Rhyme Selektah – Criminus

Projecting a dark atmosphere, the new rap track of Rhyme Selektah manages to actually make you feel the desperation and drive beyond the music.

I admit it, I’m not really a pro in the rap genre. Heck, I’m not even a novice. But as always, we’re at kms are not about analyzing on a genre specific level. We’re all about feeling and the wow-element of music. And the new track “Criminus” from the crew of Rhyme Selektah, Arnold William and Tech Masta Dee has got both feeling and the wow effect, and it’s not just a bit, it’s a truckload.
The music base does sound familiar to other genre-typical tracks, but there’s something special added, something dark. Feels like watching a batman movie. Icing on the cake is the vocals which transmit a signature element with this nothing-to-lose-attitude. This guy either is the best actor in the scene, or he is living the music style exactly the way he raps, therefore having full credibility all along.
Mixing work of the track is great, the vocals are not fighting with the synth lines, and the beat has enough room to ‘smack’ your speakers (or your headphones, which are mandatory if you want to do yourself a favor, folks). What also caught my attention while going through the online resources of Rhyme Selektah is the video that comes along with the track. Filmed in various dark locations, the video even takes that desperate atmosphere to a higher level. While watching, you don’t know if you better prepare to fight or better run for your life. The pictures support the overall theme of the music perfectly.

Rhyme Selektah released a mixtape called “The Bottom: Take Off” a month ago. This is a showcase of what those guys are capable of. Always delivering, they are bringing a portion of “watch out!” straight to your mind. Even if you’re not into that genre, I recommend giving those tracks a listen. You’ll be surprised how they manage to make you nod your head before you even realize it.

Cry Boy Cry – My Heart Is So Heavy

Melancholic tunes for the perfect ending of a seemingly endless day. The new track “My Heart Is So Heavy” has got an uplifting feel while on the same time drags you down. Until now, I don’t know how they did that, but I think it’s awesome.

I guess it’s a combination of several elements. I’d put the new track of german based Cry Boy Cry, who worked together with vocalist Hannes Neunhöffer of the german indie band “A Tale Of Golden Keys” for this track, somewhere in the future pop genre. Lightweight, with a groovy laid back beat and a soft defensive synth base, this track has sort of a uplifting feel attached to it. Well… if only the topic wouldn’t be that melancholic. So, this makes you move your head while at the same time thinking about opening another bottle of wine while reflecting on your relationship issues. Funny thing is that “My Heart Is So Heavy” had my brain forming pictures in my head which are very similar to those in the music video – and that was even BEFORE I saw the music video that comes along with the song. The whole video was done with a very close attachment to the overall theme and great sense of detail. With those grainy effects applied on several shots (I like to call those “family vacation” effects, having a look at the video clip those of you having a life before everything was shot in HD will know why), there’s a huge amount of authenticity transmitted with the music and pictures. Peter Hoppe and Bernd Batke, the core members of Cry Boy Cry, took their musical ideas and feelings and then put a vocalist on top who is perfect for this tune. Neunhöffer adds emotion and fragility to all that, which left me stunned sometimes, wondering if it’s just his outstanding vocal range or if he willingly can add this perfect amount of defenselessness.

Being released with several remixes, this track will keep you interested for more than just three minutes. The concept of Cry Boy Cry is to work with different artists along the way, and this opens up a huge variety in the future releases of the group. I’m eager to hear what’s next.

Carmen Perez – Just What The Doctor Ordered

One way or another, you’ll agree with me: “Just What The Doctor Ordered”, one of the new tracks of singer/songwriter and actress Carmen Perez, is exactly what the title said it would be. And the best part: it’s prescription free.

