July 25, 2016

Mélanie De Biasio - Blackened Cities

Blackened Cities is a the latest stunning release from Belgium singer Mélanie De Biasio, whose 2014 splendid LP, No Deal, is still resonating loudly in my mind.

It's hard not to get carried away by this 24-minutes-long recording, almost built as a seamless minimal-techno DJ Set. Driven by a remarkable rhythmic frame (notably the astonishing drumming of Dre Pallemaerts), Mélanie's captivating velvety voice designs a feeling of darkness and mystery. An almost perfect sound echo of the industrial landscapes she refers to as a source of influence for this record.

June 5, 2016

BadBadNotGood - IV (Innovative Leisure Records)

Ever since their promising demo LP, back in 2011, I've been keeping an attentive ear to the musical journey of Canadian "Jazz-Hop" quartet BadBadNotGood.

Experiencing new artistic routes, working with various high profile artists, pursuing their exciting journey in the worlds of nu-jazz, hip-hop & soul, the trio, now quartet, has not lost their refreshing live-jam sound in the process. Still, as good have been their subsequent productions, I always kept a marked preference for their debut demo album...until this week and the release of their new record, IV, on Innovative Leisure Records.

In this fourth release their signature funky free-jazz forays reach new heights, notably supported by the powerful, albeit weightless, drumming of Alex Sowinski and remarkable post-production work, retaining their fresh live-like sound, while offering some high standards studio quality to the mix.

What I consider as their best production to date climaxes with the incredible Time Moves Slow, featuring singer Sam Herring. Probably my favorite track so far this year, all styles considered.

May 28, 2016

Bruce Springsteen - Secret garden (V4YS "Show Me A Hero" Rework)

We all need heroes right? Among mine, US director & scriptwriter David Simon holds a pretty good ranking. We owe him some of the best thought-provoking, humanist & politically-conscious drama series of the modern TV era. Starting with the best of all (an unquestionable fact validated by...myself:), The Wire (2002/2008, HBO).

 Resonating all the more with me, music plays an integer part in David's work. That's obvious in his remarkable heartfelt appeal to post-Katrina New Orleans ("Treme", 2010/2013, HBO), but is also a common thread in all his productions.

His latest gem, "Show Me A Hero" (2015, HBO), is no exception to the rule.
This mini-series evokes a true story from the late 70's/early 80's, depicting the struggles of a young Mayor in a NYC suburban town, to deal with social & racial cohesion in a stressed budgetary situation. Unsurpringly somehow, considering the "deep America" social themes at play here, Bruce Springsteen was a great fit to fill a spot in the show soundtrack. His beautiful melancholic ballad, Secret Garden, is omnipresent in each of the the miniseries 4 episodes. Here is a deep, balearic/slo-mo style rework I made of it.

May 22, 2016

Mocky - The Moxtape Vol.III

Let's stay in the bubbling futuristic Jazz & Lo-Fi Californian scene for a moment, with some new treats from LA-based Canadian producer Mocky.

His phenomenal 2015 LP Key Change still hasn't left my Iphone heavy rotation playlist, that I already have to find some extra storage space to host the beautiful third batch of his "Moxtape" series.
More than a kaleidoscope of forgotten B-sides, this Volume III parts gathers more of his signature dreamy moments, made of sweet piano and bells-led melodies.
The contribution of a few high-profile guests like violin master Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (him again!) adds to the overall poetic feeling emanating from this new release.

The Moxtape Vol.III is available on his Bandcamp page, my favorites extracts below:

May 18, 2016

Carlos Niño & Friends - Flute, Echoes, It's All Happening! (Leaving Records)

A musical UFO, is how I'd coined Californian producer Carlos Niño to anyone not familiar with is genius. Alongside his inseparable string master friend Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, he has relentlessly been irrading us with cosmic spiritual Jazz vibes for more than a decade now. His latest project, out now on Leaving Records, is a condensed version of his intense creativity.

Spiced-up by several high profiles guests, such as Sax whizz-kid Kamasi Washington (whose phenomenal debut LP last year was part of our 2015 Favorites selection), this indefinable Yogi-style musical journey fits well with West Coast legendary free-jazz-like legacy. Think Alice Coltrane, think The Doors most remote cuckoo-land moments, or, more recently, the Flying Lotus/Thundercat spacy productions.
So open this gate to sweet transcendental meditation, and get organically high, it's all happening here!

