Friday, 16 March 2018


The cutting abrasion of this garage beat has that divine angularity that impels you to some semblance of rhythmic movement, a tight swing between the subtle shuffling thud of the kick and that cracking snare, with the hi-hat pattern effusing a boneless energy, the fairy zing of triangle ornamenting in the midst of those furioso metallics – yes, and here we have ourselves a staunch conveyance of UKG from the minds of Manchester musicmaker Murlo and Bristol-via-London producer Conducta. But it’s not just the sharp and shiffling scrappy beat that makes ‘Together’ a wonderful vessel of vibrant music.

No, it’s also the wonky synth chords that crown this song in tracts of gemlike glossiness and refraction, combined at some points with occasional crystalline clonks; and it’s also the soft scampering synth leads – like an urgent team of spirits working to lift this track off the ground and into some indescribable ether. These sounds shroud the track in otherworldliness, but it remains gloriously grounded with clean bulges of bass that give it a wide, bouncy flavour. And here we have the rhythm, and the atmosphere, but the soul of the song is in its pitch-shifted vocal, the nightcorey low-quality lifting of vocals from somewhere, their reverb, their high frequency, give it this quality of decayed siren-song that, alongside the punchy beat, the mystique of the synth, animate ‘Together’ with splendid heartache and melancholy.

  • πŸ”” This sparkling space jewel of a collaborative track is actually the first ever release on Murlo's newborn label Coil Records. You may stream and purchase 'Together' by clicking this little hyperlink here.

    "I’ve wanted to start my own label for ages, but I feel like now is the perfect time," says Murlo. "I’m really looking forward to having the freedom to drop music whenever I feel like it, and getting more of my visual work into the world too."

  • πŸ”” The artwork that came with the announcement of the label (below) is very lovely, super atmospheric, and is drawn by label progenitor Murlo himself. You can watch the trailer for the inauguration of Coil Records on Instagram, amongst other places.

Conducta Internet Presence ☟

Murlo Internet Presence ☟

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


When this song first eased into its beachside doo-wop flavours, oh how much like an island paradise it seemed, how with the slow sweep of chords it paints this lightly clouded atmosphere of warm sky and swaying palms. Yes, there is this total tropicalia sound that is undeniably smooth and sleepy, sounding not exactly like but certainly recalling with its lovely Hawaiian-guitar-esque guitar refrain the nighttime soundtrack for the island on Animal Crossing: New Leaf—chill and languid, melting into the landscape itself, that lazy feeling that overcomes people when they are transplanted from temperate climates to subtropical coral islands. And that ticking bongo percussion, somehow the glow of tiki lights, flashes of paradise.

But in Argentinian London-based Malena Zavala’s gently undulating song ‘Could You Stay’ – an oscillating rhythm that feels like the slow collapse of beach-bound waves and their ambient wash across the sand – there is also this filmic doo-wop pattern to the bass, something that takes us from the expanse and carefree enclave of island life to a more intimate nocturnal setting; this is especially highlighted by the pining vocal refrain, “Could you stay for a while…? Even just for tonight…” And a closeness radiates from the warmth of the track, the embrace of its soft synth chords, the hopeful chorus of layered harmonising vocals. It’s a lovesong before it becomes a lovesong, the tingling outstretched hand question before the reciprocal answer, the searching sashay of desire.

Malena Zavala Internet Presence ☟


The fluid sound of this track gives such a feeling of weightlessness, of floating on the gently swaying surface of the sea, or some turquoise pool under some powder blue sky and the sun tzzzang white light in it. Those keys, so luscious, start proceedings, liquid in their glossy clocking tones - or are they like boiled sweets, or are they like shellac? But it’s the kicks, those booming muffled robust thuds that reverberate deep in your ribcage, like pebble drops on a still pond surface and the ripples from that: the water droplet, evolved. The dust physicality of the snare, like palm fronds clacking together, leaves sheafing and scratching each other, as well as those gorgeous organic hi-hats, splendid in their minutely imperfect timing, tick tick like the living ambience of tropical shorelines and lakesides.

Born of the brain belonging to Australian beatmaker Cabu, ‘Try’ bumps along, a chill anthem of fluidity and glittering delicacy, joined by the voice of Rome-based singer LILI N, whose crisp tone - augmented by satisfying subtle layers of low pitch-shifts - seems to crackle amongst the clouded softness of the song. That tender heart of ‘Try’ is founded on fleshy sub-bass that engines along, an echo of the vocal melody and a whole gloop of sound that reflects the chill bubbly atmosphere below the surface of water as much as the trickling greenery above the glassy surface - the opposite, practically, to the higher pitched musicbox-esque plucked string sounds that zip tumbling in the hook.

