. And …oh, did Christopher Hegarty aka Hunnymoon convince me.

To be honest, I first was sceptic when getting a pitch to review the newest track of Hunnymoon. The production of the video just was too good to come from an fresh and uprising talent. After reviewing the links provided, all my doubts were off the table. Yes people, we got a newcomer here. And yes, I know he doesn’t sound like he’s new to the scene. And there you got the reason I write about his latest track “Bandit”.
After a short introduction which sounds like the heavy steps of a lone gunman, you are introduced to the main track with a minimal, basic but effective combination of drums, guitar and bass, combined with the smooth voice of Hegarty. There are two things I really like, one being the soft and defensive vocals, the other one being the innovative drum pattern which keeps the impression of walking steps with a staccato of small tom hits with accents on the measure. Talking about the singing, I buy the emotion off of the lyrics. This song overall manages to trigger emotions, and everyone who knows me a bit just knows it’s essential for me to feel the vibe of a track.

“Bandit” is a great alternative rock track. Like I said before, nothing negative on the mixing side, on the contrary. No glitches, no weak eq work, nothing. The only thing what raised my eyebrow was the change of the rhythm when the refrain hits. This is an intended effect and all, but in my opinion it wasn’t necessary. But hey, that’s just me.
I think with the outstanding british talent Hegarty the competition in the alternative rock genre just got raised by one. This one is a natural, and if he continues to produce tracks like “Bandit”, he will be playing big stages and making big money in the game in the very near future.

RiP – Bleeding Pain From My Words

Ever got hit by raw emotion through a song so intense it made you freeze in silence, just listening and taking in what you hear for several minutes? No? Well…prepare for that.

This one got me goosebumps. Why? Simple. It’s not because the used technique is something never heard before. It’s not because of the best finalized mix I ever heard or the greatest instruments or hooks ever used. It’s because the track itself delivers the message with a huge load of passion and emotion. You don’t get that very often nowadays, but Antonio James Acosta Sr. aka RiP did what many artists forgot how to do: he transmits his feelings right through his performance. And he does so in a unique fashion – by not playing a role. You just can hear that this is no gimmick of his, this is a part of him.
After a slow and melodic intro with a distorted female voice in the background you are introduced to the main melody right away. I’m no expert in what belongs into a unique and great rap track, but as I stated before, kms is not about the technique but the effect on the listener. As soon as RiP picks up his first line there’s emotion sitting on it. It just great to listen to him, because he delivers genuinely. Browsing through some of his other tracks (he’s got quite a lot on his soundcloud account worth checking out) my first impression was cemented: he’s not talking about being real – he IS real.

In my opinion the texan based artist Acosta is an outstanding artist when it comes to being honest and take that honesty out there. With quite minimalistic beats and melodies he even manages not to distract the ear away from the lyrics too much. In his soundcloud stash you’ll find pretty much everything, be it for sitting in the yard thinking about life or crusin’ down the blocks around midnight. With this skills at his hands, he makes everything seem so easy to do, although it’s hard work, blood, sweat and tears, so to speak. RiP belongs out there, because he doesn’t WANT TO be mainstage material – he already is.

Diego Bacar – Distant Love

Imagine a foggy morning. Jogging on a trail above the big city. Keeping your mind clear and your focus steady. Running down the miles easily with this track on your headphones. It just doesn’t get better than this. Believe me.

With “Distant Love”, the newest track of Diego Bacar, everything falls in line. Using an excellent arpeggiated synth line as a main theme in different variations, Bacar abducts your ears to a place where everything seems crisp, clear and where it should be.
Starting with a somehow familiar heartbeat-like intro, the track serves you a flat and easy going beat/synth combination which doesn’t give away too much right away. The producer did a masterful job in changing pace within these 6 minutes of track. When you get used to the main theme, he puts on the breaks so to speak, giving the stage to a warm, slightly distorted piano along a string instrument, reminding you that the connection between classical components and deep house or trance is just depending on several key elements. I love it when an artist is able to switch quickly between genres, showing the listener the way to actually drop prejudices against other genres. It’s an artform not mastered by many, similar to a real good magician. Whenever he does something you never saw or heard before, you always wonder: how the heck does he do that? Well, Diego Bacar is that magician.