May 4, 2016

V4YS - A 70's Tape

Only classics, only edits/reworks from some of my favorite producers to celebrate this golden musical era where rock, disco, funk, latin and afro sounds where happily sharing the stage.

Hope you'll enjoy it!

Thanks to the cool "Lost In The Seventies" blog for the pic:)

April 26, 2016

Prince - Controversy (V4YS Rework)

July 2010, Nice, French Riviera, 11pm.
Closing his regular stadium gig, the Kid hints at an after show in the nearby city of Cannes. Having missed the phenomenal surprise late night performance he had been giving a couple of days before at The New Morning, my favorite Parisian venue, I know I can't miss this one.

- Midnight, Cannes, Palais des Festivals Nightclub.
Here I am, alongside 100 or 150 fans straight out of the gig. Perfect culture clash with this posh club's usual summer crowd, mostly made of rich Russian teenagers. Unaware of the funky storm to come, they lavishly spend ther daily summer allowances in 2000$ champagne bottles.

- 2am, still nothing, but the little stage set-up in a corner of the dancefloor tells me this whole thing is not a scam.

- 3am, there's finally some action, it's very dark, but how not to recognize the Kid's musicians who just arrived. Sound check going on.

- 3:30am The local DJ slows things down and plays Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On". No one really pays attention to the side stage anymore, as there seems to be endless technical problems. Still, I know my Marvin, and this splendid guitar solo I'm hearing is not in the original track...as I get next to the empty dark stage, I distinguish a guy on the side, testing his guitar, mic open, by having fun improvising on Marvin's tune. Guess who it was...

I'll stop here, no need to mention the incredible jam session he offered us afterwards, covering many of the classic US soul & funk legendary tunes he loved so much.

Ironically, a couple of weeks before the sad news, I had been starting to rework an old edit I had made of Controversy...so here it is, as a little tribute...let's get it on.

April 4, 2016

Terry Callier - Holdin' On (V4YS Rework)

Here is a rework of my favorite Terry Callier track, Holdin' On (To Your Love), a groove pearl made of soulful horns, touching politically-conscious lyrics and Terry's incredibly warm voice at his best.

It was released in 1978 as part of his classic LP Fire On Ice. I tried to give it a Dj-friendly nudisco touch, I hope you'll enjoy it.

March 30, 2016

Photay - Sadie EP (Astro Nautico Records)

US producer Photay has been on my lo-fi/electro radar since his first official LP release in 2014.

He's back on Brooklyn outfit Astro Nautico with a remarkable 4-track EP.

Get your fair share of deep beats, 80's flavored ethereal keyboards atmospheres and anthemic moments, climaxing with the absolutely splendid Monday track.

Sadie EP is available on Astro Nautico Bandcamp page.

March 14, 2016

Erik Truffaz Quartet - Doni Doni (Parlophone Records)

Since the late nineties and his first groundbreaking LPs (The Dawn, Bending New Corners...), blowing up the frontiers between nu-jazz, drum & bass, hip-hop & groove, Erik Truffaz Quartet has been a core member of my "desert island" playlist.

With the exception of the unmovable bassist Marcello Giuliani, Erik's quartet line-up has changed over the years, while never losing in cohesion and coherence. 
From the early days, featuring memorable drummer Marc Erbetta and Patrick Muller on piano, to the current formation with Arthur Knatek (drums) and the groove machine Benoit Corboz on keyboards, the quartet has also always retained an open-mind, constantly on the hook for new experiences and influences. The regular invitations of quality vocalists, bringing their own universe to the mix, has also without a doubt played a major role in the band's ability to constantly reinvent itself and surprise us with fascinating new atmospheres.

Their latest LP, Doni Doni is no exception to the game. Rokia Traoré's delicate west-African touch, as well as French rapper Oxmo Puccino flow are a perfect fit to a record travelling between world music and nu-jazz grooves. Another faultless release from Erik's crew, to be fully appreciated live, where their virtuosity is sometimes almost paranormal.

March 1, 2016

Tindersticks - The Waiting Room

Tindersticks' 10th LP is a gift that keeps on giving.