It's very simple: just a few elements make up this incredibly beautiful track. Together they merge into a veil of soothing sound that has this indomitable relaxing atmosphere, helped by the satin synth chords that follow the bass. Yet it's not all about being this straight-up "chill" track; the hook melody isn't exactly all brimming with upbeatness - in fact, in its descending melody, and crossed with the root bass, it feels despondent and, especially in the last two bars of that synth refrain, somewhat conflicted, somewhere between cheery and despairing.

Ah~~ The rhythm of it, the laid-back swing, the crooning clarity of the vocals, the luscious opulence of the gemstone keys that light up this track, how it is all like a paradisical garden: the dual worlds of outer beauty and inner intensity.

Cabu Internet Presence ☟

LILI N Internet Presence ☟

Friday, 9 March 2018


The piano comes alive in Italian pianist and composer Olivia Belli’s shuffling ambient piece, ‘In These Silences You See’. The pace and pattern of this music is meandering, organic and evershifting, with harmonious tracts like wide peaceful stretches of river juxtaposed with atonal divergences, rivulets that jar jaggedly in the soft vessel of this track. Belli charts this course to summon an atmosphere of blankness, of window-watching, the glacial pace of grey skies, ending with an expression of clarity, as if a decision has been reached after mindful musing that swirled almost drone-like between steadiness and spontaneity, the coda steadfast and melancholy: but legible.

All along it is not just what Olivia Belli is playing in this slice of contemporary classical, but the tone of it, the recording, the fragments of ambience that fuzz and resonate together in organic overdrive, the sounds of the physical body of the piano itself, the dust and wooden flavours imbued in this track, even the gentle wheezing percussion of the hammer striking the strings themselves, sometimes a chime, but mostly a dull clatter, as if a droplet of rain were falling with each key pressed; even down to the creak of the pedals, ‘In These Silences You See’ is more than its musicality—it is wholly the bristlingly detailed environment in which it exists, and to which it contributes.

  • πŸ”” This lovely thoughtful piece of piano music is taken from Olivia Belli’s Other Lines EP, a collection of four piano pieces from the composer. You can listen to and purchase it on Bandcamp if you like.

Olivia Belli Internet Presence ☟
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A crazy overwhelming burst of vibrant flavour in ‘Jacaranda’ by moon talk, a morsel of music that ushers you into a bright world, harmonious and harsh simultaneously, a veil of dynamic electricity scorching the threads hat tumble their melodies in the upper reaches of the track. With these far-off crackling effects and close-knit distorted delay, the crunchy ambience here is metallic and glittering, shreds of regularity pierced by incessant sunlight, or it’s a descriptor for a not-too-distant future, the cracked utopia of tomorrow; the simple humming bass carves a humble and homely foundation, and is simple and human, is birdsong, is cup of coffee, slow traffic, carrying shopping, comfort, love.

moon talk tells us that he wrote the track after moving to LA, and is titled after the jacaranda tree . “They bloom for a couple weeks and that's it,” he says via email. “Most of the time they just look like insignificant normal trees but when they bloom they turn this surreal shade of purple.” The blooming, bursting-into-flower sound of ‘Jacaranda’ suits and echoes its namesake – honestly if you haven’t seen these trees at their fullest and most indigo, you should really Google them. Ticking abrasive hi-hats and clattering beats in the track sound out the triumphal rhythmic march in celebration of the jacaranda's beauty; later a vocal sample pitch-shifted and swimming in the crackle of the track seems to sing joyfully.

Talking about LA, moon talk explains further: “It’s a garden in the desert, a perpetual post-apocalyptic paradise,” he writes. “I wanted to try and capture that exciting contradiction at the core of the city.”

  • πŸ”” 'Jacaranda' is out now and it's taken from moon talk's upcoming a piece of the sky EP, set for release on 22nd March.

Moon Talk Internet Presence ☟

Wednesday, 7 March 2018


The chilly city of Asahikawa was a warm surprise amidst the snowy romance of its winter festival.

The final stop on our two week tour of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, Asahikawa - we'll be honest - was not our first choice of destination. It was February and ice festival season in Japan, thousands of tourists were flocking to the major city of Sapporo to see the spectacle of ice carved into miraculous shapes.

The popularity of Sapporo's globally recognised Ice Festival meant that as meagre little travellers we were priced out of the city; most accommodation had been booked and we couldn't stretch to coughing up for a hotel. A bit of research led us to learn that Sapporo's smaller, sweeter sister city Asahikawa was hosting its own annual ice sculpture festival - Asahikawa Winter Festival - and so we decided, Asakhikawa would be were we saw ice sculpted into shapes.

