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Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered

Is there any better way of starting your Friday than hearing that one of the greatest artists at the moment has a surprise release?

Kendrick Lamar

This album – sorry, not album, ‘project’ brings forth all that we love about Kendrick’s music: genre busting first class instrumentation, challenging lyrics and completely new sounds. The project is comprised of a load of recordings made between 2013 and 2016 that didn’t make it to ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’.

Stream it below:

Buy the album here

And if you didn’t already see his incredible Grammy performance earlier this month… Sort it out!!!

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Saturday Afternoon Mostly Mobo Laidback Playlist

This morning I woke up and thought it’d be great to chill out and listen to some music. So I made a playlist.

Expect to hear a bit of J Dilla, Susso, Anderson .Paak, Franco (still can’t find out any info about him), Arctic Turn and more….

Best of 2015 Mostly Mobo Podcast

Here are some of the year’s best releases in a tasty little podcast.

From Jazz, to Electronic, across Africa, Europe and the US, here are some of the tastiest tracks that were released this year…

The Steve Reid Innovation Award Showcase

Last Thursday I impulse bought a couple of tickets to the Steve Reid Innovation Award Showcase hosted by PRS and the Steve Reid Foundation.

The tickets were £5 each and four bands were on the bill. That’s £1.25 per band I worked out with my exceptional maths skills.

I had no prior knowledge about any of the performers – apart from Moses Boyd who had just won a MOBO with Binker Golding for ‘Binker and Moses’.

The night kicked off with what seemed like a very understated drummer by the name of Sarathy Korwar. I’d never heard of him before, but he started off his performance on his own on the stage and was then joined by the incredible Italian guitarist, Giuliano Modarelli. Giuliano has a gorgeous, delicate but controlled and strong way with his guitar. It’s totally different to a lot of guitar I’ve heard recently and he, Sarathy and their pianist played very well together. Shabaka Hutchings was another addition to the band, and his gorgeous tone really brought another dimension to the band’s sound and vibrations. Their performance was probably my favourite of the night.

Next up was Hector Plimmer. With a much more ambient beginning, I wondered whether I’d actually be that into Hector. He’s a drummer and producer. The lights turned down low and he had circular visuals going on behind him. Well, I was wrong. Hector’s music was great, but his performance was excellent. His tracks were: ‘Moon’, ‘Sun’ and then ‘Earth’. The visuals really gave his music a context that gave it a deep meaning, and each track built on the last so that by the time we got to ‘Earth’, it felt like we really got Hector and what he’s about. He’s certainly really talented musically as he used the mic with heavy reverb to create lower, long sounds beneath his drumming.

Moses Boyd came third. At this point I began to wonder if there was a theme with the drummers. Moses was completely different, though, despite also being a producer and a drummer. His technical ability is striking and he used really soulful sounds ending on a really deep sample, the details of which I’ve sadly forgotten now. With an MPC and a small acoustic and electric drum set he played music that really showed the depth of his jazz roots, knowledge, skill and talent.

Last up was Lady Vendredi and the Vendettas, who was in one word: TERRIFYING. But I think that’s what she meant to be. Her music was the most commercial, but her personality was huge and her confidence abounding. She reminded me instantly of Janelle Monae. Watching her videos afterwards she makes more sense. After watching her videos when I returned home, she reminded me less of Lady Gaga, but in her imagery I couldn’t help thinking of Sun Ra’s 1970 film, Space Is The Place. While her music wasn’t really my cup of tea, I think she’s fantastic and love what she’s doing artistically, pushing boundaries.

So overall, at £1.25 for each band, the whole night was a ridiculous bargain.

Flatlion // Pay Your Way

I love this video from North London reggae/dub outfit Flatlion. Aside from knowing all the sights, it’s great as it exposes the huge talent that exists behind the doors of North London.

The track isn’t bad either. ‘Pay Your Way”s lazy vocals propped by the tight oozing horns exhibit all those qualities that we love reggae for. It’s repetitiveness makes it all the more enjoyable and easy to lock in to.

After being championed by the likes of David Rodigan and Mista Jam, these guys aren’t going away anytime soon.

Banana Hill w/Heather Wall, 15th November 2015

This month I was really pleased to be featured on Banana Hill‘s show on KMAH radio.

I first became aware of Banana Hill – properly – when I bumped into Chris Knight in Brixton asking him for directions at a night he happened to be playing at. After hearing them drop the Opolopo remix of ‘1960 What’ I knew that these guys know what’s what. It’s the only track I remember from the night!

Anyway, I’m pleased to featured on their show! Along with Susso and tons of other brilliant artists, Banana Hill showcase some of the best music on radio.

Enjoy this week’s episode!

*NEW MUSIC UPDATE*

Firstly, forgive me for the extended break. I’ve been busy with two new jobs – now Broadcast Assistant at Unique! – and planning my wedding.

So, let’s make this short and sweet. Here’s what I’ve been listening to these last three months:

Poppy Ajudha is an incredible musician as well as singer. Her voice, rich beyond her years, is beautifully deep and distinctive as she draws on jazz and soul, giving her music a genuineness that is often hard to find.

Gorgeously combining electronic styles and jazz musicology, with Ancient Mechanisms LV what they do best: merge legacy with innovation.

Dayme Arocena and Atjazz bring together the UK with Cuba, and this rework of the Cuban songstress’ ‘Don’t Unplug My Body’ is wonderfully groovy and playful.

SumoChief are probably my new favourite band. They’re incredibly funky, delicate but uncompromising and abundant in talent and ability. *ONE TO WATCH*

Clap! Clap! returns with his new EP, ‘Simple EP’. Ironic, really, as the EP is full of highly percussive tracks with complex rhythms and beautiful tones, creating the rich tapestry we know and love the Italian producer for.