The more I listen to it, the more I feel at home, soothed by its soft & delicate rythmic background, enlightened by its colourful horns. As for the feeling of gravity, Stuart Staples' inimitable nagging singing is at its best, not to mention the precious help from the late Lhasa de Sela and Savages' Jhenny Beth on a couple of tracks. 

A few ultra smooth electro touches here and there, a superb afrobeat-inspired moment ("Help Yourself"), this "indie/world" masterpiece has me thinking of some productions by favorite "outside-of-the-box", horns-friendly indie band, Broken Social Scene. I bet you'll love get stuck in this Waiting Room.

February 16, 2016

Nonkeen - The Gamble (R&S Records)

Berlin-based trio Nonkeen debut LP The Gamble is a remarkable deep & minimal electro-jazz production.

It's also a great story of three German kids discovering music in the late 80's/early 90's, through the lense of good old-school tape recorders. From Hamburg to East Berlin, the trio grew up, staid in touch, but took more than a decade to finally offer us this remarkable introspective musical journey.

Their countless teenage years tape recordings sessions acted as an inspiring patchwork, but make no mistake, this album is not the work of gifted amateur musicians. It's much more than that, and I have no fear comparing their accomplishment to renewed electro-jazz pioneers like Bugge Wesseltoft or Portico Quartet.

Check it out for yourself on their Bandcamp Page & R&S Records:

January 31, 2016

Raury - All We Need (Columbia Records)

Also released in the final weeks of 2016, Atlanta-based young singer & songwriter Raury's debut LP also should have been in my 2015 favorites list.
Contrary to Erykah Badu's album-like "mixtape" I just mentioned, All We Need actually smells more like a demo mixtape than a finished debut LP released on a major label (Columbia). This "unfinished", acoustic-like imperfect feeling is what makes it truly touching.
Simple words, nice melodies and a musical frame on the edge of folk, soul, hip-hop and indie world, all combine to design an unpretending laid-back atmosphere. It also alludes to the sound of Uk songwriter Ady Suleiman, a name I often recommended on the blog.

Erykah Badu - But You Cain't Use My Phone (Mixtape)

Sorry for the quiet activity on the blog this month, but I have to say the year started quite slowly for me in terms of musical surprises.
So I'll open 2016 with a couple of late 2015 releases, starting with the one and only nu-soul queen, Eryka Badu.

In my 2015 Favorites selection I mentioned Erykah's cover of Drake's Hotline Bling.
But the lady did not hang up there, she subsequently released an entire concept album/mixtape around the phone addiction allegory. And you'd better make sure to stay on her line, as this record is a pure delight, truthful to her unique sensual sound.

This project was designed and recorded in less than two weeks, with the help of a young Dallas producer (Zach Witness). This sums up Erykah's rare ability to put her artistic forays & feelings first, far away from an often empty R&B/Hip-Hop mainstream road she could have easily embraced considering her notoriety. With several hints at contemporary R&B songs, but also to the late Jay Dilla, But You Cain't Use My Phone is another milestone in her faultless discography. Totally addictive!

December 14, 2015

2015 Favorites

Welcome to Vibes4YourSoul 2015 Favorites, a non-exhaustive list of the records that made a difference for me this year. May this selection inspire you, as well as its two special podcasts/mixtapes (Part1 dwlnd / Part2 dwlnd - tracklisting below).

Lots of love,

Jm / Vibes4YourSoul


Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
(Folk / Asthmatic Kitty Records) 

Who needs drums and bass, when an acoustic guitar, a few vintage keyboard lines, and finely crafted lyrics can weigh so much? Pared down to the bone, Carrie & Lowell strikes right to the heart, even bordering on the sublime when turning sadness and melancholia into a deep feeling of humanity. "I wanna save you from your sorrow" Sufjan sings at some point. Well, he's found a way.

Mocky - Key Change
(Pop, Downtempo / Heavy Sheet Productions) 

Mocky's fifth album, Key Change, is an enchanted interlude floating above the obsolete boundaries dividing downtempo, soul, jazz and pop. The LA-based multi-instrumentalist and producer demonstrates his songwriting talent, as well as his knack for crafting cosy and poetic musical atmospheres. A "feel-good-stamped" moment.

