Review and Interview with Shay D on her new track “Set Her Free”

 

“Set Her Free” is one of the latest releases from north London rapper Shay D’s upcoming debut album “A Figure of Speech” out on February 12th. If you are looking for light hearted, immediately forgettable, hollow sounding lyrics, you may want to stop reading here as Shay D has too many things that need saying.  This particular track tackles the issues surrounding domestic abuse faced by many women on a daily basis. Powerful, hard hitting, and well written lyrics marry themselves perfectly to Oliver Whitehouse’s equally well thought out video to really drive the point home.

The lyrics throughout the track create a mixed sense of apprehension, angst, fear and helplessness punctuated with moments of defiance, strength and intelligent – if not scathing – social commentary on the normalization of the objectification of women in popular culture: “How can a boy be remorseful when there’s toys under the tree like Grand Theft Auto, violence to women as if normal, so disillusioned by the images in porno”. Domestic violence is a very sensitive issue to tackle at the best of time, let alone through a song, yet somehow Shay D manages to capture the desperation and hopelessness of victims, whilst also highlighting the inner strength that these women have. The opening verse is particularly poignant in this track as it recreates brilliantly the building of a nauseating atmosphere “Head feels weak, belly’s hurting again, car dead quiet till they drop off a friend, tension filling up her heart with dread, won’t dare move an inch, won’t turn her head”.

Ultimately, this track is a powerful account of the effects abusive relationships have on both a psychological level through the lyrics, and the physical highlighted in the video. I have found writing about this extremely challenging. What started off as a straight forward review very quickly turned into more than that. I’m finding that as someone who has been lucky to grow up in a comfortable, stable environment, I’m horribly under qualified to do this subject justice. At times it has made me feel uncomfortable, it has challenged me, and made me feel ill equipped and rather uninformed to discuss an unfortunately very real truth for thousands of women. Most importantly the track has, to a degree, helped me understand the effects these issues have, and made me want to find out more and see what can be done to help prevent this from continuing.

Before I go on too long on a self-important, essay style monologue – a real danger at this point – it’s probably just best if I let Shay D talk about her track. She was kind enough to answer some questions with refreshingly frank, honest and considered responses. Just before I do though, should you or someone you know be experiencing domestic abuse and need help, or perhaps you want to find out what you could possibly do to help, please start by visiting Sisters Uncut: https://sistersuncut.wordpress.com/

Hi Shay D! Thanks for agreeing to speak to me and answer some questions! First off, let’s introduce you to those who may not yet know: obviously you are a rapper, but you also work with poetry and the spoken word and work as a presenter on Itch FM. On top of this, you run rap and lyric writing workshops as well as rap and poetry workshops for young people…where do you find the time to do all of this AND record an album?!

 

I ask myself the same question every day lol. Its 3am and I am writing this interview for you, so I guess it’s for the love and time management. I am lucky enough to be able to work for myself and be an artist and try and make a living from Hip Hop so I can’t complain. I wasn’t the desk job type of human so I am responsible for my time now. I don’t get enough sleep though for sure! I did fly out to Cyprus for 10 days in summer to finish writing the album, and I did.

 

It seems very obvious to me that you are not just a rapper, but a true hip-hop disciple. The importance of community spirit is apparent in your tracks, as is the importance of speaking out for people who may not be able to, and also, the element of the passing of knowledge on to others. Do you feel that this passing of knowledge (one of the founding five pillars of hip-hop) is one that seems to have been forgotten by now? If so, why do you think that is?

 

I think a lot of people who truly love hip hop love to learn, debate, discuss and have an open dialogue. Rappers speak, they voice opinions so that is sharing knowledge. It’s like a natural part of Hip Hop. I don’t think it’s been forgotten about but I feel we are distracted as a generation now and learning becomes the harder and longer process. With shorter attention spans and a disposable lifestyle that the media encourages us to have, knowledge can seem a bit I guess, boring. But it’s not and when young people are exposed to it and given the outlet it thrives. I am always learning, everyone is. No one knows it all! 