Binker and Moses Dem Ones was released this summer. If you like music to challenge, stretch and keep you on the edge of your seat, Dem Ones is just for you. It’s jazz, but probably not as you know it.

Brainchild Festival 2015

I spent last weekend in a field just outside Lewes in East Sussex. It was my first time attending Brainchild festival and I had high hopes. The festival is entirely volunteer-run and only accommodates about 1000 people. It seemed to be bringing people right back to the essence of what a festival should be about. Oh, and it had a bangin lineup.

As I arrived I was already eager to see a myriad of bands and performers who have sprouted out of London in the recent years. Sumochief, a jazz/hip hop collective out of South London was one particular band I was eager to see. Merging sounds influenced by the likes of Robert Glasper, J Dilla and The Roots, Sumochief are creating some of the freshest sounds in London at the moment.

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Another band I was excited to see was the Theon Cross Trio. After initially seeing them perform at the Cable Cafe in Brixton, I was eager to bask in the energy and booming bass I’d already witnessed when the trio tore up the small cafe. The group did not disappoint, on Saturday night their reggae medley had the whole Steez Cafe on fire, stomping, waving and whooping at every beat.

Possibly the most exciting moment of the festival though, and I’m ashamed to say it, was the little model railway which ran around the site and through Bentley Wildfowl. A 10 minute ride could be bought at the bargain price of £1, and it wasn’t long since I’d arrived at the festival that I couldn’t get the train out of my head. I persuaded my friends to hop on with me and we wizzed around the park with great joy!

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Back to music. One particularly special discovery I made at the festival was Myriad Forest, an intense, five piece ambient space-age electronic music group. Their energy was abounding and their music really challenging. Also on mainstage were Nerija who keep getting better and better with every performance. Read more about the six-piece jazz band here 

11027125_10153485153594766_4660271765651807605_n photo courtesy of Nerija Facebook page

In spoken word, I was looking forward to hearing Harry Baker and James Massiah. Harry has been on the slam poetry scene for some years now. With his incredible ability to make listeners laugh, cry, sigh, smile and most importantly, feel special – and all in the space of a minute – Harry holds his audiences in the palms of his hands with his witty, clever and sentimental poems. James I’d met while producing his show on NTS. He’s serious, thoughtful and provocative, addressing political, cultural and religious issues. He can be a challenging and sobering listen, and I was sad to miss his set this time.

The worst moment of the festival though, it has to be said, happened as I took a sip of the tin of Carling I’d found in my Gran’s fridge. It had been there for over a year, and in my aunt’s cupboard for even longer… They’d kept it hoping that my Dad would enjoy it one day. That didn’t happen. It was over a year old and tasted like absolute ****.

IMG_4463What cheered me up a little, though, was playing a little DJ set at the Shack on Sunday. Here’s what it looked like (the weather was awful, but there were a few more people behind Lucy who took the photo!)

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Here are a few tracks I dropped in the little 45 minute set:

Big up Brainchild! Thanks for a brilliant weekend!

And thanks Lucy for the lovely photos.

The Art of Improvisation

Yesterday I headed down to The Vortex – a well-known Jazz club in the heart of Dalston.

I went to see my friend Nubya (Nerija, Theon Cross Trio, Yesa Sikyi) take part in a day called the Art of Improvisation, a whole day of pre-prepared bands who had never met before to improvise together.

I watched from 2-3pm. The band comprised of a pianist, harmonica, harpist, bassist, percussionist, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophonist and a singer. It was fascinating to watch eight people who’d never met each other before communicate in such an intimate way, and it got me thinking about improvisation.

If you want to get the bare bones of jazz and experience just how far you can stretch it, improvisation or free jazz simultaneously pushes Jazz’ boundaries and breaks it down to its fundamentals. As people stretch conventional harmony and tempo, they bring to light and the forefront the very rules that they’re playing with. They push the boundaries of harmony, while showing what harmony is itself. A good improvisation requires a huge amount of theory and fundamentals behind it. Basically, in order to sound like you don’t know how to play Jazz at all, you have to be an expert.

It shows the complexity of communication as people intimately communicate without words, and without eye contact. Improvisation is both deeply personal, and deeply communal.

Similarly interesting was watching the patterns of each individual’s playing. Some musicians couldn’t handle silence and were always keen to take centre stage. Others enjoyed the space more and were able to quietly accompany the other musicians until the time was right to step forward. Watching the musicians play together felt like a real eye-opener to their very basic personalities and insecurities, as they navigated playing with eight other musicians they’d never met before.

It was a fascinating experience and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s particularly interested in Jazz, theory and people and groups in general.
Freedom-festival

Disclosure X Gregory Porter – Holding On

This is one collaboration I couldn’t have anticipated. Sure, Gregory has those warm voices and that soulful heritage that lends itself so well to House, but I still can’t believe that this has happened.

gregIt’s not that he’s not popular, it’s of course not that he’s not talented. Gregory Porter is probably the most talented male jazz singer of the current jazz scene. In the last few years, Gregory’s profile has soared, seeing him sell out huge venues such as the Lowry in Manchester and headline festivals such as Love Supreme. Last year he released a hit duet with Jamie Cullum ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ which gained him significant airplay on BBC Radio 2 among other popular radio stations. So it’s just that this new collaboration is the peak – so far – of Gregory’s professional and musical iceburg.

So, as Gregory is set to conquer yet another musical genre, make sure you’re the first to hear his new release and judge for yourself.

As uncomfortable as this new collaboration makes me feel, there is no denying Gregory’s serious songwriting and singing talent – and his ability to bring grace and soul to any music he turns his voice to. This track is certainly a grower and collaborating with Gregory is probably the best thing Disclosure has done in a long time.

Listen to my interview with Gregory from last year HERE