Kamasi Washington - The Epic 
(Jazz / Brainfeeder Records) 

From spiritual Jazz moments, to Pharoah Sanders-like furious musical riots, LA-based Kamasi Washington and his powerful saxophone lead a 20+ musicians pack in an almost 3-hour long journey, that takes you away, far away. A true Jazz masterpiece by one of the most promising Jazz musician of his generation.

Chassol - Big Sun 
(Downtempo / Tricatel records) 
A chorus of birds on a tree, a majestic grandma humming a traditional song, a carnival band jamming...slices of Martinique island life, becoming instruments courtesy of Christophe Chassol sampling & composing magic. More than a vibrant love letter to the artist's familial roots, Big Sun spreads something universal. Following his unforgettable Indiamore, Chassol affirms himself as a true poet of his time.

Beach House - Depression Cherry
(Indie / Sub Pop Records) 

Another faultless release from US duo Beach House, offering more of their addictive melancholic indie sound. Try not to let your thoughts wander while getting caught in their "anthemic" musical landscapes, high-flying keyboards, finely crafted electric guitars-led melodies & Victoria Legrand's dreamy vocals.

Patrick Watson - Love Songs For Robots 
(Indie, Folk / Domino Records) 

Regularly composing music for films, Canadian singer & songwriter Patrick Watson is also the unforgettable vocalist on some of Cinematic Orchestra's most beautiful songs. Truthful to this dreamy & poetic background, his 5th solo album alternates between intimate folk moments and grandiloquent orchestrations full of imagery. An out-of-time pathway tagged with serenity.

Shamir - Ratchet
(Indie, Electro / XL Recordings)

Pop, house, indie, modern disco...Shamir's scattered sound is unclassifiable, so is his fascinating voice, which he likes to refer as a "happy medium" rather than androgynous. So many blurred lines make the young Las Vegas artist debut LP one of the most intriguing music phenomena of these last few months.

José González - Vestiges & Claws
(Folk / Imperial Recordings)

Delicate classical guitar-led melodies and intimate singing are Swedish/Argentinian songwriter José González signature...as well as his remarkable ability to convey intense emotions with an extremely light orchestration. Case in point with his third splendid LP, Vestiges & Claws.

Beirut - No No No
(Pop/Folk / 4AD Records) 

Zach Condon & his Beirut band at their best. Stirring melodies turning into addictive grandiloquent horns-fuelled pop anthems, an emotive roller coaster made of irrepressible joy & sweet melancholy. Yes, yes, yes, you'll want more!

Floating Points - Elaenia
(Ambient, ElectroJazz / Eglo Records)

Already well known for his subtle deep house productions & sure taste for digging old-school grooves, Floating Points (aka Sam Shepard) steps up his game once again to deliver this superb concept record. Lost somewhere between ambient atmospheres, nu-jazz flavours and minimal techno influences, Elaenia is redefining deepness.

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra - Into Forever
(Jazz / Gondwana Records)

For his third and most ambitious Lp to date, Manchester-based trumpeter Matthew Halsall added some vocalists to his organic spiritual Jazz cocktail. Another layer of poetry that'll surely help you find some form of serenity.

Herbert - The Shakes
(Deep House, Electro / Accidental Records)

With The Shakes, his first LP in almost 10 years, Matthew Herbert is once again doing the spadework to open new electronic music routes. A cocktail made of an exotic kaleidoscope of samples, moving vocal featurings, colourful world music influences and his unremitting minimal house rhythmic signature.

 EPs / Beat Tapes

Tom Misch - Beat Tape 2 
(Downtempo, Electro / self-released) 

Regularly releasing warm groovy instrumental pearls for the last couple of years, London-based guitarist & producer Tom Misch stepped up his game in 2015 by also adding beautiful deep-house tracks to his outfit, some of which featuring great vocal featurings. One of the most promising young producer around.

Petite Noir - The King Of Anxiety EP
(Indie, Electro, Pop / Domino Records)

A penetrating soulful voice wrapping up a refined electro/indie sound is how I would define South-African artist Petite Noir promising debut EP. Some parallels with Bloc Party and more recently Shamir, with a more melancholic twist.