 

 

If you could work with any artists – alive or dead – who would you like to work with in terms of A) musical style B) substance of lyrics? 

 

Musical style would be someone like Erykah Badu, Mos Def or Jhene Aiko. I just love that easy listening mellow vibe, and lyrics wise wow, Cyhi The Prince, Dead Prez, Lauryn Hill! So many to pick man.

 

Now moving on to your latest release, let me say how big a fan of Set Her Free I am. It’s a powerful, hard hitting track that obviously deals with the issues surrounding domestic, physical and psychological abuse. What was the inspiration behind this?

 

I was a child that went through a very aggressive divorce from my parents. I saw a lot of fighting and arguments within my family unit and this stayed with me for a long time, I personally have a very short temper myself. I don’t want to get into it but it’s a story I feel a lot of people can relate to even in relationships. Sometimes you can be with someone and you feel you have the strongest bond of love but they may be short tempered and outburst, and some women end up justifying it and it becomes the norm, until you really get out of a situation you won’t realise it’s happening. A lot of females I know have gone through emotional traumas too. It just feels like a story we need to speak about and especially in Hip Hop where women are ALWAYS the basis of fun for the man, or the object of a man’s video, party, sexual pleasure, strippers, throwing alchohol on them, embarrassing them, cursing them, these are ok in Hip Hop but no one wants to talk about the women who suffer from these “normalities”? It needs to be an open dialogue.

 

Something that I found unusual with your videos – and particularly with Set Her Free – is that whilst the lyrics can clearly stand alone by themselves and still convey the message clearly, the video really brought a whole extra dimension to the lyrics. I know that Oliver Whitehouse directed the video, how did you two end up working together? How did you find the process of making this particular video? How much input did you have with this?

 

I met Oliver Whitehouse when Sektion Red did a documentary called Artemis on female rappers. It’s such a great docu-film and covers issues and background. We didn’t really speak after that and my partner Kingpin, who is also a rapper said to me at home one night, that he found a really great film director and had reached out to him and played me a video. When I saw his name I was like “ahh thats the same director who did Artemis”. We reached out and have been working with him since. Oliver has a very good eye for shots and is such a skilled editor. I had ideas for my videos and I am quite particular and luckily he was open to taking my ideas in but running with it his way to make it happen and it works out for the best. With Set Her Free I wanted to tell the story without the cliche watching a man and woman fighting and getting beaten up, I wanted no violence. I just wanted the fear, the tension, the discomfort and Oliver’s idea to do it from a perspective was so great it gave it an intimacy. So the camera was strapped to my head as I had the actor Mark really go in, yell at me and push me about, it was all really eerie, all of us on set were very serious. I wanted to rap and as I told the story I wanted the bruises and cuts to appear gradually as it would do if someone was in a long abusive relationship. Luckily the universe was in sync and I met Keziah [Waudby] who had started doing Special FX, I told her what the song was about and she totally was up for it. We filmed that in a hour, with Keziah making my face look more and more hurt with make up. It was really deep as every time I looked in the mirror it felt real. Also I am someone who is very giggly in front of a camera but that day I was just in the zone. I rapped everything 5/6 times and it felt like a chant. I wanted the chorus to be empowering, a chant for women to use as a tool.

 

Throughout the video, as you mentioned, your make-up progressively changes until you are battered and bruised all over at the end. This really brings to life the physical aspects of abuse whilst the lyrics drill home the psychological damage done from the first to last bars. One particular moment in the video caught my eye, and that is a moment (@1:40) where a group of women are protesting and one passes the microphone to another whilst we can hear you repeat “Drop the knowledge on them”, at which point the woman lifts the mic up to speak and you go in to the next verse. As an artists and a presenter with a platform to reach people, do you feel you have a duty to broach difficult subjects and make otherwise uncomfortable conversations happen?

