Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ol’ Skool Sunday: Sunday Sweetness

I’m on some Beres Hammond today! His music (and a lot of older Reggae & Dancehall) just feels like a sunny Sunday afternoon to me. So, sit back and relax to the legendary voice and the smooth riddims.

– Blessup

 

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Get Familiar Episode 9: Punchuashen

The world today is filled with talented DJs, musicians, and producers.  Many of them make use of the various digital tools available to them to spread their music. To a certified Soundcloud junkie like me, much of the world’s music begins to sound the same after a while. However, some artists have that “it” factor that allows their sound to catch my attention. DJ & producer, Punchuashen, is one of those people.

Hailing from Pretoria, South Africa, Punchuashen remembers when local tastemakers like Oskido and DJ Fresh were making names for themselves in the late 1990s by developing the house music scene and making the local music a commodity.  Back then, there were no Soul Candi’s or any other major companies to promote South African house music. And for Punchuashen, something else was not quite right.  The Kwaito was a little too slow while the house, which lacked diversity, was too fast.  Although Punch appreciated and liked those styles, he wanted something “really funky.”

After a short professional career in tennis, Punch moved to the United States and began making music. At first, his main tool was his PlayStation Music Generator, but a friend gave him the popular digital audio work station, Reason. Within a year, the athlete-turned-tennis-coach really began making his funky house music and developing his brand of music.

To understand Punch’s style, one must be aware of his main inspiration, the drum.  Percussion that he has heard in his lifetime – at churches and club, in house music, the Kuduro blaring from Angolan taxis, routines performed by drum majors, etc. – had a profound influence on him and sparked in him, the desire to make his own songs. Having been exposed Percussion in a variety of formats and settings, Punch begins each of his tracks with strong percussion, hoping that that alone is sufficient means for him express his feelings.  If his songs don’t begin with a good drum rhythm, then he’s lost what he’s trying to convey through his music.  That is where a lot of South African musicians have been able to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world.  According to Punch, they have been successful at developing a sound that is “very ethnic and very urban at the same time.”  That is the source of his inspiration:  “i want to recreate that i same feeling i had [when] hearing something on the radio at night when i was recording back in the day on cassette… That feeling is hard to explain to somebody.”

Even if that something is difficult to explain, tracks like “Dreams” convey a particular energy to listeners that distinguishes Punchuashen from the millions of other Soundcloud song-makers.  “Dreams” begins with a percussion loop that imprints his personal stamp on the audio waves with kicks that reverberate through all solid and spiritual matter in one’s body and mind.  After a brief introduction to the rhythm, poet Oneil Abercrombie interrupts (almost literally) with a well thought and beautifully delivered soliloquy about personal shortcomings.  In a world that demands each individual to submit to its havoc, Oneil has been “been plotting, planning, scheming, dreaming, dying for some resistance,” but is stopped by and trapped in her own manifestation of a prison cell. As she delivers these, and other thought-provoking lines, Punch accentuates them and re-interprets them using his music.

“Dreams” is but one display of Punchuashen’s current talent and his potential.  Listening to “Feeling In My Soul” which features vocalist Laila Davids, and “Visions,” would cause one to believe that they’re listening to a world-renowned musician/producer.  The diversity of sound across his releases and the movement within each track demonstrate that Punchuashen has a knack for creating sounds, which will earn him the respect We give to the people to whom he looks up.  What makes his music even better, is the humbleness and pure love that Punch embeds in his sound.  He admits that he’s still got much to learn and fine tune (who doesn’t?) with regard to incorporating more sounds into his already rich catalog and improving his technical skills.

There are many ways that you can keep up with Punchuashen, even as he fine-tunes is already superb production. You can peep his latest tracks on Souncloud and get information about his gigs and projects on his website. The Facebookers and Tweeters can also get his real time updates.

 

Tru Skool Tuesday: Ms. Hill Doing Her Nina Simone

I heard THIS the other day and became suddenly overwhelmed with sadness. It may be selfish, but i NEED a new Lauryn Hill album in my life!!! As i wait for her to release some new music, i’m rocking this dope “Best of…” mix that Ms. Hill and J. Period put together. It features classic Fugees and Lauryn Hill tracks, J. Period-styled soundbites, and mashups for days! I hope you enjoy Ms. Hill channeling some Nina Simone energy through this mix like no one else can.

– Much Love

“While You Imitating Al Capone, I Be Nina Simone…”

I’m not sure what i can really write about Nina Simone that hasn’t already been said, written, felt, or expressed in a number of different ways by millions of people. Therefore, i’ll just say thank you, Nina Simone. Happy bearthday.
– Much Love

 

 

I never get tired of this one

This is one of the most beautiful songs i’ve EVER heard

And of course,

Another one of my favorites [what can i say? i’m a sucker for Liberation music!]

