June 28, 2011

V4YS Selection#14 - easing off (downtempo/abstract beats/trip hop)

This 14th selection of our podcasts/selections focuses on deep slo-mo abstract beats.

You'll find recent productions from a bunch of remarkable underground artists like Submotion Orchestra, James Blake, Actress or Toro Y Moi.

Hopefully they'll have you slow down, relax and ease off !

Tracklisting, downloadable podcast format and track by track streaming below :

Tracklisting :
Quest - Smooth Skin
Toro Y Moi - Talamak
Thieves Like Us - Never Known Love
Teebs - Wind Loop
Jam Da Silva - Dia Santo
Yonderboy - Pink Solidism (Riders On the Storm from The Doors cover)
Submotion Orechstra - Jam1
The Weeknd - What You Need
James Blake - What Was It You Said About Luck
Actress - Harrier Attk
Machine Drum - Flud
Deerhunter - Helicopter

June 22, 2011

V4YS EP Review - Gang Colours - In Your Gut Like A Knife Ep (Brownswood Recordings)

After having listened to some promessing extracts a while ago, I was so eagerly waiting the release of Southampton-based Gang Colours (aka Will Ozanne)'s first EP that I actually missed it when it finally came out in early June on the always excellent Brownswood Recordings label.
Anyway, better late than never to mention this brilliant EP gathering 4 tracks symbolic of the creativity of the current Uk electro scene.
"In Your Gut Like A Knife" has house, dubstep and abstract beats answering each other in a subtle deluge of unexpected sounds and samples. In the wake of artists like Mount Kimbie, Gold Panda, or even Four Tet, Gang Colours contributes another brick to a Uk bass-culture building that keeps adding new storeys. The sky is the limit they say. Are they so sure?
Below a quick sampler of the EP :

Après avoir entendu de ci de là ces derniers mois quelques bribes de titres du jeune producteur anglais de Southampton Gang Colours (aka Will Ozanne), j'attendais impatiemment son premier maxi. Tellement impatiemment que j'ai loupé en début de mois sa sortie sur le toujours excellent label Brownswood Recordings
Quoi qu'il en soit mieux vaut tard que jamais pour souligner la qualité de "In Your Gut Like A Knife" qui symbolise à merveille la créativité sans borne de l'actuelle scène electro britannique. Dialogue déroutant entre rythmes house, dubstep ou abstract beats, ce maxi essaime aussi une multitude de sonorités et de samples autant dépaysant qu'inattendus. 
Dans le sillage d'artistes comme Mount Kimbie, Gold Panda voir Four Tet, Gang Colours apporte à son tour une jolie pierre à un édifice de la "Uk bass-culture" qui ne cesse de grandir! 
Ci-dessus un sampler du maxi.

June 18, 2011

V4YS Special Selection - Peace Go With You, Brother Gil Scott-Heron

Alongside Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye or John Coltrane, Gil Scott-Heron is part of this small circle of unforgettable artists whose music and spirit are with me all the time, wherever I go, whatever I do.
And always will be.

If I cannot recommend you more to listen to each and every of his album to fully grasp the extent of his genius, I nevertheless wanted to propose a selection of some of my favorite Gil songs to those of you who are not familiar enough with his work.
So here comes "Peace Go With You, Brother Gil Scott-Heron", our modest tribute to this immense artist who sadly just passed away.

From tracks ferociously denouncing societal, economical and political issues to reflections about the struggle of the human kind in its fight against addictions to beautiful poetic songs full of love and hope, you'll find in this podcast some of the various faces of this fundamental artist.
Peace Go With You, Brother Gil!

Please find below the streaming of our selection (in two parts) as well as podcast and track-by-track format download links here (part1 / part2).

