Canadian producer Das Mörtal has released a brand-new single titled ‘IDÖL’. Out today via Lisbon Lux Records. The track is a stark contrast to the more mellow single it follows, ‘WASTED’, which he and his label released back in February.
‘IDÖL’ is a murderous hybrid record. Two parts Trap, one part Electro, the remnants an amalgam of dirty bass sounds, the track goes for the jugular, attacking with ferocious power and absolute mercilessness. Relentless 808s slam, unapologetic lyrics incite, and filthy hi-hats scatter like crowds during a rebellion. Ready yourselves; Das Mörtal is plotting mutiny.
Telling us a bit about the effect he believes the track will have, he said, “IDÖL is going to make you dance and bounce while we try to escape the pressures of society.”
After Ryuichi Sakamoto’s passing on the 28th of March, his management shared a rather eerie playlist that the 71-year-old curated before losing his ongoing battle with cancer. Titled Funeral, the playlist contains 33 tracks by the likes of collaborator alva noto, French pianist Erik Satie (who makes a number of appearances throughout), and the German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach to name a few. Curated by a man in the midst of self-grieving, it is a sombre farewell.
“We would like to share the playlist that Ryuichi had been privately compiling to be played at his own funeral to accompany his passing,” said his management. They first shared the playlist on Twitter, tugging at the heartstrings of musicians and fans alike when they tweeted, “He truly was with music until the very end.”
As musicians know, the audience is everything. As such, SoundCloud is in the process of launching an innovative new feature on SoundCloud for Artists that will enable creators to make direct contact with key members of their audience. Called ‘Fans’, the feature was built to help artists forge stronger bonds with their die-hard fans.
Still in the beta phase, the feature has been made available to over 50,000 test users, who are now able to message the select few who make a difference. The hope here is that artists will be able to build increasingly meaningful relationships with their core followers.
The potential here is worth noting: instead of relying on streams, musicians could, at least in theory, offer their loyal listeners exclusive content and merchandise, leading to higher revenue; the possibilities are endless. In addition, musicians will be able to track listening behaviours and form strategies based on the feature’s handy analytics dashboard.
It’s always a good sign when an artist’s eyes light up at the mere mention of the name of the person featuring on their current single. That’s just what happened when German musician, singer, rapper and producer Lucas Herweg alias LLUCID spoke about the first time he contacted New Zealand songwriter Kimbra. He had long been a fan of her music and was already familiar with her latest album, January 2023 release The Reckoning, which will be sure to appear on many a year’s best album list and includes the song “foolish thinking,” one of the year’s most beautiful ballads. While recording his debut album Deep Blue Dream, LLUCID struggled with the very personal song ‘Wasting Time’ – an atmospheric journey venturing from trap-style autotune to futuristic pop that takes amazing excursions to a formidable, wildly pulsing beat yet retains its overarchingly melancholy mood.
“It was a wild ride,” says LLUCID when speaking about its creation. “I’m sure I made three or four complete versions of this song, only to return to and refine the original idea. It’s a very personal song about a relationship that has hit rock bottom; very early on I thought it’d be cool if someone else added a different perspective to the track. I’m psyched to have Kimbra joining me. I’ve been a fan of her work for years! We had a riot producing the song!” Kimbra, who has always had a knack for picking whose projects she’ll feature on (along with ‘Wasting Time’, “Afterglow,” with The Album Leaf, is another compelling recent example of this), was enthusiastic after the two got in touch and went back and forth exchanging sound files on Dropbox; so enthusiastic that she had him join on a few of her tour dates earlier this year. She says, “I loved this track when I heard it. It captured a kind of melancholy but made it feel danceable and cathartic. We recorded the vocals in Berlin while on tour together. The process was super fun and natural. I’m stoked that I could be a part of this song!”
Incidentally, her words are also very good for helping categorize LLUCID’s debut album Deep Blue Dreams, which has a similar underlyingly melancholic, danceable and cathartic vibe and will be released on June 9th. Yet LLUCID is one of those newcomers who, in the strictest sense, really isn’t one anymore; that’s why his debut album sounds more like a sure-fire success from an established artist. Before kicking things off in his own studio, LLUCID studied in Mannheim for a while, but halfway through his studies he realized he preferred making his own music and left Popakademie Baden-Württemberg. However, while there he met singer Dena Zarrin, aka Madanii, and they recorded their first tracks together. The song “Sober” is a testament to how well that works. In the ensuing years LLUCID, who now lives and works in Berlin, has slowly but surely pushed his own solo work and released his six-track EP Getting in Touch on Grönland records earlier this year. Yet LLUCID has also expanded his production portfolio and made music with exciting artists in the realm of rap and beyond. For instance, he has worked with Berlin-based Irish singer-songwriter Wallis Bird, helped produce a song for the band Hundreds and has found a friend and mentor in Samy Deluxe.