 

Good question. The answer is yes. I feel when you are in a position of influence, or to be heard or have any sort of following you have a responsibility and what you choose to do with that is your nature. I have always been someone who stands up for the weaker person, helps a victim, defends someone being bullied, says something uncomfortable other people feel anxious to say, its just in my nature so as an artist I can only embody that. If I have a few minutes of everyone’s time and they are going to hear me, what am i going to choose to say, what am I about. I will need to make the most of that time. This is something i encourage the young people in my workshops to be mindful about. I mean, I’m not perfect, and always evolving but I want to try and do something progressive with my art. 

 

In a world where lots of lyrics, music videos, and even computer games still enforce a submissive female stereotype, what is the best way for the average person to help fight against this?

 

I personally don’t want to watch or share or be part of something that is derogatory, but especially that enforces a problem we already have. I won’t let my little sister listen or watch certain videos in my presence. I will share and push movements to my students or my peers that I feel challenge them or inspire them. I don’t want women to feel like they have to resort to selling their bodies through magazine covers for a man’s pleasure, or submit to a man in a position of power for them to get ahead. Even in hip hop, female rappers are intimidated and pressured by male producers via sexual favours. In my opinion, the more we speak about something, and having open conversations we are calling out the problems not encouraging it to be okay, it’s not okay.

 

Once again, thank you to Shay D for taking the time to talk to us! “A Figure of Speech” is out on Feb 12th. Pre-orders are available now on itunes and www.shayd.bandcamp.com. If you fancy coming along to her album launch party, it will be on 17th of March at Birthdays in Dalston, and features some wicked guest appearances including Maverick & Malachi, Kingpin and many more! For more info about this visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1224839817532553/

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Summer summer summer tiiiiime!

So it would appear that the Great British Summer has arrived in earnest! One day at the beach and the number of people looking like cooked prawns wandering about with overhanging bellies and ice creams in tow has jumped up to dizzying new levels. Glastonbury and Wimbledon have been and gone and hay fever sufferers have cursed at the cruel beauty of the flora in full bloom. With this in mind, everyone is wondering what the big summer hits are going to be?! Daft Punk‘s ‘Get Lucky’ has to be a pre/after party favourite already but who else is out there? Well, let’s have a look shall we?

For me, it starts with Audioporn Records’ Xilent release ‘Boss Wave’. At least, the Dodge and Fuski remix. A full on party banger that mixes it’s stuff up like John Prescott in any given interview, it is sure to have elements that caters for all tastes. Big bass, jump up tempo, funky electro sounds, a nice big build up to the drop, and a general happy go lucky feel to it shoots it up to my top summer rankings! I can imagine myself at a boat party in ‘Beefa with the sun blazzing down and ice cold beers on tap, jumping up and down like a crazed chemical-cocktail- consuming chimp, forgetting everything and everyone around me. But enough with the ape related puns and on to the music. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is one hell of a party tune!

Want to know more about Audioporn and their releases? Take a butcher’s at their site! They’ve got a hell of a lot of talented producers in there for you to enjoy as well. http://www.audiopornrecords.com/

Alternatively check out Dodge and Fuski on https://soundcloud.com/dodgeandfuski or https://www.facebook.com/dodgeandfuski  and grab yourself a free download…what’s not to like?!

Now we move swiftly and seamlessly on to Danny Byrd and his latest LP ‘Golden Ticket’. What an absolute all-star cast of collaborations this little wonder is! With the help of masters of the rave such as Jaguar Skills, Brookes Brothers, Serocee and Roni Size to name but a few, Byrd does what Byrd does best. With a broad approach to his music as ever, there is something for everyone in this album- from jump up to garage and house- and as always a tip of the hat to those that came before, whatever you need to get your juices flowing you are bound to find here. Stand out tracks for me include ‘Touchline’ ft bad-man Serocee and the summer-tune ‘Bad Monday’ which is guaranteed to make any day of the week better! So here for your very own ears are ‘Touchline’ and ‘Bad Monday’. I sure do hope you enjoy