Part1 :
V4YS - Peace Go With You, Brother Gil Scott Heron (Part1) from Vibes4YourSoul at Letsmix.com

Part2 :
V4ys Special Selection Gil Scott Heron  Part2 from Vibes4YourSoul at Letsmix.com

Tracklisting (with links to each song lyrics which are such an important part of his legacy) :

We Almost Lost Detroit (probably my favorite Gil's song, written in 1977 in reference of a nuclear power plant incident that happened in 1966 in Detroit, the lyrics were (sadly) particularly visionaries...)
A Lovely Day (5' 10'')
Song For Bobby Smith (8' 33'')
I'll Call It Morning (13' 06'')
The Other Side, Pt.I (16' 41'')
Angel Dust (21' 58'')
Angola, Louisiana (26' 09'')
Work For Peace (31' 38'')
Whitey On The Moon (39' 04'')
Winter In America (solo version) (40' 31'')
Your Daddy Loves You (46' 47'')
Lady Day And John Coltrane
Home Is Where The Hatred Is (3'33'')
Johannesburg (6' 49'')
The Bottle (live) (11' 24'')
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (24' 47'')
"B" Movie (long version) (27'42'')
You Could Be My Brother (39' 48'')

And just for the pleasure, some of my favorite Gil's quotes (actually still very much topical) :

From "Work For Peace" :
"The Military and the Monetary, get together whenever they think its necessary,
they turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries, they are turning the planet into a cemetery.
The Military and the Monetary, use the media as intermediaries,
they are determined to keep the citizens secondary, they make so many decisions that are arbitrary."

From "B Movie" (written following R Reagan election in 1980, sadly still very much topical isn'it?) :
"As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here's a look at the closing numbers: racism's up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot. The House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce, and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading. Movies were looking better than ever, and now no one is looking, because we're starring in a "B" movie."

From "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" :
"The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.
The revolution will not be televised"

From "I'll Call It Morning" :
"Why should I survive on sadness?
And tell myself I got to be alone
Why should I subscribe to this world's madness?
Knowing that I've got to live on
Yeah I think I'll call it morning 
From now on"

From "Lady Day and John Coltrane" (in reference to Billie Holliday and Coltrane, a tribute on the healing power of Music and Art in general) :
"Ever feel kinda down and out, you don't know just what to do--
Livin' all of your days in darkness let the sun shine through--
Ever feel that somehow, somewhere, you've lost your way--
And if you don't get help quick you won't make it through the day--
Could you call on Lady Day, Could you call on John Coltrane
Now ‘cause they'll, they'll wash your troubles, your troubles, your troubles
Your troubles away!"

June 16, 2011

V4YS EP Review - Floating Points & Fatima - Follow You Ep (Eglo Records)

Ever since the release of his first EPs in 2009 Floating Points (aka Sam Shepard ) has become one of my favorite deep house producer.
He started collaborating with singer Fatima on his other main project, called "Floating Points Ensemble", which blends his deep electro vibes with an orchestra featuring a full string section. After a great EP in 2010, the Ensemble should release a first LP should soon on Ninjatune.
While at it, he also worked on a Floating Points Ep with the swedish diva and here comes the "Follow You Ep", out recently on his own label Eglo records.
Let's say it right away, while quite different this Ep is as good as the previous "Love Me Like This" and "Vacuum" EP's that I highly recommend if you have missed them.
The first two tracks "Cinammon" and "Mind" carry a delicious JayDill-esque/Badu flava with groovy beats, warm keyboards and nusoul-like vocals. Then comes "Innervisions", a downtempo song where Fatima takes centerstage with a throbbing spiritual lyrical flow. Finally, "Red Light", my favorite of the four, a splendid deep house cut reminiscent of early Saint-Germain productions, where Rhodes-inspired synths answer deep housy beats forming a perfect frame for Fatima's soulful words.
In brief : another brilliant Floating Points that deserve all your attention!

Below a streaming of "red Lights" and "mind", have your fair share of deepness!

June 13, 2011

V4YS Concert Review - Chris Dave & Friends - Live At New Morning, 110611

Chris Dave - Photo Vincent B.
Après le concert mémorable qu'il a livré il y a environ un mois avec ses complices du Robert Glasper Experiment, l'infatigable batteur Chris Dave est repassé samedi soir par le New Morning pour son premier concert parisien en tant que tête d'affiche.

Intitulé "Chris Dave & Friends" la soirée a réservé de très jolies surprises étant donné le pédigré des "friends" en question...