And Deep Blue Dreams doesn’t sound at all like it was “made in Germany.” That is because LLUCID’s tastes and production methods have always been informed by what’s going on across the big pond. “I’ve actually only ever been influenced by American music. Cole’s stuff and Kendrick’s early music in particular allowed me to tap into whole new spheres.” That’s noticeable in his singing and rapping styles. “It’s always a mix with me. Sometimes sung, sometimes rapped, sometimes something somewhere in between. I’m sure that is a product of my genre-independent listening habits when it comes to music. There are just so many different vocal fingerprints; sometimes one fits better than the other. When I first discovered hip-hop, I loved the sick rhythm of the recitative singing, but I also loved the melodious vocal parts. I always wondered: ‘Why don’t they mix the two together more often?’” Good question, and one he’s now simply gone and answered for himself.
Afro-futurist sensations Onipa shared the video for ‘No Commando’ (feat. David Walters) taken from the band’s second full-length album,‘Off The Grid’ which is scheduled for release on the 6th of October 2023 via Real World Records.
The stunning video was shot around Accra in Ghana – where Onipa co-founder K.O.G.’s heritage lies.
‘Off the Grid’ is a journey that joins the origin story of dance rhythms from Africa to electronic dance music of today’s clubs and festivals, connecting African folklore and storytelling to rap, jazz and hip hop.
The twin creative forces behind Onipa are Tom Excell (Nubiyan Twist) and Kweku Sackey (K.O.G. & the Zongo Brigade) – together with Finn Booth on drums and Dwayne Kilvington (a.k.a. Wonky Logic) on synths, have built a life-affirming and highly original world of sound.
Tom Excell talks about ‘No Commando’ and recalling the lyrics he explains: “No Commando is about peace. A call for ‘oneness’ and a look at where ‘sources originate’. Seeing how the power of community can dispel fear and help us to express ourselves with ‘calm’ and ‘ease’. The track was recorded with recycled metals, pots and pans for drums, and a wooden spoon guitar. A musical interpretation of the concept; One person’s rubbish is another’s treasure. Working with David is always a joy. His poetic lyricism resonated with the concepts we explore on ‘Off the Grid’.”
‘Hydra’ is the product of a flash of insight. The record came together when a likely frustrated Kooma had a lightbulb moment. Watching waves crash fueled his creative impulse, which he then poured into completing the newly released song. “The main progression and drum pattern of ‘Hydra’ came to life pretty effortlessly,” the producer informs us. “but the final form of the song wasn’t shaping as seamlessly.”
Opening with emotive plucks, ‘Hydra’ grows from humble beginnings to a bass-heavy beast with saturated synths that glitch and stutter. Foley-like drum hits form the chewy centre around which the sonic bits and bobs orbit, occasionally crashing into one another, generating friction, then fire. The friction could have come from Kooma’s internal tension. “I feel like I had all the puzzle pieces but they just didn’t fit. Then one day there was this crazy storm in Fuengirola.” The rest is history.
Read our previous feature on Kooma‘s Freefall Mixtape here
Although simple, to say the song lacks fullness would be a lie. Rather, many small, short elements interchange like actors on a stage, coming in and out of view to fulfil their respective roles. This keeps things clean and tidy, making the progression easy to follow.
Hailing from the world’s most tropical countries, the Canadian-Swedish rapper Max Wassen has kicked off 2023 with the legendary RetroVision to bring you a taste of sunshine-filled beats during these cold winter nights.
Max has been added to over 2,200 playlists, amassing 16 million streams on Spotify, and has drawn attention and support from the likes of Monstercat, Spinnin’ Records, Lowly., and SOAVE. As well as collaborations with French Fuse, Anthony Keyrouz, written for the Netflix Show Stuck With Youand many more.
He now takes on a new track with RetroVision, a brilliant French producer making waves in his own name, to kick off Max’s biggest project to date collaborating with some of the biggest producers in France such as Mosimann, Damien N-Drix, Miller Miller, Aazar, and of course, RetroVision.
‘AUBADE’ is the first collaboration from the project, expertly melding together RetroVision’s futuristic style with Max Wassen’s articulated flow.
Bio Max Wassen:
Max Wassen is a self-absorbed rapper who is now writing his own bio. There really is no slowing down the ego of this man. So be prepared for a lot of his own ass-kissing as he proceeds to talk about himself in the third person in an attempt to sound more interesting than he actually is.
Max Wassen was born at a very young age and has already turned 26 before having time to regret it. Being born in Toronto, Canada, Max’s family had decided they were done with the cold, so when Max turned 12 they decided to move, and fly back to their home country. That country is the tropical country of Sweden.