Mixtape Monday: Reggae, Brighton BBQ Style

I must say, good Reggae mixes are few and far between (IMHO). Maybe my expectations are too high, but i like mixes that give me more music than DJ sound efx. I appreciate a nice combination of somewhat newish tunes, as well as classics. This mix by Robert Luis of Tru Thoughts gives me exactly that! I hope that you enjoy it.

– Much Love

Ol’ Skool Sunday: Cruisin Together

On Sundays, i like to pay tribute to classic music and artists who have shaped the musicworld that We now enjoy. This week, i’m sending some Sunday love to the legendary Smokey Robinson, whose music has had an incomprehensible on me. Did i mention he’s celebrating his “youth renewal” on this day (go Februarians!)? LOL. Enjoy some of my favorite Smokey Robinson & the Miracles songs and enjoy your Sunday.

– Much Love

Get Familiar Episode 8: Alec Lomami

Hello world. Meet Alec Lomami, an artist whose current pop-styled songs betray the seriousness of his life and his message. As i write, the young rapper-producer is heading to Zimbabwe due to the challenges he’s been facing as the result of wars being fought without his consent, and a political system that makes it unimaginably difficult for “outsiders” to attain the “dreams” it promises. [Please forgive me for being vague. To get some background, read these great articles from The FaderMTV, and Akwaaba Music.]

Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Alec was well immersed in great music.  In addition to listening to legendary artists, such as Papa Wemba, Franco, Mbillia Belle, Zaiko, Wenge Musica, and Omako, he felt connected to hip hop music.  Alec even recalled greatly admiring 2pac over the Notorious B.I.G. because of their beef. (It’s amazing how conflict gains peoples’ attention, even when they’re thousands of miles away.)  His other favoites, including Nas, MC Solaar, IAM, Rakim, and EPMD make it clear that Alec didn’t get too caught up in the rap battles!  This mixture of African and African American artists helped Alec appreciate the music of the African world.

When he heard Congolese rappers, Alec came to an important conclusion: “maybe we can do this.”  Fatima, CIA, and others inspired him to create a rap group with his friend when he was about 12 years old.  As a self-described recluse, it was difficult for Alec to develop the confidence to record and share his music with a broad audience for fear of being judged and criticized.  However, hardship at home and in other countries, especially in immigration jail, convinced him that he had no reason to fear other people’s opinions of his music. “It wasn’t until I spent some time in immigration jail that I told myself when I get out, I’ll record, who cares about the critics.”  Some time after his nine-month stint in a U.S. immigrant detention center, Alec Lomami made good on his promise to himself and recently released “Kinshasa,” a single from his forthcoming EP, Mélancolie Joyeuse.

“Kinshasa” is a mixture of western sounds with the soul and lyrics of a truly diasporic African whose love for home cannot be denied, despite the problems it faces due to a long history of colonialism and war.  Rapping in French and Lingala (one of over 200 languages spoken in DRC), he discusses his experience as a diasporic being whose identity spreads across various cultures, but does not fit squarely into any one of them.

On his forthcoming EP, Mélancolie Joyeuse, listeners can expect Alec’s music to be “conversational.” in other words, as a pop artist with consciousness (as opposed to a conscious artist), he plan to provide us with a wealth of lessons learned from his personal experiences with hopes that We will accept the invitation into his world, build with him, and glean something positive from what he has to share.  Alec is putting the project together with the dual purpose of challenging himself to step outside of his typically “low key and chill” character.  This “upbeat and super fun” EP will contrast sharply with the follow-up, which has yet to be titled.  “I’m not sure I’ll ever make another record with this happy go lucky feel. The second EP will be a little darker, something more in the line of new wave meets Hip Hop.”

When you hear or see the name, “Alec Lomami,” it’s important to keep in mind that he is an artist in his own rite, but that he produces for other artists too.  One of his artists, a young Congolese emcee who goes by the moniker “Well$,” is featured in Alec’s recently released track, “Pop Revolution.”  Alec also dreams of one day producing an album for Papa Wemba or Lokwa Kanza, as well as working with Iyadede whose sounds he really digs.  “But by in large, I like to work with people I’m friends with to make records that are more organic.”

Alec Lomami is currently traveling to Zimbabwe & South Africa where he plans to finish recording his current music project, connect with some of Southern Africa’s best artists, and get his Masters Degree in theological ethics.  You can keep up with him as he treks about the globe via Twitter and Facebook.  Also, you can check out his music as it becomes available on Soundcloud.