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EP of the Week
Solid Grooves favourite Blackchild is the next to land on Hot Creations with the Groove Dealer EP. The three track release serves up heavy-duty club rollers, moulding Blackchild’s early influences with a contemporary flare.
Title track Groove Dealer kicks off proceedings with a heavy sub-bass and chopy hats as melodic brass tones add the key ingredient. Siempre is next up, following suit with elevating brass notes, punchy percussion and dreamy synths. Rounding off the EP, Inmydreams is a deep and dark cut built for the late night hours, ignited by the blissful and hypnotic vocals. Blackchild reveals that "this upcoming EP on Hot Creations represents exactly what my sound is. The inspiration for these tracks come from all the old Jazz and Motown records I used to listen to growing up, with a modern Blackchild touch."
Originally from a small island in the gulf of Naples called Ischia, Blackchild is the artist name for Italian artist Gennaro Filisdeo. Heavily influenced by his father‘s record collection, he grew up listening to Hip-Hop, RnB, Disco and old school House music. He began to produce at the age of eighteen, but it was in 2019 that Blackchild joined the Solid Grooves roster, which led him to play at statement venues and festivals such as Printworks London, Auditorium Torremolinos Malaga and ADE Festival. 2020 saw chart success with his track Sexy Thing going straight to #2 in the Beatport Top 10 Tech House Chart and #5 in the Overall Top 10 Chart. 2021 looks set to continue in the same direction with a busy release schedule on the way.
For singer-composer Emily Saunders, writing Metronomic was a cathartic affair. The song originally appeared on her widely acclaimed 2015 release, ‘Outsiders Insiders’, a collection of songs with exuberant, hip swaying grooves, sparkling wordless vocals and dreamy lyrics wrapped around Brazilian rhythms. It positioned her as an inventive vocalist and talented songwriter, producing earworm songs that hit radio playlists and stayed there.
‘Metronomic’ however, was the classic ‘album track’. Clocking in at over 7 minutes and tucked towards the end of the album, it saw Emily spread out with ethereal vocal textures, rising, falling, floating and lingering over a slow, meditative pulsing groove, driven by acoustic bass and a full Rhodes piano vibe. Saunders now releases Metronomic, re-edited and reworked for 2021, cut back, straight to song and straight to what needs to be said. Deeply personal, haunting vocals and barely-there words belie pertinent subject matter.
“Writing this song” says Emily “marked a significant point in my life”. She explains, “I had been haunted by an abusive relationship, that while in the past, had defined my life by fear. The words were intended to be subtle, concealing what it was about, allowing a sense of anonymity”. The song’s sentiment manifests itself as much through vocal expression as its lyrics. Yet far from being bleak, the song is classic Emily, spirited and effervescent. “Expressing myself through this song” she adds, “I was able to close the door on a turbulent past.”
Saunders releases ‘Metronomic’ on March 8th to mark International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates the achievements of women and spotlights female-focused charities. Accompanying the release of Metronomic is a hard-hitting video animated by Sara Soncini and directed by Saunders. So poignant is the imagery and message, that The Circle (a charity founded by singer-songwriter and activist Annie Lennox as a force for change in the fight for equal rights and opportunities for women), placed it at the heart of a recent event to spark discussion and support for victims of gender-based violence.
With several collaborations already under their belt, including 2017’s esteemed Implications EP, Gruuv bosses Audiojack and American talent Kevin Knapp make a return to Crosstown Rebels in February with Under Your Skin. The release, taken from Audiojack’s forthcoming May album, includes a club edit of the single as well as a remix and dub version courtesy of Hessle Audio mainstay Pearson Sound.
Under Your Skin is about the subconscious manipulation that we experience every day, the subtle steering of our thoughts and decisions that often happens without our awareness. Whether it’s corporations trying to sell us stuff, the agenda spun rhetoric of the media or the propaganda mill of our governments, their intentions are the same; to gain trust, compliance and control. Audiojack
The club cut of Under Your Skin takes the lead, pairing punchy kick-hat combos against a tension-building breakdown before the hard-hitting four-four bassline is swiftly brought back in. The single version comes next, taking no prisoners with a breakbeat backbone that brings Kevin’s lyrics to the forefront, paving the way for UK-talent Pearson Sound as he serves up five minutes of glitchy, dancefloor-ready breaks on the main remix. Rounding off the release is the Skeleton Dub, a stripped-back late-night creeper that showcases the UK-talent at his best.