For more Danny Byrd goodness and general Hospital Records related paraphernalia visit https://www.hospitalrecords.com/ I would highly recommend following them on Youtube as well on the Hospital channel for all their latest videos and releases http://www.youtube.com/user/HospitalRecords

Keeping with the theme of summer goodness, ‘Jack’ by Breach has been pumping through the airwaves a lot recently! A hot and steamy, bass laced ‘simple’ tune is perfect for those summer parties where everyone has had one too many and thinks they can dance like a Pharrell and Usher hybrid for men and  Shakira-Beyonce cross over for the ladies…makes for good viewing! Having said that, the video to this song has left me somewhat confused. Is the Chewbacca look in this summer?! If so then some of us are the most stylish people around and don’t even have to spend a penny on fake hair…loving the Sasquatch look!

Lastly for this edition of the blog, I rediscovered an old gem from 2009. A powerful mix that is sure to make you dance all night long and have on repeat in the car, it is impossible to not like this. Lo and behold…it’s Example?! The Credit Munch Redux – mixed by DJ Wire includes samples from Chase and Status, Justice, Simian, Jack Beats, Underworld, Prodigy…and so the list goes on and on! The best part? DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE THING FOR FREE FROM SOUNDCLOUD!

http://snd.sc/XTnmqD

That’s it for this rendition of the blog! Now fire up the BBQ, sit by the pool, open up some cold brews to wash the sun down with and enjoy the sounds of summer! Just make sure you invite me over!

Just as an aside, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for sticking with the blog, particularly considering the infrequent nature with which I post up here. Fingers crossed I will very soon have more time for the blog and will be able to pay back your loyalty with regular updates, maybe a couple of videos and powerful tunes as always!

So, for this particular episode: that’s Waagwan!

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And we’re back.

Now I know that it’s been a looooong looooong time since I wrote anything up in this humpy bumpy, but you will have to excuse me!

To get things kicked off, Mr Bo Saris with his super soulful “She’s on Fire“. A tune that would fit right in to your classic soul collection, sandwiched between Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers and Sam&Dave…illustrious company to be sure! Hailing from London, this cool cat has a striking voice and an ear for a tune. So much so that “She’s on Fire” has been remixed by none other than Calibre, Philly and Jazz and Maya Jane Coles…you know you’ve done something right when that happens! I’ve been sitting on this little number for a fairly long while now and it only seems right to unleash it upon the world once more! I can’t imagine anyone not getting up out of their seats and shacking a tail feather or two to this!

To find out more about Mr Saris or to listen to some of the remixes, visit his site http://www.bosaris.com/ or facebook http://www.facebook.com/BoSaris

Now, again, I realise that this has been out for a fairly long time (August I believe it was first released) but it has become a staple favourite of mine. Arlissa vs NasHard to Love Somebody” has been played in my house more times than I care to remember and was the song that really turned me on to her. With a voice that is reminiscent of a cross between Florence and Lianne La Havas, Arlissa really nails it in this tune. But to truly appreciate her voice, just check out her album “Sticks and Stones” available now now now!

So without further a do, I present to you Arlissa vs Nas Hard to Love Somebody” (Original) and the Zed Bias remix- one of many many remixes!

If you would like to find out more about Arlissa head over to her website http://www.arlissa.com/ or soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/arlissa

If you like what you hear there, you may want to turn yourselves towards Lianne La Havas who I suspect will be right up your street!

http://www.liannelahavas.com/music.htm

And now back to what we do best…a bit of drum and bass :p

Due for release on the 25th of March, Nu:Logic (Nu:Tone and Logistics hybrid) on their album entitled “What I’ve Always Waited For” have released a few tracks for us to delight in. This includes the following tune: Morning Light. Accompanied by a great video that really reflects the tone of the tracks, Nu:Logic have been “Working with director Nez Savaşkan, we wanted to create visual accompaniments for each of Nu:Logic‘s tunes which captured the vibe and feeling of each track. This resulted in a series of fourteen simple vignettes not conforming to the standard conventions you might expect from a promo video”. Good job well done I say! I’ll let you judge for yourselves though using “Morning Light” as an example. A smooth, liquid, almost old school style of drum and bass, this is perfect listening when you just want to chill, or on the road. Probably some of my favourite drum and bass to have been released recently! Here for your pleasure only- Morning Light.

