Friday, January 16, 2015

Sound Verite Favorites 2014

Sound Verite's Favorites 2014, here's our favorite records. I also posted at Reviler's Best Local (Minnesota) Records. Here's our Village Voice ballot for Pazz & Jop Poll 2014.

FKA twigs-LP1
Sound Verite review of LP1
UK dancer, choreographer, producer, and artist Tahlia Barnett, who goes by FKA twigs, has made a wonderful, sprawling, arty, and challenging debut with LP1. Produced by FKA twigs as well as producers Arca, whose status was raised by his work with Kanye West and who worked with her first recordings EP1 & EP2. Also includes production by Sampha, Paul Epworth, Dev Hynes, Clams Casino and Emile Haynes. With her first two records EP1 & EP2, Barnett hinted at where she’d go. On her debut long player LP1, she goes the full rainbow of soulful electronics, sampled, looped, and textured in a very personal way. FKA Twigs works where Bjork and Aaliyah references all make sense as well as a shared sense of modern sensibilities with artist like Grimes, James Blake and xx.

Barnett quotes the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt when she sings, “I love another, and thus I hate myself” on the opener “Preface” like an erotic prayer, twirling, creeping and sinking in. She confesses of gaining a special trust that allows for a new space on the sultry on “Lights On”. She sings “when I trust you we can do it with the lights on’, I’ll tell you all my secrets and whisper to the days done”. FKA gets a nice assist from producer Paul Epworth on the stunning “Two Weeks”. The records centerpiece, the cinematic “Two Weeks” soars as Barnett proclaims “I’d put you first, just close your eyes and dream about it/higher than a motherfucker, dreaming of you as my lover”, her conviction and dedication is real. With heavy mental, slow flow she yearns on “Hours” with assists from Dev Hynes and Clams Casino with cries of “I can kiss you for hours”. More confessional as she awaits a lovers commitment on “Pendulum” she wonders “I’ve got time but you’re tired of waiting, you only want me in open spaces/ Come fill your gaps with people, I know no one/ So lonely trying to be yours, when you’re looking for so much more”. From her previous life “Video Girls” , where she recalls how “The camera loves you/Ain’t that enough?” yet …“she’s the girl from the video, you lying you lying”. Questioning insecurity, asking if she’s getting played on “Numbers”. Darkness prevails “why you gonna make me cry” invoking early Bjork with production by Sampha. “Closer” has hints of Cocteau Twins and “Give Up” goes in on 1990′s R&B dialing in Aaliyah. She closes with the slower tweaked out burner “Kicks”, where she expresses how to make herself feel good “I love my touch, know just what to do, so I tell myself it’s cool to get my kicks like you.”

Not afraid to show her vulnerability, with a debut that includes “Lights On”, “Two Weeks”, “Hours” ,“Pendulum” and “Numbers” that make LP1 a contender. Forget what you thought about her enchanting videos, her melodies, sexy futuristic R&B, brings to mind the haunting beauty of Massive Attack, with the sensuality of Bjork, for a new Post-Feminist. A modern, mechanical, jittery, hypnotic ode to getting closer, examining oneself, completely enthralled by contact with another person’s touch. Originally posted at Reviler.

Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

TV On The The Radio -Seeds

Schoolboy Q -Oxymoron

Warpaint -Warpaint

Shabazz Palaces -Lese Majesty
Sound Verite review of Lese Majesty
Ishmael Butler, aka Palaceer Lazaro, along with his sonic partner Tendai Maraire, are Shabazz Palaces. Shabazz Palaces seems to be on a mission to politic, exploring music in a post hip-hop landscape surrounded by the mysteries of the universe. Following up his Sub Pop debut 2011′s masterful Black Up, with Lese Majesty he stays in his lane, that is, that unique space between science, political, cultural traditions, self identity and be-bop, birthed in hip-hop’s weird first alternative division. Keep in mind, Lese Majesty premiered at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, which make perfect sense. From “throwing cocktails at the Führer,” on “Dawn in Luxor” to considering conspiracy theories and celebratory shouts out to various black revolutionaries both musical and political.