Carmen Perez is a Jill of all trades. There’s not very much she hasn’t done already: being a former full time US military member, she’s now into acting, singing, modeling, painting… and I’m pretty sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Seeing her music videos and hearing this beautiful woman sing, it hit me right away: everything about her seems to be labeled with “DETERMINATION” in capital letters. She doesn’t hide anything – if she wants to do it, I guess there’s no stopping her from doing it. Confidence is one big part of the artist’s cake, and she brings a lot of it to the table.
“Just What The Doctor Ordered” is one of the tracks off her new EP “Space Girl” available on all major media sources. Backed by a low synth line, the stage is all hers to fire away those razor sharp bittersweet vocals. Those can change instantly from sassy to innocent. In other words: she can go from “sweet kitten mode” to “wtf mode” like flicking a switch. This versatility of Perez’ singing skills combined with a solid production crew (who did an outstanding job in putting all the tracks together, upgrading the songs of the EP with the right amount of doubled and pitched vocals and some defensive effects and some great synths (best ones by far: the one used in this track, and the slightly distorted ones, like the one in “He Killed Me (But I Didn’t Die)“.) is a guarantee to get many eyebrows raised out there. Giving the other tracks off her EP a listen, I noticed that she is not confined to one single genre. She is comfortable within mainstream pop, latin, reggae, even almost classical tunes… I guess she’s going by the rule “if it feels right, it IS right” – and I love that in an artist. It’s one of the main ingredients to develop your signature sound.

To sum it up: Perez has skills, a huge load of confidence and an awesome amount of creativity which is packed in every song she releases. This in addition with the momentum she’s gaining right now through all of her work is just an irresistible musical combination. She is producing mainstream medicine for the audience. Just what the doctor ordered.

Terra Nine – The Heart of the Matter

Be prepared to be taken on a little trip. Driven to an unknown goal, “The Heart of the Matter” of Mike Westcot, better known as “Terra Nine” invites you to do a bit of floating and exploring.

The producer from Auckland created an electronic chillout track with an outstanding amount of determination and drive here. The core of his track is a groovy beat which is backed by a thoughtful mix of percussion. On top of that there’s this almost psychedelic repeating synth line, and there you have it: the foundation of the whole track.
From there on Westcot starts to play with whatever he wants to. Arranged builds and breaks, vocal one-shots, a narrator voice track, reverbed and doubled analogue and digital instruments… maybe this whole scenario can best be compared with fireworks. There’s something new to find every other second. The melodies played are often scratching the surface of being oriental, but then again using a very unique signature sound. When listening to the other tracks of the EP “Heart of the Matter” released by Iboga Records a couple of days ago, it seems the arsenal of the producer from New Zealand is endless. You can almost feel the amount of creative joy Westcot must have had when experimenting with all those scenes, with all those instruments and effects. They say that once you feel the effect of music, the world is at your fingertips. In my opinion, this is exactly what happened with Westcot. Although there surely is a concept, he makes it seem so easy and playful as if there wasn’t a script behind all of his works.

So this is a perfect mixture of electronica, chillout and experimental, best enjoyed while using closed headphones. If you haven’t grooved today, the tracks of Terra Nine most definitely will get you there.

Severin feat. Rama Duke – Too Good

So the new year started, and I’m still behind with my writing schedule. This year seems very promising for an awesome amount of talent in the dance/edm scene, and while digging through all those submissions on my desk, the newest track of Severin and Rama Duke instantly stuck to my head. So, without wasting more time, let’s have a look on some outstanding dance material, shall we folks?

Singer/songwriter Rama Duke came up with the song and did those seductive vocals. Teaming with amazing producer Emil Severin they created a dance track full of surprises you wouldn’t necessarily expect. For instance, there are some elements used that are reminding me very much of chiptune, the vocals are blended into the whole track perfectly, and the melbourne-typical changes are done in an outstanding manner. Severin did an awesome job in using many tricks he has up his sleeve without overloading the whole track, my personal favorite being those complete cuts except for single tracks, like vocal one-shots or something. Goosebump guarantee when heard on a main stage.
“Too Good” delivers a very fast-paced, raw high energy along with the music. You feel like having to move even when sitting at your desk while listening. Although there’s a ton of real good female vocalists out there, I think Rama Duke stands out of the rest and brings something special to the table. It’s not easy to describe, but it’s a perfect mix of seduction and sassiness in those vocals. Those vocals are topping this piece of cake with some icing, so to speak.

Both of the involved artists have some accomplishments on their resumee so far, but that’s really not important to me. My focus always lies on if or if not the music triggers something in me. Accomplishments don’t mean squat if your music isn’t kicking, right. And, “Too Good” does the job, ladies and gentleman. This is a great dance track made for getting people moving, and I can see that big dancefloor filled with boys and girls going crazy on this one.