Das Komplex - Nowadays EP
(Electro/Pop, Deep House / Father And Sons Records and Tapes)

An impressive debut EP from Polish producer Das Komplex gathering a splendid melancholic track ringing a Cure bell, a soulful slo-mo house anthem hinting at gospel atmospheres, a deep & dark old-school house cut,

Thundercat - The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam EP
(NuJazz, Lo-Fi, Brainfeeder records)
One single bass note is enough to immediately distinguish Californian bassist Thundercat from others. Add the cosmic influences of his inseparable friend Flying Lotus and keyboards legend Herbey Hancock, and you get another remarkable futuristic lo-fi jazz moment.

Kelela - Hallucinogen EP 
(Downtempo, R&B / Warp Records)

LA-based singer Kelela second EP is an incredibly cohesive futuristic soul experience. Her strong voice seems made to wrap syncopated beats and lush pads, to creat the kind of ethereal feelings radiating from Hallucinogen.

Vanilla - Origin (Downtempo, Beats / self-released)

A delightful journey between groove, jazzy hip-hop and lo-fi atmospheres. from UK beatmaker Vanilla. Gathering original compositions and classic soul tracks reworks, spiced up by a collection of finely picked samples, this mostly instrumental collection definitely carries some relaxing attributes.

Ishivu - Gryning Ep 
(Deep House / Trunkfunk Records)

Some deep & minimal vibes from Swedish producer Ishivu. Perfect pace, warm keyboards, the kind of perfect warm-up or late night record that will have you starting to move, without even noticing.

Claptone - The Music Got Me Ep
 & various remixes  (House / Exploited Records)

German producer & DJ Claptone definitely had a hot hands in 2015, releasing several great house tracks with a recognizable powerful rhythmic backbone. The Music Got Me and his remix of Gregory Porter's Liquid Spirit are already classics.

Joakim - Kindness & Todd Terje remixes
(Nudisco, House / Female Energy & Olsen Records)

French producer Joakim has been one of my favorite nudisco/house artist for a while. He scored big again this year with his slo-mo remix of Kindness's Who Do You Love (especially the dub version) and a dancefloor killer remix of Todd Terje's Strandbar.

Drake - Hotline Bling & Erykah Badu cover
(R&B, Cash Money Record)

I'm usually not too much into large commercial US R&B sounds, but I know to make exceptions! Case in point with this addictive single from Drake & its cover by the one and only nu-soul queen, Erykah Badu.

 EDIT of the year

Little Beaver - Groove On (DJ Vas & Soulist Rework)

My favorite edit this year comes from French DJs & producers DJ Vas & Soulist, who gave a "101 groove" masterclass by spicing up this 1980 pearl from US singer & guitarist Willie "Beaver" Hale.


The Chill Part (Indie, Folk, Lo-Fi, Jazz...)
Chassol-BirdsPart I / Mocky-HeadsInTheClouds / PatrickWatson-LoveSongForRobots / DasKomplex-LikeAFish / SufjanStevens-ShouldHaveKnownBetter / BeachHouse-Levitation / JoséGonzález-StoriesWeBuild,StoriesWeTell / Beirut-Gibraltar / PetiteNoir-Chess / Shamir-Vegas / Drake*ErykahBadu-HotlineBling / Kelela-AllTheWayDown / Thundercat-HardTimes / KamasiWashington-LeroyAndLanisha / MatthewHalsall&TheGondwanaOrchestra-OnlyAWoman / Vanilla-Footsteps / TomMisch-TheJourney

The Dance Part (Nudisco, House, Electro...)
LittleBeaver-GrooveOn (DJ Vas&Soulist Rework) / BillieBlack&MuraMasa-ThisSimplePleasure / Kindness-WhoDoYouLove(Joakim Dub Mix) / Xinobi-RealFake(CutSlackRemix) / PurpleDiscoMachine-WhereWeBelong / Selvy-GottaHaveIt / Shamir-OnTheRegular / ToddTerje-Starndbar(JoakimFullLengthMix) / GregoryPorter-LiquidSpirit(ClaptoneRemix) / Herbert-Smart&Middle / TomMisch-BeautifulEscape / Ishivu-Gryning(MattKarmilRemix) / FloatingPoitns-ForMarmish