If you want to see the rest of the series of videos, along with the lastest releases from Hospital, head over to the Hospital Records youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/HospitalRecords or visit the site https://www.hospitalrecords.com/artists/

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From Canada with…feeling.

So in the now last-but-one post, I waxed lyrical about Exist Strategy and his latest release ‘Sunrise’. Finally, after having followed his progress for months (if not over a year by now), finally talked to the guy! So, for our second interview of the day, a man who should now need very little introduction: Exist Strategy!

For those who don’t know you: who is Exist Strategy? And where in the world are you from?

My name is Anthony, I’m a Montrealer. I’m turning 20 this fall. I like long walks on the beach, slenderman and cats.

What inspired the name?
It’s a play on words with exit strategy. Music is my strategy to exist.
If you could, how would you describe your music?  

To the layman, I would describe most of my work as downtempo electronic, although I’ve produced drum and bass once and helped along with glitch hop. I’m looking into working with future garage, tribal, post-ambient, post-dubstep, whatever I can get my hands on. I like to experiment although it hasn’t shown much in my previous works.

Who in the world do you listen to and are inspired by?

I listen to Burial, Stumbleine, Sorrow, Phaeleh, Olafur Arnalds, Swarms, Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, Amon Tobin, Carbon Based Lifeforms, CoMa, Sipp, Noisia, Sigur Ros, Kryptic Minds, Flying Lotus, Synkro, Rustie, Tycho…. that’s at the top of my head. I get most my inspiration from a combination of everything. I find it’s best to just have an hour of improvising on the piano to get a song started up.

Who would you love to work with if it could be anyone in the world?

I dream every day of working with Burial or Amon Tobin. A vocalist I’d love to have with me is Priscilla Ahn. But realistically, I might have a chance with a certain garage artist, if I can impress him enough.

Your latest track Sunrise, as you can clearly see from the blog review, struck a chord with me as well as everyone I played it to. What was the inspiration behind it?

This summer I’ve been going to bed at such late hours that they’ve become early hours. Anyone who stays up until 4-5am knows the beautiful sound of the first bird that breaks the silence of the night. One day I decided to record that moment and create a synthetically simulated aural sunrise that transitions into the recording. Basically I made it for myself because I associate good emotions with sunrises/sunsets.

What’s next for Exist Strategy?
Hookers n blow with Bijou. Less importantly I’m thinking of making a dark EP for the early winter season, we’ll see how university treats me.
What do you use to produce your tracks with?

I’ve always produced with FL Studio 8 although I have now learned how to use Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton and some others.

Who are your favourite artists out there?
 My favorite artists are the ones I’ve made friends with honestly. CoMa, Bijou and Koda have been doing really well recently. I love following them and being inspired by them. I hope to hear more from Canoo and ‘shout outs’ to Morbin.
5 albums or artists that have changed your life and made you who you are?

Not all of them artists but people. Special thanks time:

-My friend ‘n00b’ (his nickname) was the kind gentleman to introduce me to FL Studio 4 years ago. I appreciate his ongoing support.
-17tumba introduced me to the chillout genres 
-Morbin was the first guy to tell me to make an album after hearing the WIP for horizon aura.
-Canoo has been a good friend, helping me with everything imaginable from HD videos, to music, to computer parts.
-William Bevan will always be my idol.

What’s the toughest thing about trying to break through as an artist?