Kiara Nelson – Bulletproof

This track is a transmitter for a huge load of confidence. Thoughtful arranged, the new tune of beautiful Kiara Nelson makes you lift your head when feeling down.

Backed by defensive synths, all eyes (or better: ears) are on Nelson who gives “Bulletproof” the needed amount of confidence and drive with her voice. There are several great vocal one-shots used to emphasize on several parts. Since this is done carefully, it helps the song create that special exciting atmosphere. I love those transistions when the chorus hits; you are delivered what I like to call “wake-up-call effect”, it’s when everything sets in and the vocals are getting even stronger than they already are. Feels like changing the room, opening the door to another setting.
To name a negative aspect, there was one very stabby high eq synth melody used for a break melody, this particlar synth sounds very harsh and distorted. In my opinion this stabbing melody doesn’t really connect with the rest of the elements/tracks, but that’s just my personal feeling about it. Some would probably say it’s a nice counterpart for the soft yet confident voice of Nelson. That’s rather a matter of personal taste than a negative aspect, right.

The 18 year-old Finnish-Swedish-American (if that’s not an interesting heritage, then what is?) singer just started her career, but it clearly shows she’s serious about making a name for herself out there. The tracks she released by now are rock solid, and the vocals fit perfectly with the music. I wonder how Nelson would sound when singing cross-genre like piano-soul or something. For now she masters the art of electro pop like it was the easiest thing to do.

Łindal – Tonight We Dance

Trevor Innes aka Łindal pulled a big rabbit out of his hat this time: he was able to connect people, to bring them together and to share their love for music. That’s what music is all about, folks.

With an uplifting melody, a slow and steady beat and a somewhat steel drum sounding synth giving the track an almost carribean flair, Vancouver based Łindal made an easy-going, club/bar ready feelgood track that makes you nod your head while listening. The track isn’t overdone with too much effects, one-shots or anything, you’ll find just a great mixture of tension building elements and relaxing elements. The vocals are sung and mixed in soft, but front and center, so to speak.
But here’s what really fascinated me with “Tonight We Dance”: watching the video, I found out that in order to get the song out there, the crew did a project that I consider true art. They put up a set somewhere downtown Vancouver, and invited people to be part of their video by dancing to the tune. And by doing so, they got many random strangers to express their feelings about the music. Or at least have a fun time trying to do so. I’m sure it wasn’t that easy to talk some of these people into it, but the beauty of that project is that it didn’t matter where they came from, who they are, what they do for a living, what race, color, gender, age – they all were connected by a single track made by Innes. Plus his honesty and performance skills to attract and influence with his music and performing. In a time where everbody is constantly concerned about the world and it’s rising tensions, we need people like those guys delivering fun and good times instantly. And involving everybody, all differences aside.
Doing a project like this video is a PR trick as well, because now he instantly has gained a small fan base (anyone in the video of course wants to see the finished clip, right). And to reach a point where people are actually having fun expressing themselves (you can’t teach that, it’s just there. Don’t take my word for it, watch the clip.) is all you need to go big in the industry.

“Tonight We Dance” is a solid dance tune. The idea of the music video is equally as great as the track itself. And with Łindal just releasing another great track called “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head“, I’m not worried at all that the Canadian artist will be a huge impact in the scene throughout 2017.

HyperGear – Buzz

Music is a thing of beauty. Making expressions available through music is awesome. And preserving that certain raw feeling to your sound is what makes the new track of Milan based HyperGear outstanding.

The synth rock trio states that “Hypergear stands for the overwhelming and unstoppable development of techonology, way too fast for the human being to handle it” which is one of the points of chosing their band name a couple of years ago. Taking a closer look at tracks like today’s pick “Buzz”, but also on faster paced tracks like “I Am The Dead“, I’m feeling their intention. The distorted guitars alongside sometimes desperate sung vocals, and with added piano tracks and kind of outer-space synth effects, they are using electro elements with handmade analogue instruments, making the human/electro struggle feelable.
The mix of “Buzz” isn’t that great, but that is not intended anyway, I think. The raw cut and somewhat harsh recording underlines the seriousness and authenticity of the band’s sound. I guess having a clean mix without the multi-mic recording of the drums for instance would have taken away a ton of credibility of the track. I know, nowadays everybody is expecting a super clean compressed mix with the lastest plugins and brick wall limiting, but listen closely to this arrangement, guys. This mixing work alongside an very unconventional approach to the audience (for example, it stated “don’t listen to this band. you’ve been warned!” in the email sent to us) helps building a specific signature sound and unique look-and-feel. I wonder what those guys do live on stage to keep being unique.