Following his work for a couple of months now, I noticed a major upgrade in his mixing and mastering skills as well. After this track it has gotten quiet around him – I really hope that he’s just working on the next track by now. He’s got the tool set to produce big ones out there.

Louise Marshall – Vibes

There still are those honest artists who don’t promise you anything you won’t get. There are just few of them, but you can be sure of one thing: you won’t find them easily – they will find you.

One of these artists I’m talking about is australian singer/producer Louise Marshall. Although I just know one track of her, this girl is about one thing right away: honesty. It’s just so refreshing to see an artist who doesn’t buy followers. Who doesn’t buy klicks, posts false bios or promote themselves like they were superstars when they’re clearly not. Before I talk about the track, let me just rant to all of those self-proclaimed “stars”: shame on you! What you call “promotion”, I call making the work of people like me harder than it already is. If your music is good and has potential, you won’t need a headline stating that your track is number 6 in the spotify charts (which it wasn’t ever anyway). I hate to deliver that to you, but: being a musician is work, people. It’s not about having 4000 facebook fans, but no reactions whatsoever on any new posts you publish. Duh.

Okay, sorry about that. I just felt that had to go off my chest because I’m losing valuable time every day to sort out real deals from phoneys… Back to real musicians. Louise, who managed to be that brave to just post her track out there with no strings attached, used a very electro/pop beat and percussion and a warm baseline for her track. In adition with her voice, this feels like a warm, sunny day, sitting somewhere at a bar or on a seaside club. Although she used stab-like synths with more focus on the higher band during the breaks, they don’t interfere with the overall feel. I especially like the instrumental part being followed by a slightly distorted vocal track. Again, there it is, this bravery to mix to different genre elements, which in my opinon turned out great. But the change between distorted and non-distorted does indeed happen a bit too quick, another instrumental break would have helped there.
The overall mix is solid, sure there are some rough edges, cut off vocal edits and maybe a few notes off tune, but hey – that does make the track more charming to me because – you guessed it – it’s honest.

Young Louise Marshall did a great start in my opinion. Although I just found this one track (which seems to be her first online release so far, at least on soundcloud), I’m sure there will be more great tracks following, if she stays true to just doing her thing. This is how it’s done, folks – you can do it? Then just do it, and show the world what you got.

Young And Dramatic – Déjà vu

On days like these you need tracks like that. Not the usual happy electro pop goin’ on, but a track filled with melancholy in such a huge amount it makes you just freeze. Thinking. Staring. Listening.

With the use of a retro synth, a minimalistic bass, a slow beat and some real good vocals, the guys from Minsk manage to carry emotions on the back of the track like pros. Due to the tempo they chose for the track, the song manages to lure you into a void of sadness, just before all of a sudden a break makes you listen up. Hey, what’s that? Like light at the end of a tunnel, the band leads you to softer, lighter tunes. As if they wanted to say “hey, it’s not THAT bad now, is it.”

You know me, I’m a fan of raw emotion dripping off tracks. Being in contact with mostly electro/dance tunes, it doesn’t happen too often that I’m actually getting a transmission of feelings with the tracks I encounter – but this time I did. With their borderline mixture of psychedelic rock and krautrock, they manage to create an emotional stage for what they have to say. And they do so in a melancholic fashion, not for everyday moods, but for sure it’s music for “one of those days”.

If I had to mention a negative thing, it would be the lack of an official homepage or more information about the members and formation of the band. Browsing through their archive at Soundcloud, I got the impression that “Young And Dramatic” have found their genre a long time ago, they know what they do, and they do it in a great way.

Mokito – Earth is a Cloud

Although disturbing in some manners, something keeps you listening. Feeling a mixture in between nice, cozy space to uncomfortable space, massive drive and a room filled with curiosity. Not for the mainstream masses, but for the mind.