Asahikawa, it turns out, holds the record for Japan's coldest temperature: in 1902 the weather station there recorded -41°C! We arrived at night and it was cold but beautiful; illuminated ice sculptures lined the boulevard running through the centre of the city from the train station to the Ishikari River. We appeared like gangly, misshaped aliens walking through the shopping streets as people admired the sculptures, our rucksacks on back and google maps open to find our hotel. We had booked in to a business hotel and it turned out to be a business hotel in more than one sense - a working girl stood outside the front door, freezing in a short dress and knee high boots. She was picked up by a blacked out car as we entered. The lobby was just a window into an office but the man working behind the desk was friendly and our room was basic but clean. The best part of staying at this hotel would turn out to be the breakfast; two options: 1) Japanese beef curry or 2) a raw egg, rice and natto.

Unaware of how extensive this smaller ice festival might be we went out into the night to find dinner and see the sights. The streets were busy with bustling guests to the city, artists were chipping and carving out finishing touches on the elegant and delicate shapes of the sculptures.

We grabbed some food at a vending machine restaurant called Matsuya. This place was a godsend. Cheap and fresh dishes in a restaurant full of Japanese locals, the kind of everyday eating we liked. We also discovered that they sold draught beer for 150 yen a glass which therefore made it our new favourite place to eat. A portion of katsu curry later we were refuelled and ready to take a walk through the city.

The festival turned out to be a compact version of the one Sapporo puts on, but heartfelt and genuine. Local school children had made small snowmen who sat lining walls from the city centre down to the main site of the festival, each snowman with a different comedic expression or emotion made by the child who created it. We spent longer than two grown adults should cooing over the cuteness and taking pictures. The lines of snowmen ushered through a tunnel of tiny lights and to the entrance of the city park where pathways lit by tiny candles had been carved out thick snow for visitors to wind their way along.

Through the delights of the snowy park, and past a group of locals having a bonfire and a drink in a clearing of the snow, we found the centre of the festival. Ice had been carved in to a viewing platform so we could look at the stage which was also carved out of snow and a snow slide even ran from the top of it. This was place was mad, but then it was a snow festival after all. Music pumped out into the night and snow sculptures were everywhere.

The local ramen, which is a speciality made with a shoyu (soy sauce) broth, was sold in big steaming bowls which we sipped from under a tent in communal canteen whilst children slurped and snacked on their lunches, played around and stared at us. In the light of day the festival was still buzzing and fun. We discovered a snow maze and quickly ran around its thick walls to find the centre. Other activities went on around the festival site with children having a go at a spot of snowboarding and go-karting. On the stage local musicians sung and strummed away to songs we half-knew, cheered on by friends in the crowd. Considering this was meant to be a small festival, it was surprising how much there was to do and how much thought had been put into the details, but then we were in Japan, the country where delicate details and cuteness are key - along with delicious food.

As night fell on the final night of the festival and after we had just one more go at zipping down the really, really fun snow slide, we gathered with all of the other festival-goers on the viewing platform to watch the closing ceremony take place. This was something we thought would just be a bit of singing and maybe a firework or two but it was actually a full on show with multicoloured lights lighting up the snow in patterns, and green lasers streaming up in to the night sky with booming dance music to accompany it. It was epic and so wonderfully Japanese.

We turned our backs on the snow and ice and - with that bittersweet after-event, end-of-night feeling - walked with the crowd through the delicately lit park, where some people were relaxing and having a drink and others were playing with their children in the snow and dug-out igloos. Japan seems like a happy place to be a child, especially in winter, when it becomes a land of magical ice festivals and snowmen with funny expressions.




Honestly it was a surprise to hear about this. It’s a very UK sound that internet music progeny Ryan Hemsworth has created here, a fusion of pop softness and afrobeats rhythm. Gently clanging icy digital chords summon songs of yesteryear, while columns of sub-bass give it that deeply rumbling contemporary sound; more of that chilly atmosphere comes from that twinkling intricate refrain that Hemsworth casts over the top, like a layer of frost sparkling in the sun. That icy delicacy belies the warmth here, helped not only by the full-bodied nature of the track, but by the smooth vocals of featuring artists, NewAgeMuzik.

The North London duo bring rich vocals, turned lightly plasma with subtle autotune, to the bumping afrofusion beat, a clatter of percussion that clicks and ticks which give an extra dimension to the familiar swung beat that we hear in African-flavoured music. The vocals, full of raw laid-back soul, giving human heart and character to the technical splendour of the instrumental. But the beat has that cute touch, rounded and miniature in places, and its warm-chilly contrast is a combination that makes this track light and upbeat despite its bass heaviness; the skitter and brightness of ornamentation right next to the sweat and heat of intimate close-quarters rhythms.

  • πŸ”” 'Four Seasons' is out already, and it's from Ryan Hemsworth's upcoming new Elsewhere.
  • πŸ”” The video was directed by London-based Sammy Shoots, and stars Kamo and Prince of NewAgeMuzik, matching the chill vibes of the track itself.