Leeds-born Ibiza-based Audiojack have been carving out a unique sound for over a decade. Earning their stripes with several standout releases on 20:20 Vision in the late 2000s, it was in 2010 that the duo launched their own label, Gruuv, welcoming the likes of Bushwacka!, Pawsa and Josh Butler in recent years. US-native Kevin Knapp is a leading figure in the contemporary house sphere, having cemented his standing as a true heavy-hitter with recent productions on Dirtybird and Repopulate Mars. London-based Pearson Sound has established himself as a prolific producer over the years with an array of standout releases on Hessle Audio, including this summer’s Alien Mode, as well as on his own self-titled label.
What a wonderful and joyous collective Nubiyan Twist are. Consummate musicians and songwriters without peers. As we continue to enjoy the seemingly-flawless LP 'Jungle Run' , one and all will feel spoiled to know that, after the huge success of '24-7' and 'Tittle Tattle', the Leeds /London collective drop another great new single. 'Buckle Up' features the rich, soulful vocals of Nick Richards with UK jazz hero Soweto Kinch adding a killer sax solo and rap. The lyrics hone in on facing life's challenges, staying strong and finding "the door to peace", a perfect mantra for 2020...
The single is taken from the forthcoming album, 'Freedom Fables', out on Strut on 5th February.
The 28-year old trumpet player studied Jazz at Guildhall, where he developed his undeniable skills on the instrument and sensibility for songwriting. A versatile artist he quickly went onto the session musician circuit, playing for high profile artists such as Stormzy and Jordan Rakei. Following on from a successful year of releases with support from the likes of 6 music, Jazz FM and Worldwide FM, as well over 500k streams to date, Jackson Mathod is delighted to present the first single from his upcoming album planned for April 2021.
‘Dumb People' (featuring David Mrakpor & Harry Pope) with the flip side 'Cretins' is a two-tracker reflecting on how the global pandemic we are all experiencing can sometimes reveal the most stupid side of the human race-from toilet paper to insane conspiracy theories. Featuring multi-instrumentalist virtuoso David Mrakpor (Blue Lab Beats) on both piano and Bass and the heavy pocket from Harry Pope on the drums. 'About 'Cretins', Jackson says "It all started with the bass line. Quite often in my music I get drawn in by a great bass line and I'd like to think that this is one of them!"
A performer at heart, he started his own function band in parallel, with the role of frontman to fulfil his long love for singing. “I’m really trying to just follow where my subconscious is taking me musically. I guess this explains why there's so much diversity in my music". During lockdown, he performed mini-concerts outside his flat, where people would come and sit down on their own chairs with a beer or glass of wine from home or the pub opposite !
London born, Berlin based Cody Currie comes through with his first solo EP on Toy Tonics.
Moves EP is the first of a couple of EPs Cody will produce on his musical journey with the German label crew. Cody is a special talent.
People who follow the new UK Dance-Jazz scene know him well. He studied music in London, before jumping into releasing music on labels like Razor n Tape & Classic Music Company that made him instantly one of the key names to follow among the new generation of producers that connect jazz and soul with house, broken beats and futuristic elements.
Cody moved to Berlin 2 years ago and instantly connected with the young growing Jazz oriented scene over there. He met US Jazz pianist Joel Holmes, 4 times Grammy nominated former keyboarder of the legendary Roy Hargrove band and Carl Craig's Synthesizer Ensemble. Together they released two EPs on Toy Tonics last year that created a certain buzz. After that release Toy Tonics and Cody decided to go on together. And this is where MOVES EP was born.
Four moody broken beat tracks (+ a House version of Moves). The lead song Moves features Rinse FM radio host Eliza Rose on vocals, as well as other appearances from London-born Jazz talents Andreas Kon & Ally McMahon.
On this EP, Cody moves into an atmospheric Garage/Broken Beat territory as an ode to his London roots. Rich chords, catchy hooks and hard hitting rhythms. Out on February 12th, 2021.
‘The Siren’ is a fresh breath of jazz-pop songs from Estonian singer, Susanna Aleksandra. Elegant songs celebrating the strength and charm of women, love’s infinite power to heal and accepting past errors, all infused with Susanna’s naturally warm vocals and inherent positivity. ‘The Siren’ features a wide range of original compositions, a jazz standard, and a Finnish folk song.
Music has the power to heal. ‘The Love Song’ is a reminder of the positive impact that love has. With lyrics and music by Susanna Aleksandra, arranged by Joonas Haavisto, ‘The Love Song’ is a pop-jazz crossover tune about accepting true love and becoming ready to fully invest ourselves in a relationship and was a finalist in the Finnish songwriting competition, Unelmastudio. Susanna Aleksandra was born in Estonia and travelled extensively spending a lot of time working and studying in Paris and LA before settling in Finland where she has found her new jazz home, collaborating and sharing the stage with some of the most revered Finnish jazz musicians top jazz musicians. These include Holger Marjamaa (Chris Botti’s pianist); trumpeter Jukka Eskola, guitarist Teemu Viinikainen, pianist Riitta Paakki and drummer Jussi Lehtonen.