Today’s pick is a bit experimental. The reason I’m recommending you this particular track is because of it’s original nature. Starting oh-so-innocent with a soft, dreamy synth, the track manages to suddenly to turn around the atmosphere to a somewhat not-so-comfortable place anymore. Still enough to leave you curious, wondering what will be next.
To give you a picture, I guess this is what kids feel when entering a forest on their own. At first it’s nice, warm and great to be there, but as they go further into the forest, it get’s more adventurous, new things to explore. And if they go too far in – they’re in trouble. Of course, that’s just one of many interpretations of what’s happening in the track.

French producer Stephane Vitart aka Mokito has that special ingredient in his track I really like: the element of surprise. Throughout the track there are changes happening, keeping the sound alive. He uses several elements, mainly synths, but also fractures of rhythm and sound effects. Also, he managed to mix some changes in a way that they seem to be wrong, be it a massive mixed bass line, a distorted synth line or a defensive mixed drumset…all of them mixed clearly intended, but unusual. And the quite abrupt (and therefore cruel) end of the track leaves you still listening into the void, while your brain asks “wait…is this the end? There’s gotta be something more!”

You just can hear that Mokito likes to grab the sound around him, blending it to a result not necessarily intended. Playing with all the elements, and handcrafting all of the single tracks into something that makes sense. With a lot of free tracks available on his soundcloud account, he invites you to go on a journey with him – I strongly suggest to take your time and stroll around in his world of sounds, it’s worth it.

Enzym – Illusions

A straightforward, honest track. Focused on the important elements of the genre. No, this is not an illusion, although that’s the tracks’ name – this is reality, and it’s what you were looking for.

Driven by synth and beat, this new track by belgian producer Niels “Enzym” De Troy is a manifesto of the most important thing in music – honesty. Enzym doesn’t play tricks on you with this one. You get what you ordered, so to speak.
After a quite slow and somewhat mystical intro supported by minimalistic percussion, the track gives you a masterful merged bass/synth/drum combination, along with a occasional playing tubular bells-like melodic instrument. What stunned me probably the most was the tight fashion in which the single tracks have been mixed together. Everything just feels right when listening. Everything is right where it should be. I’m sure some of you will find that this track is a bit too minimalistic – not in my opinion. De Troy made things happen right where they should have happened, be it a break, layering of different tracks, that catchy reverb effect on the synth, you name it. The overall mix is done ground solid, although a little too crisp on the higher eq band for my ears.

There are over 50 (!) tracks available on his soundcloud account for you guys to explore, but not all are coming from the trip hop genre. Checking out some of his other work, I also found a lot of drum’n’bass tracks, and also some tracks with a great house influence. So De Troy seems to be not restricted to just one genre, but is out there producing with a sense of “just letting it go”. That, my friends, is very rare these days.

Trizzoh – Heavy Metal (Vocal Mix)

Finally – I found a great one today! We’re talking serious dancing here. Not some lightweight, soda sippin’ background stuff with twelve people on the dancefloor – this one’s more of a major floor anthem.

Long Island resident Joey Petrizzo aka Rizzoh used a distorted synth as a main element in this track. After a standard DJ-friendly intro he lets you know right away that he is serious this time, striking your ears with that mean synth sound, somehow driving you mad but getting your head moving at the same time.
Over the whole track, Rizzoh is playing with several styles of the main theme, be it a long played and slightly reverbed fat sound or a short, arpeggiated version of the same melody with softer synth. This mixture keeps the track alive, and combined with several great drops in there I can imagine the club crowd go wild when hitting them with light effects and the good, old fog machine.
The track even comes with a choice, Trizzoh decided to upload another mix where he left out the vocal oneshots which also is a nice fit. I think the vocal mix is better though, since the additional interesting vocal stems lift the track up to be mainstream material. The overall mix seems solid, I didn’t notice any glitches or bad eq choices of the production.

I admit it, I just love fat distorted synth bass lines. Those are what keep people moving out there in my opinion. It’s that drive, that raw feeling that just makes me feel good when listening. With that momentum-creating drive, Trizzoh’s new track even would fit a workout routine music… So, if you’re up for something that makes your body move, this one’s for you!