Archives for posts with tag: R&B

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Let’s jump straight into the Souled Out debut album that’s become a wonderful part of my life. If you need to catch up on Jhené, head back to my Soul Master feature.

 

Through the Sailing Souls mixtape, the Sail Out EP and now Souled Out we’ve been able to clearly see the world through her lens. There’s this intimate relationship that I along with her massive group of admirers have developed . I am uplifted by her energy, and think of her not just as a distinct artist, but a spiritual guide.

Leading up to the album’s release, the first preview came in the form of “To Love & Die (feat. Cocaine 80’s)”. Compared to everything I’ve heard from her up to now, this one really comes out swinging. The beat is the most hard hitting and punchy production on the lp. And in keeping with her style, the lyrical concept is emotionally gripping to say the least.

 

I remember being in a lonely place when I bought Souled Out at Seattle’s Everyday Music. I got back into my car, popped that CD in and went on a ride. By the time the second track started, “W.A.Y.S.”, I couldn’t help but cry a bit. She just released these bottled emotions I was holding, and it all felt wonderfully therapeutic. It was a reminder of the power of music, to convey feelings and journey inward and out.

 

 

Rarely do I read features on artists and think, “these people really understand this artist and created something that matches their vision”. Look no further than her recent features in Complex and Vibe Vixen. They really speak for themselves.

So yeah, this is medicine. Let it in.

Jhene Aiko – Twitter Facebook Soundcloud

jheneaiko.com

– Jimi Jaxon

 

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The most recent quote on Jhene Aiko’s Tumblr reads, “Sunshine all the time makes a desert.” This arab proverb is perfect for Aiko’s attitude towards life and music. To paraphrase from a past interview she’s said, “I just believe in progressing through life..I really take things that most people would see as negative as motivation..tradegy etc., those are the things that make me even more motivated and inspired.” It can be easy for some to hear her music, her voice and instantly be drifting away in a kind of bliss. But there is darkness, and complexity within the beauty.

Jhene is about a year older than me, a Pisces, born March 16th 1988 (raised in LA). While I was trading Pokemon cards and playing video games in 2002 (Jhene was probably doing that too:)), she was getting her music career started, contributing vocals to past R&B group B2K. It was fun to realize I had heard her voice way back then and not noticed. You can spot Aiko in their video for “Uh Huh” (my favorite of theirs).

 

She toured with them for a bit, and took a break from the music industry for several years. During this time, she had a daughter and had a record label meeting that would influence the future creation of the Sailing Souls Mixtape, Sail Out EP and upcoming debut album Souled Out. She was told the classic tale, that you need to sell yourself if you want to get somewhere in the business. A play on words would change “sell” to “sail”, and that attitude of freedom and artistic integrity would fuel her future work.

 

I admire her energy and perspective on the world within and around her. She doesn’t believe in setbacks and takes each moment good or bad, as energy for her music. It’s that roll with the punches feel that’s helped give her this angelic, as well as raw presentation as an artist and person. In her Sailing Souls mixtape (Prod. by K. Roosevelt, Fistcuffs, J.LBS, Bei Maejor and Tae Beast), the relationship songs are all about one particular, unnamed person. The audience has a window into her life, and that vulnerability and honesty has connected with a massive and diverse group of individuals. That mixtape’s had over a quarter of a million downloads, and features Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Gucci Mane, Lite, H.O.P.E., Roosevelt and Kanye West.

Her productions on that mixtape were smooth demonstrations of R&B, soul and pop, some of my favorites being “Stranger”, “Hoe Feat. Miguel & Gucci Mane”, “Real Now”, “Higher” and “Space Jam.”

 

 

Jhene lost her brother Miyagi to cancer in July 2012. She wrote “For My Brother” solely for her dying sibling, and he passed away shortly after hearing it. That fall, “3:16 AM” was released as a single from Sail Out.

In 2013 she was featured on Drake’s “From Time” off his marvelous Nothing Was The Same album, was involved in a car crash with her daughter (who was thankfully unharmed) and released her Sail Out EP (Prod. by Fistcuffs and No I.D., via Def Jam and Artium) in November. With each release, from the mixtape to this EP I hear a mighty evolution that further puts Aiko in her own creative space. It’s refreshing, organic music, that doesn’t sound anything like current mainstream cheese. The same labels that brought Sail Out are now prepping Jhene’s debut album, Souled Out (out May 2014). I’m itchin’ to hear where she takes us next.

* You can catch Jhene Aiko at Coachella 2014 *

 

Jhene Aiko – Facebook Twitter Tumblr Soundcloud

– Jimi Jaxon

References: Jhene Aiko Interview – The Truth With Elliott Wilson, Wikipedia, Jhene Aiko Interview With Manny Norte

jessylanza

 

I’m playing Pull My Hair Back for the first time right now. I feel high and emotional, longing for someone special. I’ve been single for a long time, and it’s getting old. I want some romance.

If I were in a relationship, Jessy Lanza would be my ideal mindset. It’s very loving and cute to me. At the same time its got tight, polished, up-to-date beats that grab bits and pieces from the dance spectrum.

Also, as someone who spends a lot of time in the nightlife doing my music, this is exactly what I wanna’ hear the following day.

 

I already adored “5785021” and “Kathy Lee”, and now after hearing “Fuck Diamond” I’m head over heels for Jessy.

This album is a collaboration between Lanza and Jeremy Greenspan, member of Junior Boys. They both live in Hamilton, Ontario. The album was composed primarily with hardware; rare synthesizers and drum machines. The two of them love this approach to making music, and the execution is pure and easy. For the kids like me who grew up hearing Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah and Ashanti..the love for R&B is strong on this album, fresh and repackaged for 2013.