Pino Palladino - Photo Vincent B.
Depuis le bassiste Pino Palladino, qui enregistre et accompagne sur scène les plus grands depuis plus de 30 ans, jusqu'au guitariste Tim Stewart et au saxophoniste Kebbi Williams, le plateau était sans nul doute au niveau de l'immense talent du batteur.

Après une première partie très free-jazz d'une virtuosité rare, c'est de manière incrédule que l'on a écouté "Daddy" Dave nous demander (bien inutilement) de l'indulgence car c'était en fait la première fois que le quatuor jouait ensemble!

Nous n'avions pourtant encore rien vu.

Kebbi Williams - photo Vincent B.

En mode improvisation totale, le second set a donné lieu à une avalanche de covers incroyables de D'Angelo sauce Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, Jay Dilla ou encore Fela Kuti ont servi de sources d'inspiration aux quatre musiciens déchainés.

Le quatuor doit à priori bientôt se réunir en studio pour enregistrer un album, je n'ose imaginer ce que ça va pouvoir donner s'ils ont un peu de temps pour vraiment répéter ensemble!

Chris Dave - photo Vincent B.

Ci-dessous petits extraits vidéos avec deux jams inspirés par Fela Kuti puis par D'Angelo version Jimi Hendrix :

Less than a month after the breathtaking concert he gave with his mates from the Robert Glasper Experiment, tireless drummer Chris Dave was back at the New Morning this saturday for his first parisian show as headliner. 
Simply titled "Chris Dave & Friends" the evening was once again full of pleasant musical discoveries which will not be totally surprising to those who are familiar with the background of the "friends" in question. From legendary bassist Pino Palladino, who has recorded and played with some of the greatest artists around, to guitarist Tim Stewart and sax player Kebbi Williams, the trio was definitely up to the drummer's talent.
After a mind-blowing first part dedicated to some free-jazz jams, "Daddy" Dave had the audience scratch his head in disbelief when he announced that the quatuor had never played together before....This was all the more stunning considering the second set we experienced subsequently !
In full impro mode, the band offered several astonishing covers inspired by themes from the likes of D'Angelo, Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, Jay Dilla or Fela Kuti. The crew is supposed to spend some studio time together later this year to record an album, I just can't imagine what they'll be capable of!

Please find above small video extracts of the concert, with jams inspired by Fela Kuti and D'Angelo/Jimi Hendrix.

June 9, 2011

V4YS Album Review - Bon Iver - "Bon Iver, Bon Iver"

Three years. This is the time it took Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) to write and record the ten songs of his second LP, self-titled "Bon Iver, Bon Iver".
It may have felt too long to his numerous fans (at least  to me!) but the Eau-Claire, Wisconsin, resident has been quite busy in the meantime.
Busy coping with celebrity and fame following the much-deserved worldwide acclaim he received following his masterpiece "For Emma, Forever Ago". Busy dealing with unexpected artistic requests like his recent participation on Kanye West new record.
Busy moving his recording shelter from his father improbable hunting cabin in the middle of some Wisconsin woods to "April Base" a real studio he set-up in a small town nearby Eau-Claire.
But eventually he did it, and he obviously has'nt lost his knack for writing beautiful folk melodies nor his talent for managing auto-tune effects that sublimate his touching falsetto voice.
That being said he who says "real" studio implies a more elaborate and complex work. This is the case for this sophomore record that carries a richer instrumentation and sounds definitely  more "produced". While its overall tone is also brighter than For Emma's one, the feeling of intimacy and melancholy remains. His girlfriend, the singer Kathleen Edwards, summed it up nicely in a great bio article recently published in the Nyt when she said "You can place yourself inside his songs and his music, because he leaves space for you".
That's exactly it, no clearly spelled lyrics, no specific themes, the listener is free to take over each song and place his own feelings or emotions on them. So go for it and design your own "Bon Iver, Bon Iver".

Please find below a full streaming of the album :

Those in love with with great indie-folk may wanna check our recent review of the fantastic new LP of a less well-known "chamber folk" band called Loch Lomond.
You can also listen and download our recent special folk selections/podcasts "In The Mood For Folk" and "In The Mood For (more) Folk".