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It’s an added bonus when a piece of music sounds like its title, or more correctly evokes its title with sound, and that is the case with Nigerian artist Nelyland. His track ‘Sunrise’ is a nod to the subtle feeling of pre-dawn, the muted sky washed in a gradual brightening and lightening of colour, dark clouds becoming white, purple skies becoming blue – the soft synth rising up in the subtle afrobeat rhythm of the track represent that tone, those dark pastel shades when day still cannot yet shake the night, nor take the sleep from its eyes.

Speaking of that afrobeat rhythm, it’s a sparse semblance of a beat that propels this track forward, with robust thudding kicks like a gradual step towards the proverbial light, and softer percussion popping alongside in an angular, fragmented cluster of beats that gets smooth shaker and hi-hat accents. Nelyland’s soulful vocal itself calls out fringed with autotuned brightness, telling his story: “I been through the storm and the hurricane / Searching for love but it never came.” These lamenting yet determined verses are contrasted with the gradual hope that rises up in the hook: “Sunrise, sunrise, they pray for my downfall but I’m praying for my sunrise…”

It represents that dark side of hope, when you realise that by the very act of living in hope you are without something, struggling, and could be on a long journey to realise your dreams. And yet the slow, steady pace of ‘Sunrise’ feels like a march, a tenacious beeline set for what Nelyland wants to achieve: tell his story to the world.

  • πŸ”” The description for 'Sunrise', a track written by Nelyland following the loss of his mother, reads as follows:

    "I'm sure there are a couple of people out there still trying to find the light. I want to help you realize that your light is already within you and that you should just let it shine! RISE UP LIKE THE SUN !"

    The track is out now courtesy of Afrocentric independent label Sufferings & Offerings and you can listen to it on SoundCloud as above, or via Spotify if you like.

Nelyland Internet Presence ☟

Friday, 2 March 2018


Last time we heard from GEO it was a glittering trail of intricate percussion and chimes in the form of lovely sound-sonnet ‘For You’. This time around the LA-based musicmaker gives us an insight into what makes him tick musically with a slice of sound that celebrates the rhythms of latin music.

“I sat down and wrote this one in an attempt to pay tribute to my love for the way latin makes me feel,” he tells us via email. And what a homage it is. Rather than pursuing one genre or another, and attempting to make something that is bossa nova, or samba, or whatever, ‘MΓ‘gica’ really does feel like a celebration: a rhythm that winds and sashays, more of that texturising percussion we’re used to that gives it some lush depth, and breezy chords that conjure cool scapes by the sea, instantly capitvating satin Ipenema vocals.

“To help pay homage to my roots,” GEO explains, “ Caro Pierotto graced this song with a beautiful Portuguese verse about finding magic in a new love.” Graced is definitely the right word, with this vocal and its pitch-shifted iterations adding beauty to the track.

This is not a typical bossa nova track, or a song that is typically anything. It’s a creation inspired by latin music, and as such it has taken interesting tangents from elsewhere, encompassing flavours like future funk – with that thudding groove and upbeat atmosphere – and even the somewhat-disco feel reminiscent of Japanese city pop. The lead synth-brass melody that refrained throughout reminded me of the 2 player version of the Casino Night level on Sonic 2. ‘MΓ‘gica’ is a versatile track that defies expectations in a modern cosmopolitan retelling of traditional sounds.

  • πŸ”” Have a look-see at 'Mágica' on HypeM.

GEO Internet Presence ☟

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Something steeped in humidity here actually turns out to be the perfect soundtrack to watching the snow fall (the UK is currently wrapped in a frosty Siberian weather front). The blissful soft snowflake sounds of the hank drum employed in this track by Indian artist Astaaq Ahmed aka The Earflower Experiment – tuned in the cheerful key of C, he tells us via email – ping and pong with a soothing pace and texture. ‘Pass(h)erby’ is like a panacea, a gorgeous weave of textures, the cradle of bristling rich percussion that arrives, the warm waves of synth that waft in resolutely, the sparkling deep-breath lead synths.

“While conceptualising this song, I was mostly concerned with trying to capture the essence of a constantly moving, fast-paced world,” says Astaaq. “There are things happening in our lives on a regular basis, but our stories, in the larger scheme of things, don’t have any impact on anyone but us. The world is blissfully ignorant of your happiness, anger, pains and sorrows, and it just keeps spinning.” And this track has that motion, the gently unrelenting beat that fades into a lullaby on a patchwork of chirruping night insects: the heartbeat of your panic and pain as ignored by the natural world. And how fine that is, how ok the world is even after tragedy, how this track comforts you.

  • πŸ”” This comes from The Earflower Experiment's An Anecdote EP, which Astaaq tells us "tries to convey the life cycle of a rather unfortunate relationship."

The Earflower Experiment Internet Presence ☟