To add things up, although the alternative rock sound of HyperGear might not fit in everybody’s music taste, it’s handmade, it’s unique, and done with passion and the courage to step outta line once in a while, be it with raw mixes, not very harmonic harmonies or sometimes even crazy chiptune ideas or something. Make sure to check out those other tracks available on Soundcloud, you’ll get my point very quickly.

Sarah Sellers – Gone Through Hell

This one flooded the room with feelings. Carefully mixed backing tracks meeting soulful emotive vocals. “Gone Through Hell” is a song where emotion is mixed in as if it was an additional track.

First time I listened was with studio speakers. Second, third and fourth time with closed headphones. This track made me lose track of time for a couple of minutes while I was listening. Dallas based Sarah Sellers creates a huge emotional stage while using her voice. She’s got that certain “it”-element while singing, you just believe that she’s giving you a little piece of her soul while telling her story. And this isn’t a story full of joy, happiness and “hey, it’s alright” moments. This is how she describes the process she went thorugh until now:
I might have burned everything down around me but I eventually started to rise from the ashes. I’m bruised. I have deep scars. But for the first time in my life – I’m finally me.
And, to be honest, you can read exactly that between the lines when she sings with that careful tones, bittersweet melodies and an almost hurting amount of feelings. You realize that the beautiful singer/songwriter Sellers doesn’t play a role while singing, it’s her essence she brings to the table. For what it’s worth, it never sounded better when someone went through hell and told the story afterwards.
Speaking of the mix, she had an awesome crew working with her. Mixed by Bradley Prakope and mastered by Tom Coyne/Sterling Sound, those guys just knew how to place her vocals into the right setting. Beautiful soft soundscapes, very defensive synth lines, outstanding downtempo beats with no glitches or misplacement in the eq band whatsoever…there’s nothing those guys missed to create this piece of art. Also, the music video (see below) created by Cold Fox Films was done with passion and the sense of understanding that making a music video isn’t just switching between two or three takes but telling the story in a meaningful way.

So, you could say that this is the right way to start the musical journey of 2017. Here’s a great artist who makes you feel something while listening, who shares enough of her soul to make you think about, who doesn’t need high energy dance tracks nor aggressive background tracks to do her thing. I strongly recommend to check out her other available tracks on Soundcloud or Youtube.

Noréll – Damage Done

Today’s pick is a lightweight scandi-pop tune which makes you groove, smile and maybe even look at everything in a different way.

What attracted me the most with this track were those female vocals you won’t hear everyday. The danish trio Viktor Hagner, Marìe Louise Persson Bjarnarson and Nichlas Malling, better known as Noréll, took a pop based idea with a defensive and clean synth line and also clear bass synth layers, and they layered those awesome crisp, slightly high pitched vocals on top of it. This alone makes you lift your head or raise an eyebrow. See what just happened? You got curious. That’s creating signature sound 101, folks. Inventing something no one else comes up with is already half of the bargain to be successful out there. Also, the official video coming along with this track is dance oriented, and although this isn’t really my cup of tea, so to speak, it is sticking to my head since I saw it yesterday. See? That’s creativity at it’s best.
The mix of the track is solid. The vocals are placed front and center, and all additional effect layers and one-shots are not disturbing the flow or anything. The created room reverb (put on headphones, guys) is chosen with great sense of detail, one bit less, it would have come out flat, too much, and you got a too big cave effect. This track is something to make you move, although it’s more of a groove feeling than a dance feeling, at least for me. Base theme is happy, I almost was reminded of some japanese pop I heard recently, but without the hectic drive attached to it.

Overall, I found myself listening to this track on repeat, constantly moving my head from left to right. Noréll brings their signature sound to the table, and the lightweight track “Damage Done” is a multi-purpose track no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Take your time to check out their other works on Soundcloud or Spotify as well, it’s really worth it. Attention, competition out there: those guys are a force to be reckoned with in the pop genre.