3 ans. C'est le temps qu'il a fallu à Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) pour écrire et enregistrer les 10 chansons qui composent son second album simplement intitulé "Bon Iver, Bon Iver". Cette parenthèse a pu sembler longue à ses fans (à tout le moins à moi) mais le songwriter n'a pas eu une minute à lui depuis la sortie de son chef d'oeuvre "For Emma, Forever Ago". 
Il a fallu s'habituer à la célébrité et aux sollicitations médiatiques. Il a fallu répondre aux propositions artistiques les plus surprenantes comme celle qui l'a vu collaborer au dernier album du rapper Kanye West. Il a fallu quitter l'improbable abri de chasse de son père perdu au milieu d'une forêt proche de sa ville d'Eau-Claire dans le Wisconsin, qui lui servait tout à la fois de refuge et de studio d'enregistrement improvisé, pour construire "April Base" un vrai studio sur mesure dans une petite ville des alentours. 
Tout cela a pris du temps mais le résultat est à la hauteur du talent de cet artiste atypique à la sensibilité hors du commun. On retrouve donc avec émotion des mélodies folks superbes portées par une voix de fausset dont la pureté est toujours magnifiée par l'ajout d'effets auto-tune. 
L'utilisation d'un "vrai" studio a permis la collaboration de plusieurs musiciens avec à la clé une orchestration plus riche qui explique peut-être un ton d'ensemble un peu plus lumineux que sur "For Emma". La sensation diffuse d'intimité et de mélancolie qu'on ressentait à l'écoute du premier album est néanmoins toujours bien présente. Kathleen Edwards, chanteuse et compagne de Justin, résumait récemment très bien ce sentiment dans un très bon article du New-york Times consacré à l'artiste lorsqu'elle disait "Vous pouvez rentrer à l'intérieur de ses chansons et de sa musique car il vous laisse la place nécessaire pour que vous vous y installiez". Pas de paroles clairement prononcées, pas de thèmes clairement définis, à vous de vous appropirer chaque morceau pour y laisser vagabonder vos propres émotions. Il ne vous reste plus qu'à vous ruer sur ce disque et à dessiner les contours de votre propre "Bon Iver, Bon Iver".

Ci-dessus streaming de l'album dans son intégralité.

Je recommande aussi chaudement aux amoureux d'indie-folk de jeter un oeil sur notre review récente du dernier album d'un groupe de "chamber-folk" moins connu mais tout aussi intéressant : Loch Lomond.
Voici enfin deux liens vers nos récents podcasts/sélections spécial folk : "In The Mood For Folk" et "In The Mood For (more) Folk".

June 7, 2011

V4YS Album Review - Submotion Orchestra - Finest Hour (Exceptional Records)

Submotion Orchestra was created two years ago in Leeds for a special live show at the famous York Minster cathedral.
Was it a sign of the Gods (of music)?
To me there is no doubt!
Since I discovered their  first stunning Ep a few months ago I have been eargerly waiting for the LP "Finest Hour", which is at last being released on the (well-named) label Exceptional Records.
Led by drummer Tommy Evans and electro producer Dom Howard the combo features 7 outstanding Uk musicians blending a delicate nu-jazz sound with a hypnotic dub/dubstep-influenced rythmic background. A kind of futuristic marriage between Cinematic Orchestra and some early Massive Attack beats.
Add to that Ruby Wood's bewitching soulful voice  and you get a true moment of grace.
But that's not all!
In the band's opinion, this project was always supposed to reach its climax on stage, which is not always the case for this kind of downtempo productions. Considering the brilliant Maida Vale live sessions aired a few weeks back on the BBC, I would highly recommend you try to catch them for their first proper tour that started recently in the Uk (before hopefully visiting the rest of the world)!