The title track “Pull My Hair Back” seems to say..if you want to be with me, you gotta’ take me at my best and worst. A powerful song, with a lot of vulnerability.

Jessy Lanza makes it clear that she is more of a songwriter and producer, and less of a singer. It’s easy for many to assume to Jeremy produced all the music and Jessy just sang on it. Not the case. She says in this Polari Magazine interview, “Jeremy is an already well-established producer and musician with Junior Boys and this album is under my name, with me singing, so I understand the confusion. However, I also think there’s a bigger picture in that it shows how the public can be sexist about what they consider women can do in music. It isn’t a huge surprise to me though, people see me and think “Oh you’re a musician, you must be a singer”. I’m always pretty quick to correct them. I originally wanted to put this album out under a band name but Jeremy thought it was a bad idea. He hates touring and he has enough trouble mustering up the will to tour with Junior Boys and couldn’t commit to a tour for this project. He said that if we put this under a band name, people would question where he was on stage. We basically think of it as we’re in a band, that just has my name on it.”

 

Her XLR8R mix is also highly rewarding, and to me confirms Jessy Lanza as the clubbers daytime music. Its a ballsy and slick combination of styles, and the mixing is smooth.

Hyperdub Records is on their A+ game with this release, alongside Walton, DJ Rashad and Ikonika.

Jessy Lanza – Twitter Facebook

– Jimi Jaxon

The prolific Brenmar has tracks and features goin’ up left and right. A few tracks of his have found their way into many a dj set of mine, including “Be The One” and his remix of Ashanti’s “Fancy”. Today, he’s gracing Disco Droppings with his sultry R&B aesthetic. We talk about his style and participation in the Red Bull Music Academy 2011. Pick up his Let’s Pretend EP on Hum and Buzz Records as well as his remix of W8WTF on Senseless Records.

 

DD Hello Brenmar! I’m so hyped to have you on Disco Droppings. How is the hustle treating you today? 

B Good good, just been in the studio all day, about to head back in a bit.

 

DD Have any hugely established artists contacted you after hearing a Brenmar remix of their track? Ashanti? Rihanna? Jamie Foxx? 

B No one of that caliber yet, people are sleeping! I do have some really cool collabs I’m excited about though.  

DD You were a participant on RBMA 2011.  Was this where you first met Canblaster? He’s a favorite of mine..his track “Chicken Run” cracks me up. 

B I met Canblaster last year at Miami and we had talked online before RBMA for a good bit but it wasn’t until the academy that I got to really know him and work with him. He’s an Ableton wizard, lol.   

DD I am auditioning for RBMA 2012 – I’m interested in what the experience meant to you. How were you challenged by the Academy, and what lectures did you enjoy the most? 

B My favorite lectures were Young Guru, DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn, Tony Andrews and Erykah Badu. The schedule is pretty intense, def. The hardest part is getting up early every morning to attend two lectures, followed by studio time and then late night shows/parties. It adds up, believe me but it’s totally worth it, it’s a great experience.  

DD I want to talk about your fashion/style for a bit. Not only is your music distinct and fresh, I would say the same about your clothes, tattoos, hair, it all works! Have you always been interested in these things? Is it a conscious aesthetic that you focus on? 

B Ha, it’s just me man, it all works cause I’m not forcing anything I guess. Give me some gold, a snapback, and some Jordans and we good.  

DD Do you plan on building a club night in your new city of New York, now that you’ve gained national and international attention? 

B Can’t say I haven’t thought about it. I travel a lot which makes it difficult but we’ll see.

Brenmar: Facebook Soundcloud Twitter

– Jimi Jaxon

You’re about to be swooned..

DD The 5 tracks on your soundcloud are such a tease, I wanna hear more! Do you have any releases planned? 

H In terms of releases I’m putting something together for a new label next month, then perhaps a slightly bigger release later on in the year if I’ve got time. 

DD Your “In The Shower” version is classy. The very subtle touches to the original, like the reverb claps, give it the modern feel. When did you first hear this track?  

H Thanks. I actually only heard the song a few weeks before I did the edit, I stumbled across it whilst on youtube. I loved the vocal so naturally I decided to lay some epic-claps down.  

DD What got you interested in electronic music? Did you immediately want to become a producer? 

H Well my Dad is a producer/sound-engineer so I’ve always been surrounded by obscure electronic sounds. I’ve always had an interest in music but I’ve never seen it as a viable job option.

DD The track “Everything” has fantastic dancefloor energy. Got that Joker growl with a Night Slugs lean. Who are some of your influences, and how do you plan on distinguishing yourself as Hoodmode?  

H Yeah I think that track has quite a Joker-ish sound, It’s not particularly original – I’ve often contemplated deleting it, but it seems to get more attention than most of my other music, ironically. I think tracks like Problem Solver are more representative of my style. I don’t really listen to a lot of Electronic music at the moment, I go through phases though, I think it’s so hard to keep up to date with electronic music. I’m really influenced by producers like Terrace Martin, The Neptunes, Timbaland, 88-keys. I guess my style is informed by electronic artists like Mosca, Canblaster and Egyptrixx to name a few off the top of my head. I love older music too – stuff with wavey Moogs and Juno’s and shit. 

In terms of distinguishing myself I’m not really sure, I’m looking at working with more live percussion at the moment. 

DD Your name was passed along to me by Artek – who has a show with G. Davies on Sub.fm. Have their been other stations/blogs playing your tracks? Im excited to share your sounds here in Seattle.  

H Hang-tight Artek. As far as blogs go, my Dons at BNTL have always shown me love, I’ve had a couple of plays on stations like Rinse.FM as well, but nothing major.

DD Last words? Thanks for stopping Disco Droppings!  

H R&B Over Everything.  

Hoodmode: Soundcloud 

– Jimi Jaxon