Lese Majesty opens with a trio of the strongest tracks: “Dawn In Luxor”, “Forerunner Foray” and “They Come In Gold”. “Forerunner Foray” is soaked in sub bass and glittering drums, with dark ghostly vocals: “We respect Muhammad, peace upon him, connected with pirates …every time I rock it’s a tongue kiss”. “#CAKE” features Catherine Harris-White of THEEsatisfaction. Lines like “Party like a diplomat….life a bitch, but she’ll get you back” on “Motion Sickness” at first feel simple but their double meanings give them a more complex definition.

There’s no climatic moment as the record ends, it’s simply over. This is conceptual, groovy, thoughtful black art. No hooks, chorus or gimmicky catch phrases. This feels similar to Butler’s first group 20 years ago, Digable Planets, who fused hip-hop’s cool with jazz understated swing, opening new territory. In the spirit of Sun-Ra, Charles Mingus and KRS ONE, Shabazz Palaces keeps looking into where else hip-hop should go, without losing tradition, adding on to the culture great sonic explorers with respect to Fab Five Freddy, De La Soul and Divine Styler. Black New Wave, not quite, this is science. 82/100. Originally posted at Reviler.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata

Flying Lotus -You're Dead

Muja Messiah – God Kissed It The Devil Missed
The year’s best out-and-out rapping came courtesy of Muja Messiah, whose God Kissed It, the Devil Missed It is a master class in making indignation sound cool. Produced by Mike the Martyr, God Kissed It posits evil politicians (that covers most of them) and the occult as foreground props but at its core, it’s just about trying to cover rent. (On "Fire Mountain", Muja brags about stunting outside of courthouses, but admits "I ain’t afraid to die/ I just don’t wanna die broke.") God Kissed It also sports a guest verse from Muja’s son, Nazeem, a teenager with an anachronistic third eye. via Pitchfork

Black Fire! New Spirits: Radical And Revolutionary Jazz In The U.S.A 1957-82

Sharon Van Etten -Are We There

D'Angelo -Black Messiah

Sound Verite's -New Space: Moon Rock Vol.1-downlaod

K. Raydio & O.D.- One Drop
Sound Verite review of One Drop
Minneapolis new school soul vocalist K. Raydio and producer/crate digger O. D. collaborate on One Drop, a follow-up to K Raydio's excellent left-field debut Lucid Dreaming Skylines (a collaboration with producer Psymun [TheStand4rd/Spooky Black]). Initially, K. Raydio had a strong reference to Neo-Soul giants Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. Not a bad way to start, but on One Drop, K. Raydio finds her own lane. She is a thoughtful soul stylist who pays respect to the masters without mimicking their sound.

One Drop finds K . Raydio and O.D. exploring various avenues of modern soul. Lyrically K. Raydio is much more complicated than Lucid Dreaming Skylines, with personal narratives of her background and life weaved throughout. Addressing those called “others” on intro “Initial”, before opening with the cautionary tale on the stunning, heavy “One Drop”. This song is a gorgeous look into the life of a black girl growing up and dealing with racial complexities where society has its own views of those with “One Drop”. The heavier, southern funk of “Underdog” could be on par with legends Denise Lasalle or Chaka Khan. Taking on that J Dilla thump is “The Black Wall”, followed by another stunner with the mid-tempo, organic instrumental “Float (Another Round)”. They make a funky retro reference on the high energy tease of “First Name”. Slowing down with the elegant “goodmorninglove” , a Sunday morning soul serenade. “Miss Turner” scores with its bad mama attitude alone. On the super groovy Neo-Soul jewel “Gossip”, K. Raydio warns “It's that elementary game and I swear I stopped playing years ago, see what others think of me, I didn't care to know” over a feel good thump, thump rattle that spins into a dizzy array. With a left turn mid-song, O.D. makes like Madlib as he breaks it down and keeps your head nodding with a stutter-step, broken beat. Another strong moment is “Endure”, before closing with instrumental “Rearview”.

Producer/artist/engineer Medium Zach (Big Quarters/Mankwe/Greg Grease) allows each song to breathe and add its own colors. The production itself is full of sonic intricacies that have a richness and exploratory quality. K. Raydio songwriting has matured and become stronger and more confident. The soulful, heavy funk of O. D. shows that Minneapolis has a talented and growing diverse producers' field.

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