Album Review: Muse – Astha Tamang-Maskey

ASTHA TAMANG-MASKEY‘s latest album, ‘Muse’ is where airy pop sensibilities, that’s very fitting for the mainstream, is met with underground urban sounds which eventually seeps through the eight-track collection.

Leading the way is an intense yet feather light soundscapes through intro track ‘Mirror’ which makes way for elements of laid-back urban vibes, first appearing in ‘Ride’ where guest rapper, Manny Rite drops an easy-going flow that melts right into the infamous airy arrangements.

Further along the line, a real gutsy soulful and (at times hip-hop-ish) drive makes its presence well and truly known through ‘Muse’ and ‘Jealous’ with the latter track incorporating loops of whistles, making the production uniquely Astha.

Having listened to ‘Muse’ and ‘Jealous’ last year, this album carries on theme of eloquently merging almost stripped pop backdrops and the gritty sound of the underground.

Check it out below…

Must Listens: Gotta Go, Muse, Jealous

Album Review: Insight – Nebr, The Tiger

NEBR, THE TIGER‘s debut album, ‘Insight’ delves into the mind of the Detroit emcee’s random thoughts – from current affairs, his fate in the rap game to that roller coaster feeling in being love.

Starting off on a smooth note, easing into a rich boom-bap tone, the 13-track set goes off on a whirlwind of tones – from Nebr’s take on R&B afterhours to the sporadic and jarring/distorted bass line and tones often coupled with the use of slow motioned techniques. To add to the experimental sound, a nice touch of delicate oriental-esque tones make a brief appearance towards the end of the album. Through the chaotic arrangements, this upriser manages to deliver a very audible flow that’s record-breakingly fast and bang on the money.

‘Insight’ is definitely an album you have to play at least a couple of times to really grasp the concept of the whole collection – once you get, you’ll understand and really appreciate that every element/tones in each track, represents his intricate thoughts. So welcome to the world of Nebr, The Tiger…

Must Listens: R.T.W., These Days, Insight, Different, F.T.L 

Album Review: Almanac – Neru Thee Fourth Fugee

NERU THEE FOURTH FUGEE‘s highly anticipated album, ‘The Almanac’ comes from the back of the Baltimore emcee spending the past four years on the road, opening and performing alongside the likes of The Roots, IDK and Princess Nokia, and projects ‘The Reincarnation’ and ‘Enlightenment Era’ from 2014, both met with critical acclaim.

Produced by the Neru along with her Hippy Trippy Collective, rap rising star Deetranada, Ill Camille and Baltimore newcomer DopeSol –  all who make appearances on the project – ‘The Almanac’ firmly challenges the prospective listener’s musical taste with its transcendental harmonies and trance-like kaleidoscopic melodies, which merges elements of hip hop, neo-soul, funk, ambient and psychedelic music.

‘The Almanac’ is definitely one of those albums you can kick back and relax to after a long day of hard hustle. So when you have the chance sit back, relax and broaden your musical horizons with this set…

Must Listens: 30 Billion (Doesn’t Matter); xRed xWhite xBlue (RWB), C-Spine

Album Review: Flowers Of Doubt – Rain To Dust

A hazy melodic theme, heavily influenced by post punk of the early 1980’s, runs throughout Mert Yıldız’s  – aka RAIN TO DUST –  debut album, ‘Flowers Of Doubt’. Beyond buttery soundscapes, it’s very safe to say that the lyrics are far from melodic….

Every song on the album revolve around how fear brings a need for dependence which consequently breeds more fear, eventually pushing the human being into a shell of personal dogmas and psychological routines that he/she will probably end up dying within.

Introducing the eight-track album is title track, ‘Flowers Of Doubt’, which was inspired by the suicide attack that took place in İstiklal Street, Taksim, İstanbul in March 26th, 2016. The cover photo which was taken in Taksim, in the exact same spot, roughly 2 years after the event.

‘Drinking The Ghosts’, carries the themes of fear and doubt with a story that was inspired by Mika Kaurismaki’s ‘Zombie And The Ghost Train’. It is about the downward spiral of an alcoholic who eventually finds relief from shame in death.

Taking its title from an Osamu Dazai novel, ‘A Farewell With Regret’ is about two people having a one night stand and deciding to hide their true feelings from each other out of fear of emotional rejection. Musically, it references Funk influenced bands of British New Wave with its groovy rhythm, funky electric guitar licks and vocal harmonies.

After several listens, ‘Flowers of Doubt’ becomes a brutally honest production but, at times, I cannot help but feel a agree of empathy to the easily relatable stories featured. It’s worth a trial; have a listen below…

Must Listens: Flowers Of Doubt, Drinking The Ghosts, A Farewell With Regret For When It Hurts.

Album Review: Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint – Griff/Scorcese

GRIFF/SCORCESE‘s latest project, ‘Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint’ serves as a time machine, possessing  mainly hazy boombap tones and, at times, a menacing b-line (mafia -style) inspired by the golden hip-hop era of the late eighties/early nineties.

In parts, the mammoth album leaves the nostalgic feeling  and goes bang up to the date. ‘Slick Talk’ could be described as a union of old school and new school hip-hop, with a real slick flow that (personally) uncannily resembles the likes of Jay-Z.

Towards the end of the set, the guys gets all experimental with the genre, through ‘It’s Personal (Lucky Lefty)’ for example, where the distorted guitar riffs create a sound that’s disorientating yet soothing.

So if you fancy taking a journey with hip-hop through the years, well ‘Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint’ is your perfect guide…let me tell you; this is one bada** set. Check it out below…

Must Listens: Peruvian Encrusted Swordfish, Classie Freddie Blassie, Slick Talk, Flex Kavana