SOME STUFFS: Hexsagon returns with a new EP of astrological soul
Phoenix artist Hexsagon… okay, in this case, when I say artist, Phoenix is a producer, MC, and so much more. If that has intrigued you, good. Now, let me tell you that he just released a new EP today called Aries, featuring six brand new songs to get down and get you down in the perfect way. With a sample from the Aries’ Signs Of The Zodiac album on A&M starting the festivities, the songs move up and down, in and out and all around in a hip-hop, soulful, and funky fashion that will make you listen and perhaps inspire you all the time.

VIDEO: Myth Syzer featuring Bonnie Banane’s “Bonbon a la menthe”

It has been almost two years when I voted Bonnie Banane as the singer who helped to create what I felt was the best song of the year, but then I didn’t hear from her at all. I had hoped for her to capitalize on the attention she was getting, but it seemed as if she disappeared. Fortunately, 2014 marks her return with producer Myth Syzer and together they fist up the elegance of “Bonbon a la menthe”, so make sure you get those lozenges and stroganoff, you know? Glad Myth Syzer is doing this and very happy Banane has returned.

FREE MP3 DL: Illangelo featuring Rochelle Jordan’s “What The Fuss”

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I’m not sure why people are promoting “future R&B”, is it a means to talk about the next wave of R&B, or that it’s less about the artist and more about the music? If we are so diehard on looking into the future, then why hasn’t anyone bothered to correct the now R&B? In the words of Common, “black music is black music, it’s all good”, and this is good. I’d like to think if Aaliyah was around today and collaborating with people like Jaza Jazzist, Flying Lotus, or 4Tet, it would sound a lot like Rochelle Jordan’s performance in this new track by Carlo Montagnese, who is known as Illangelo. I hope that there’s more to this than just the 2:21 duration given here.
Illangelo x Rochelle Jordan – What The Fuss by ILLANGELO presents: Best Songs Of 2013

When it comes to favorite songs, I don’t look for something that is hit-savvy. I just want a song that moves me. It can move me as if it is a single, or have it be a deep cut on an album, EP, or some mix someone made and I want to focus on just that segment. It doesn’t matter what genre these songs are because again, all music moves me. Even if it’s something I don’t like, it moved me to hate. These two songs I do not hate at all and for some reason, the moment I first heard them, I knew they would become my picks for favorite songs of the year. Out of the hundreds… no, out of the thousands of different songs I heard, these two reigned supreme like an episode of the original Iron Chef and 2013 would have suffered just a small bit without them. In no particular order:

Spree Wilson featuring GoDreamer’s “All I Need

Kingdom featuring Kelela’s “Bank Head
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AUDIO: Madison McFerrin’s “What If I”

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Madison McFerrin is keeping things moving with her music and this time she gets on the electronic side of things courtesy of Boston-based producer Jarred Barnes, whose chosen moniker is The Arkitekt and when you listen to how they construct “What If I”, you’ll know why. It would be cool if this could be visualized too.

AUDIO: Supreme Cuts featuring Mahaut Mondino’s “Gone”

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This song has to be heard to be believed. Chicago duo Supreme Cuts have definitely put together their moniker, or at least one cut as a teaser for what’s to come, and it’s the form of a song called “Gone”, which isn’t. It’s right here. It features the vocals of Mahaut Mondino. If the last name is familiar, she is the daughter of legendary music video director Jean Baptiste Mondino, creator of the classic song “La Danse Des Mots”, which was released 30 years ago. Now you get the new era of Mondino with this song that is not to be slept on. The single will be released on the 12th of November, while a full length will be released via Dovecote on January 28th in what will be called Divine Ecstasy, which I am sure it will be.