Below a streaming of the single "All Night" as well as a soundcloud sampler of the album :

Submotion Orchestra est né en 2009 à Leeds à l'occasion d'un concert très spécial dans la majestueuse cathédrale gothique de York Minster. Etait-ce un signe des Dieux (de la musique)? Cela ne fait aucun doute pour moi!
Depuis la découverte il y a quelques mois de leur superbe premier maxi, j'attendais impatiemment la sortie de l'album, "Finest Hour". Il est enfin disponible sur le bien-nommé label Exceptional Records et devrait faire date.
Sous la houlette du batteur Tommy Evans et du producteur electro Dom Howard, le combo de 7 musiciens britanniques associe un son nu-jazz délicat à une rythmique hypnotique aux accents dub et dubstep. Une sorte de mariage futuriste entre Cinematic Orchestra et un Massive Attack des premières heures. On a vu pire comme filiation non?
Rajoutez la voix envoûtante et très soulful de la chanteuse Ruby Wood et vous obtenez un pur moment de grâce (et accessoirement un de mes gros coups de coeur 2011).
Ce n'est pas tout. Le groupe a conçu ce projet avec l'idée directrice qu'il prendrait toute sa dimension sur scène, ce qui n'est pas toujours le cas avec ce genre de productions downtempo. Si je me fie aux superbes sessions radio enregistrées live et diffusées il y a quelques semaines sur la BBC je ne peux qu'envier ceux qui auront la chance d'assister au tour qu'ils viennent d'entamer en Angleterre (avant je l'espère de venir en France).
Ci-dessus un streaming du single "All Night" et un sampler soudcloud de l'album.

June 5, 2011

V4YS Album Review - Bop - The amazing adventures of one curious pixel (Med School Music)

Let's go east. To Saint-Petersburg, Russia, home of producer Bop who just released possibly one of my favorite 2011 electronica record on Med School Music, "The amazing adventures of one curious pixel".
Blending shades of minimal house, deep dubstep and groovy abstract beats, this LP is a very good digest of the electro sounds I currently crave for.
It is therefore not surprising that several familiar names come to mind while following his little pixel exciting trip through the digital music world.
I could for instance mention James Blake's more experimental sounds, Mount Kimbie's neat dubstep productions or Gold Panda 's housy side (the title "Sunrain" sounding actually like a nice extension of Gold Panda's "Marriage").
If the LP is mostly instrumental, it carries nevertheless two splendid semi-vocal cuts : "I Need You", a powerful dubstep anthem remix from a track by Russian producer Subwave, and "Extraterresterial Creatures..." a deeper moment with a soulful vocal chorus from Bev Lee Harling.  Master in the art of polishing a myriad of synths layers, Bop has designed a warm and cosy world for his little pixel with a hint of mystery that should fulfil his curiosity (and yours as well I hope!).

Please find below a small sampler of the LP :

Cap à l'est! Plus précisément vers St-Pétersbourg en Russie d'où est originaire le jeune producteur Bop qui sort son excellent second album "The amazing adventures of one curious pixel"  sur le label Med School Music.
Mélangeant des sonorités minimal house, deep dubstep et abstract beats, ce disque est une sorte de condensé de l'univers électro que je préfère actuellement. Il est alors assez naturel d'évoquer quelques noms familiers lorsque l'on suit de plus près les déambulations de ce petit pixel dans les méandres digitaux de l'electronica contemporaine. On pourra citer les productions les plus expérimentales de James Blake, le dubstep d'orfèvre de Mount Kimbie ou encore la façette la plus deep house de Gold Panda (dont le titre "Marriage" trouve en "Sunrain" un écho assez fascinant). 
Si l'album est principalement instrumental il contient néanmoins deux superbes titres ou la présence de vocaux fait mouche : "I Need You", un hymne dubstep envoûtant, remix d'un morceau du producteur russe Subwave, et "Extraterresterial Creatures..." titre qui doit son caractère planant en bonne partie à l'excellent sample vocal de Bev Lee Harling.
Superposant à l'envie une multitude de nappes de synthés sur un cadre rythmique de haute précision, Bop offre à son petit pixel un refuge à la fois chaleureux et mystérieux qui devrait satisfaire sa curiosité (et sans doute la votre par la même occasion!).
Ci-dessus un petit sampler de l'album.