The toughest part is having to accept that your close friends or family may not like your music.
You have to ignore them and do what you think is best for your musical growth. Honestly, don’t try to break through as an artist unless you’re sure you’re making music that is of good quality. Spend a good year (+) practicing how it’s done. Start with presets and work your way out of them. Exist Strategy has been preset free since the first track. Also, it’s the internet age, if you make good music, you won’t have to market. I’m slowing down on my marketing and I hope that if I improve my works, they’ll be well enough heard.note: I highly suggest for beginners to post their works on subreddits.

Just a couple of tracks for those of you who still need an introduction to the music this man creates!
So there you go guys. A man on a mission, and I genuinely believe that he has what it takes to see it though. The talent is there for all to see as far as I’m concerned! Hopefully, in years to come we’ll be able to say ‘I was there when this all started’….who knows!
For more information on Exist Strategy and to listen to some more of his tunes, as well as to be able to download a bunch for free (payment is optional – and I can’t stress enough how much of a difference even a fiver can make) visit :
Remember to support the artists!
For the second time tonight,
that’s Waagwan.
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Sometimes, the answer is closer to home…

In this endless search for new music, I have scoured artists from all over the globe. From London to Chicago, Tokyo to Buenos Aires, Christchurch to Amsterdam… only to find that some stuff was literally under my nose the whole time! Introducing: Bassment Playa. Electro and House DJ extraordinaire! I recently went on holiday with some friends and right before leaving got sent a mix submitted for review. What a mix! During the 19hr drive down to the south of France, I listened to this over and over again! Everyone in the car was dancing, singing along to each song as it came on with people asking me “who did this mix?!” I’m not going to lie, I was quite proud when I could turn around and tell them: “a very good friend of mine”. I have known Bassment Playa for a few years now and had always known that in a past life he had been a DJ but was also aware that he had not done anything for a while. After listening to me drone on and on about all the music I had found for the blog, he sent me the first mix that – as far as I’m aware- he had made for years. He told me it was an electro-house mix and to be completely honest, I was a little skeptical of the result – having just jumped back on the horse after such a long absence and mixing two genres that, in principal, are not top of my list to listen to, I was not expecting great things. How wrong I was. From the first beat to the last, I was hooked. It became my anthem of the holiday and soon that of all the others as well as we chilled in the bar in the cellar of the house we were staying in. This was raved to, smoked to, drunk to and many other things that I can’t mention here! Please don’t think that I’m just posting this up as a favour for a mate. I take this blog seriously and hope that one day it will offer me a chance of changing my career so am not tempted to ‘help a mate out’ for the hell of it. Anyway. I caught up with him straight after the holiday and told him I thought it was great and he needs to produce more! So now, for your ears only, he has made three mixes for you all to enjoy as well as let me interview him so you can get to know this man a bit better. Here it goes…

So for those who don’t know of you, tell us about yourself? Who is Bassmentplaya?

I’m just a regular guy with a love for basey, electro music. I used to DJ many a year a go but growing up kind of got in the way.

What kind of music are you diggin at the moment?

As I said right now dirty electro base is what’s moving me a lot right now, But I’ve always got time for trance and house music. Always love an unexpected remix as well like gold 2012 which I dropped in one of my sets currently online.

Which DJs out there at the minute inspire you?

I will always remember being 24 in kavos and having a belter listening to Eddie Halliwell, and always wanted to be that guy controlling the mood of the crowd. These days I’m listening to a more underground set of DJs, it’s where I get most of my tracks from.

 Having DJ’d before and taken a long hiatus, what made you get back in to it?

It’s always been in the background of my life, but recently life have given me back some time to really get back into it. It does help with the immense of quality tunes floating about right now so you’ve always got a banger lined up.

 If you could work with anyone or go see anyone perform live, who and why?