VIDEO: Foreign Exchange’s “Call It Home”

I’m out on a Tuesday doing my thing, then I return home. I was aware that the guys in Foreign Exchange had presented the artwork for their forthcoming album, I was not aware they had a video made and ready to go. I am here to share said video for a song called “Call It Home”, which is the first single from Love In Flying Colors (+FE Music/Hard Boiled), and as you will hear, there is some exploration involved from Nicolay and Phonte. They always explore music from the inside out and from over under sideways down, but I like the approach here, one that I hope will bring the group to an even bigger audience. Can they get more massive than they already are? The sky found on the album cover of Love in Flying Colors is a limit worth going over and beyond, so let’s make that happen. The video, directed by Kenneth Price, shows various locations one could call home. As someone who knows where my eternal home is but also knows where I’d like to move as a means to be grounded and call a new home, I can completely relate to the imagery here, especially all the different ocean shots. I also loved what looked like shots of the railroad in India, a country I would love to visit someday. One day.

BANDCAMP SUGGESTIONS: Wondercore Island Mixtape #1

 photo Wondercore_cover2_zpsfc79f233.jpg Coming from Australia is a brand new street album called Wondercore Island Mixtape #1, and if the “#1” portion is a hint of what’s to come, I’m all for it. It comes from Australia and a community of artists who want to help each other to get their music to people around the world. While Hiatus Kaiyote may be the one name people will recognize, you’ll also want to check out the likes of Bendaur, Georgia Potter, Killbot Kindergarten, Superfeather, S i l e n t j a y, and Laneous & The Family Yah. All good artists creating great music, you are sure to find the next wave of Australian creativity on this one, representing the “now” wave. Get on it.

REVIEW: Foreign Exchange presents “+FE Music: The Reworks”

Foreign Exchange photo FEReworks_cover_zps1e38af7a.jpg The new Foreign Exchange album is not a “Foreign Exchange” proper album, although it could very well be an extension of what Foreign Exchange have established over the years. While they’re calling it a remix album, +FE Music: The Reworks features not only FE songs but also tracks that various members of the +FE family have done, plus a few cameos from Phonte, a number of remixes from Nicolay, and more. I feel more artists should make a “resume album” this good and this deep.

On one hand, it’s a great way to hear new mixes of familiar material, so if you’re a fan of Foreign Exchange or Phonte’s solo album, you can hear new interpretations of what you like. If Phonte had a special guest spot in something, you may hear it here. While FE has been about the soul with touches of pop, he has a few rap verses on this, for those who still demand what he had offered with Little Brother. All of this makes the album quite good, but then it gets better.

If some feel that soul music in the United States went down the tubes in the last 15 years, one can argue that it has been European artists who have helped to keep it strong, if not alive, at a time when it could have laid itself to rest. I look at Nicolay’s remix of Deborah Bond’s “Say It” and it reminds me of something I would expect to hear on a 4Hero or Jazzanova album. As for 4Hero, he handles the remix to Zo!’s “Flight Of The Blackbyrd” and with Phonte’s sweet vocals helping out in the background, it feels like a project that was… I was going to say “made elsewhere” but perhaps a better phrase would be that it sounds like worldwide music, as if I might catch it in a hot club in Japan as I would somewhere in Germany or France. Nicolay’s remix of Vikter Duplaix’s “Electric Love” sounds like it has a few purple shades to it, with slight musical hints to Prince’s “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” or Vanity 6’s “Drive Me Wild”. Hear Duplaix’s vocals made me think “the only thing that would make this song better would be background vocals from Clara Hill.” Phonte’s tracks are all standouts, and hearing these new music will make you ponder on which is the better (or preferred) mix. He has one of the best voices out there, and it doesn’t matter if he keeps things mild mannered or breaks out, I like hearing what he does.

+FE Music: The Reworks is soul, it’s a club album, it’s electronic soul, it’s disco, it has the slow jams, and there’s more than enough tracks on here deserving of maximum exposure and airplay. This is a double album with close to two hours of music, and it has some grit to it, in that there’s substance to what I’m listening to. A part of it reminds me of the music I grew up listening to, but it also sounds like the music I found a liking to while exploring magazines that looked elsewhere for inspiration. What I could not find domestically, I had to hunt for and this sounds like a great accumulation of the many things one would love to hear in an album. It may very well be an assortment of songs but it’s put together as if it was a concert performance, a set list for a concert you would feel foolish in missing. Whatever Phonte and Nicolay plan on doing with the Exchange they have organized so far, it has been a very healthy union and one that I hope will continue for many years to come.