As Susanna says, “I feel that music has been the driving force of my personal development. It has taught me self-acceptance, kindness, and the “okay-ness” of taking chances and making mistakes. Singing, composing, and writing lyrics help me process and deal with the world.”
Musically ‘The Siren’ is a smooth blend from the award-winning Steinway Artist, Joonas Haavisto on piano and synthesiser, Joonas Tuuri on double bass and Ville Pynssi on drums. Clean and inspired, ‘The Siren’ was co-produced by Susanna, Joonas Haavisto and one of Finland’s leading percussionists, Abdissa “Mamba” Assefa who also features on track #5 ‘Summer Came Early’. Susanna Aleksandra has really arrived as a singer/songwriter on ‘The Siren’ it melds superb production with lyrical depth. Susanna released her debut album ‘Miracles’ in 2015. Her second album ‘Souls of the Night’ (Blue Gleam) was released in Japan in March 2020. The international version of ‘Souls of the Night’ is being released as ‘The Siren’ in January 2021 through Eclipse Music on 29 January, 2021 through Eclipse Music.
Dulwich based (Ghanaian and Antiguan heritage) Aaron Taylor wanted to be a Pharrell type behind the scenes guy. But the brilliant songs he was writing kept on stacking up and soon there were more than he knew what to do with-so he thought he might as well just sing them himself and get them out there. Almost instantly one of Taylor’s solo tracks – the addictive neo-soul bop ‘Lesson Learnt’ – was picked up by Apple and used globally in one of their adverts, giving him the confidence to properly go it alone.
Since then he’s developed a thrillingly diverse, dedicated fanbase. With 10.2 million Spotify streams last year and a sold-out pre-lockdown headline show at Camden’s Jazz Cafe,
Aaron Taylor has released his breath-taking debut album, ‘Icarus’ under lockdown. A sumptuous antidote to the age of isolation, it has its roots in the golden age of 1970s soul but brings with it a vibrant new age energy with influences from Tyler The Creator to Stevie. Taylor has been obsessed with the ancient Greek myth that gives the album its name. The son of the craftsman Daedalus – builder of the Labyrinth – Icarus was given a pair of wax and feather wings by his father in order to escape imprisonment in a tower. But he ended up drowning in the sea when the sun melted them and he fell from the sky. “I always felt like Icarus got a bad rap,” explains Taylor. “He just wanted to be free.”
The album features Lalah Hathaway (Aaron is a huge fan of her Dad) and cult Dutch singer on Stones Throw, Benny Sings. Strings come courtesy of the acclaimed Matt Jones Orchestra (PJ Morton, Yebba, John Legend). Psych- jazz to gritty underground soul combine on this very fine debut that now gets the proper push it deserves.
Following on from the international success of 2018’s album Siltane, Haitian singer-songwriter Moonlight Benjamin returns with her new single Nap Chape. In the song Moonlight Benjamin is once again denouncing the oppressive situation the Haitian people find themselves in, calling out the ruling classes but also the more troubled areas of society, questioning their state of inaction and misunderstanding.
Musically the new single continues where she left off, with her thunderous and rebellious vocals being underpinned by Matthis Pascaud’s blues driven, rock sensibilities. Whereas the previous record came together quickly in the studio, this new album was born out of playing together night after night, sharing music during the long journeys on the tour bus and bonding over a mutual love of Arctic Monkeys and the Black Keys.
Brought up in an orphanage in West Haiti, Moonlight Benjamin moved to France in 2002, releasing three studio albums of varying styles before meeting with Pascaud and recording her album Siltane. The enthralling mix of heavy, guitar-laden blues, owing much to the likes of Black Keys and Alabama Shakes, and Moonlight Benjamin’s powerful vocals immediately caught the ears on a new international audience. In the UK the Guardian enthused that the album sounded “thrilling, thoughtful and, at times, downright spooky” even proclaiming her to be the “Caribbean Patti Smith”. She also gained support from the likes of Cerys Matthews, Iggy Pop, Gideon Coe and Tom Robinson at BBC Radio 6 Music, while in the US Darek Mazzone of KEXP praised her “new and explosive style!”
The album Simido comes out in the UK on the 21st February on Ma Casa.