I’ve seen Judge Jules tear a dance floor apart many times. I guess to work with and see you could say legends like Tiesto but there’s so many up and coming guys out there I’m pretty sure you could create a night to remember with any of them… and yes I mean on the dance floor and not the magic sack!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever experienced whilst laying out a set?

Maybe not weird but embarrassing, I was DJing on a radio station with a live camera feed when the track I was playing just crashed completely! I had finished my set and was packing up my stuff so I had nothing to cover up the cock up! The chat rooms and blogs were going mad and all I could do was face the camera and give a bow!

Jim’ll fix it: where do you want to DJ?

Ibiza! Anywhere in Ibiza!  It’s just the ultimate party island. To be fair I’m up for DJing anywhere where people will make an atmosphere!

What’s your favourite thing about being behind the decks?

Just the reaction you get when you lay down a really base heavy track, it’s a great rush to know people are enjoying themself to the stuff you’re doing. That and it’s the only job you can do even after a few too many!

Would you ever consider producing your own music?

When I was 14 or so me and a friend used to produce some really dodgy house tracks using samples from old 90s music. We made a great summer anthem from the instrumental of ain’t nobody from ll cool j, and an even better one about the fine art of “bonking”?!?!? Recently just haven’t had to time to get back into it, but never say never!

Now have a listen for yourselves. Just remember: never grow up!

If you liked what you heard, I suggest you head over to his Facebook page and give him a ‘like’! As already mentioned, he’s made three belter sets that are all available for free download… that’s over and hour and half of music! I hope you guys get as excited and in the mood for a rave when you hear this as I did!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an electro/house humble pie I need to go and eat…

That’s Waagwan today!

http://www.facebook.com/BassmentPlaya?ref=ts

http://soundcloud.com/bamtastic

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A rare moment.

Everyone once in a while, you find a song, or an album that makes you stop in your tracks, drop everything you’re doing and just listen. It doesn’t happen very often, once every few years in my experience, but when it does – wow. What a feeling! That moment when those enchanted notes hit your ears and just make you fall apart. I was very fortunate to have one such moment a couple of days ago. Having just got back from my holiday, I immediately came online to find new tunes to put up on this blog. The house was empty, I had the place to myself, beer in hand…perfect hunting conditions. After coming across a few fairly good tracks, I went to check up on some old favourite artists of mine. One had just posted a new tune, apologising for using the same backdrop to his Youtube video. He really needn’t had bothered. As the tune started, I immediately sensed myself relaxing -even though my shoulders were boiling from the sunburn I had managed to punish myself with earlier in the day. Then as the music took over the room, the house, I slipped into what can only be described as a trance like state.

Selfish, introvert, narcissistic, egotistic, self indulgent. These words all carry negative connotations.  However, I have to be honest with you, this track turned me into all those things. Upon the second listening of it, I switched my monitor off, put my phone on silent, turned down the lights and let my mind race with the music. It was a strange, releasing, liberating feeling. Without having much say about it, and I’m very sorry about the cliches I’m aware I’m using, the music took over me completely. It made me think about things that had happened in my past, holidays I had taken, time spent with family, friends, all happy memories and projected them on to a wall in my mind. Some of the memories evoked I had not thought of for I don’t know how many years. It was, at the risk of sounding like an X-Factor panelist, a very rare, special moment when I genuinely connected with this music.

In terms of what I consider to be my musical Odyssey, moments like these are what make it special. You may – as I do- find pleasure in films, or books or art, and rightly so these may show you things you’ve never seen, take you away to far away lands, but generally I find these to have an agenda, and be signposted. Music like this can make you feel things that can barely be put into rational thoughts, let alone words. It reminds you of moments long gone that you had almost forgotten about that the artists has no idea you have experienced. As I said it is  a rare moment.

So now please. Turn off your phones. Close the doors. Switch the monitor on your P.C off. Stop reading this. Get out your best pair of headphones. Turn on your best sound system. Just listen. Don’t think. Take nine minutes of the day and make them yours. Only yours.