Moving to a new country is always difficult, true. But if you’re a loud social idiot like Max, and you’re moving to a country where the social norm is to not stick out in any way, that social norm basically being the law, then it’s even more difficult. After being bullied for years, Max decided to put his feelings and points of view from blood to the brain, to paper, and to this day hasn’t stopped. Max’s main source of inspiration comes from artists like Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Anderson Paak, but hasn’t let his core stay too predictable, as he is also often affiliated with working together with several EDM artists like Bhaskar, Feder, Damien-N-Drix and Lucas Estrada. PewDiePie shouted him out one time if you know who that is. Hit Max up on Instagram if you want proof. Oh hey, look, links!
RetroVision is a 25-year-old DJ, Producer and Remixer from France who taking the electronic world by storm. His original music and remixes have not only been supported by hundreds of thousands of fans online but some of the most well-known and respected DJs on the planet have recently played his music at EDC Las Vegas, Ultra Music Festival Miami and SiriusXM.
Retro has seen continued support from major YouTube and SoundCloud curators with features, premieres and releases on AirwaveMusicTV, Future House Music, GalaxyMusic, House Nation, MrSuicideSheep, NoCopyRightSounds, OnTheHouse and xKito to name but a few.
ML’s musical journey was first sparked in 2010 when he featured on ‘Little Man & Me’ by Giggs and now in a full circle moment, the two come together yet again over 12 years later on ‘Who I Am’ for a true father and son UK Rap moment.
The track is filled with dark undertones and a skippy beat which is synonymous with Giggs signature sound whilst ML navigates the production with ease, really coming into his own and showing his talent.
Not sticking to one sound, ML is a diverse musician who shows his versatility across all his releases, whilst basing his music on current feelings and life experiences.
Having released ‘Folks’ earlier this year, ML is building momentum and consistency in the run-up to releasing his debut mixtape.
Under Floating, Drifting Records, producer Kooma captivateshis fanswith his latest mixtape Freefall, released on the 16th of December. The charismatic musician hails from Helsinki, Finland and enjoys a spot in several of Spotify‘s editorial playlists, including indie pop & chill and Montréal Chill. Kooma boasts a unique collaboration with the French chillout producer Nomyn.
The new mixtape explores and offers sounds infused with a laid-back bass beat and drums laced with dark synths that relay suspense and mystery. Freefall tells a story of emancipation with deliberately channelled complex emotions resulting in the eight-track mixtape ascending to attain masterpiece status. ‘SSNS (feat. DNTST)’ is the sixth track in the mixtape and assumes its significance through an urgent synthesiser that is accompanied by solacing vocals which reinforce its deeply intimate melody.
Kooma elaborates on the creative orientation of the new mixtape with these words: “Freefall is the third installation to my mixtape series, following the ‘Stages of Hypothermia’ and ‘Home’ releases. The beats vary from chill and deep sounds to very raw, aggressive vibes. ‘Hi This Is Flume (Mixtape)’ by Flume and ‘Instrumentals’ by Clams Casino have been my key inspirations for this project”.
Juice Menace is paving her way into the industry and igniting the Welsh music scene along the way. Not content with slowing down towards the end of the year, Juice has just dropped a new track, ‘Creepin’, another example of her effortless lyrical flowover a buoyant bass and syncopated beats in a nod towards the dancefloor.
“I wrote this with Cardiff nightlife in mind,” says Juice, “hanging out with my friends and having a good time. This song captures the winter vibes of Cardiff, things getting colder and darker.”
Having teased the track with aglitchy clip just a few days ago and followed up with a second today, Juice will continue to drop short-form vertical videos from different parts of the track over the next couple of weeks. In the era of the infinite scroll and bottomless social media feeds, the video format plays into our collective insatiable appetite for endless hits of content and cuts ‘Creepin’ up into bitesize motifs.
Listen to Creepin’ at https://juicemenace.sup.nr/creepinPR
‘Creepin’ rounds off a year of growth into different cultural corners for Juice; her Clean Slate EP, released this Summer, received support from the likes of Charlie Sloth, Gal Dem, and GRM Daily. Continuing her trajectory of success on Spotify, she was selected as the face of RapUK’s Day One Club promotional campaign, which culminated in Juice featuring on her first billboard in London’s Westfield. Most recently, the Cardiff-based rapper teamed up with the Football Association of Wales to release the track ‘For Her’ in the lead-up to Cymru’s key 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers. She’s proving worthy of the “CDF CEO” title already fondly awarded to her by her peers and dedicated fanbase.
These recent moves are reflective of an artist who’s not content sitting in a single lane, and Juice continues to push the envelope. Keep your ear
to the ground, as she’ll be switching up her sound and genre influences with her next drop, coming soon…