Selfish, introvert, narcissistic, egotistic, self indulgent. Most importantly, relish the feeling.

See? Much better now right? I apologise for the slightly disjointed way I’ve written in today but as I said, trying to convey the emotions brought up by this song, whilst containing the excitement of finding it and trying not to sounds like a complete loony was quite hard! I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this track as much as I did, and that it made you feel all the things that I did and that you tell anyone and everyone you know about it.

I realise I keep saying this, but when I came across this, it truly was a rare moment.

Exist Strategy ‘Sunrise’

http://www.facebook.com/ExistStrategy?ref=ts

http://soundcloud.com/exist-strategy/sunrise

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Just a little time filler for you all to enjoy!

Ahoy! How are we all doing today? Enjoying this fiiiine British summer? I hope so! Well here’s a little pick me up for you guys to get you through these rainy days. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered what is fast becoming one of my favourite Youtube channels and Tweeters called “the Giant Angry Robot”. Posting an impressive amount of tunes from a wide and varied spectrum of genres, not only does he put up some wicked tracks, he also finds loads of free (and completely legitimate AND LEGAL) downloads for all of us to enjoy! Here are a few such numbers:

Ramses B ft. Holly Drummond with the track Dreaming. A melodious, smooth as you like, liquid Drum and Bass cheeky little number that should be part of anyone’s library and playlists! I hope you enjoy the tune and make sure you check out the soundcloud and facebook pages of this rather well established producer!

http://www.facebook.com/RamesesB.official

http://youtube.com/RamesesB

Sick little tune I think we can all agree! Remember to share, like and spread the love for this man!

Another ‘yoink’ from the Robot is Bioblitz‘s free downloads, again available by liking his facebook page or simply visiting his soundcloud page. A high octane fueled, electro-beat jacked up producer hailing from the other side of the channel from here, Bioblitz is making waves all over the scene, racking up an impressive number of fans from producers, to rappers, and back again from all over the world! A clear link of inspiration from the likes of Daft Punk and Justice is all so apparent and should leave you wanting more, running out the door to find your nearest and dearest club. Torment the DJ until he plays at least one of these tracks and watch the crowd go OFFFFFFFFFFFFF!

I’ve had all these tunes blaring from my car to and from work, and whilst it does nothing to while away the Monday blues, it does make you look ahead to the next time you can go out and let loose!

Again, more information and tracks by this producer available at:

http://soundcloud.com/bioblitz

http://www.facebook.com/bioblitz1

Now then, for those of you who have not heard of him, Dilemn is a French producer with a slight twist. Not content to stick to one particular genre, he sees himself more as a curator of dance music of the last decade. The man from Toulouse has released a new track via Audioporn Records, and it is one not to be missed! Displaying his full flex of influences, I honestly believe he has nailed this one! But I’ll let you guys have a turn now. Enjoy!

http://www.facebook.com/dil3mn

Finally, a tune that will almost make you think it’s summer (sorry to go on about it but what is going on with the weather?! I blame all these wonky basslines) courtesy of Serocee!  Bad man MC Serocee has been hard at work laying a track that will most likely make you ‘shake ya booty down to da floor’ -as is the parlance unless I’m greatly mistaken… I first discovered Serocee on Toddla T’s ‘Skanky Skanky’ album and havent looked back since!

I got an e-mail from Jambrum Records about this track recently asking me to say which if three versions I prefered so I’m not gonna, lie, I feel quite smug about myself haha!

http://www.serocee.com/

Anyway, that’s your lot for the moment, but be aware! I have more interviews coming up soon if everything goes to plan. One with Placid, and the other with Prolix both releasing tunes via Playaz! Can’t wait to find out what they’ve got to say!

That’s Waagwan fam! Hope you like the blog and please remember to share and comment! It makes a big difference for me :-p

Tweet me @sebhodgkiss

http://www.youtube.com/user/theGiantAngryRobot?feature=g-all-c Great channel, have a look!

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