Subtle Shift’s latest release ‘Somber Frequencies‘ is a sonic journey into distant realms. The opener ‘Sojourn’ expands at a crawling pace, slowly but surely blossoming into a complex ambient existence. Distant soft pads reverberate in the background as subtle percussion eventually pulsates in accompanying sporadic keys that chime at a rapid pace. All elements combine for a blissful experience that is transcendent. The soundscape draws inspiration from dub, electronica, ambient and drone all while maintaining an authenticity and honesty that almost transcends music. The listener is placed in a meditative state from the first track and as ‘Somber Frequencies’ morphs and grows each echoing sound expands the mind. The seamless flow drifts from ‘Organic Manifestations’ to ‘Sunlit Depths’ almost lending the flow-state achieved in creation by Subtle Shift directly to the listener. ‘As Clouds Move Inland’ begins with heavy tonal sounds hauntingly reverberating in a deep spacious sonic chasm. The almost Alien-like sounds shift from uncanny to organic as distant drum breaks filter in and lush pads fill up the space. The mystical feel hits it’s spiritual apex on ‘Voyage’ with angelic pads that are a blend between the human voice and pure instrumentation, powerful synthesizers with triumphant chord proclamations, and rapid fire hi hats keeping time for precisely programmed percussion. ‘Forsta Sno (1st Snow)’ plays as a victory lap and Savasana, soft chords and keys echo above sparse percussion as the listener slowly re-enters reality. ‘Somber Frequencies’ is a truly amazing release that is able to generate a state of euphoria in the listener solely from sound.
Amongst The Myriad
The tone for Out Of The Blue is immediately set with the EP opener ‘Give Me All The Feels (Intro)’. Soft distant echoed chords, double-time kick drum, and atmospheric keys all come together to create a sensual feeling of instrumental wonder and mystery. The lead single ‘The Start Of Love’ featuring Victor Daze follows, an ode to the joy of new romance. Alonzo Hall crafts an R&B anthem that is authentic, relatable, and real. The mid-tempo driving percussion juxtaposed against the lush ambient keys takes a back seat toward the final stretch of the track leaving Victor Daze’s rich vocals to reverberate in the background as the song climaxes. This contemporary R&B crescendo leads immediately into the powerfully jazzy title track ‘Out Of The Blue’. Elegant keys accompany Bambi Hade on this beautiful ballad. Graceful vocals join with a dazzling spoken word piece before the capstone ending of a nightclub-esque duet between piano and vocals. ‘Moments Like This (interlude)’ acts as another sensual segue, guiding the listener across the soundscape with altered background vocals chiming in and out in the distance, luscious keys, and sensuous synths oscillating at the climax. ‘Rather Be’ follows and plays as the blossoming of the love of ‘The Star Of Love’ a consummation of a romance matured. Alonzo Hall enlists Moja Star for the EP closer ‘Hypnotic Soul’ an ode to the infatuation of a person’s energy, when the feeling is so strong it can only be natural. ‘Out Of The Blue’ is an EP that captures in sound and lyric the emotion of love from every positive angle, it’s sudden nature, it’s strong hold, and it’s undeniable euphoria.
Atlanta based Hip-Hop artist and Royal Music Family member Cleark’s latest release ‘B.D.T’ is right on schedule. Immediately bombarding listeners with the first half of ‘B.D.T (bout dat time)’ with oscillating synths, basslines, Trap percussive claps, hi hats, and phasing pads Cleark kicks off the first leg with chorus-like chants and flows. Keeping true to the title the track fully arrives at the second half just before the 2 minute mark, earth shattering 808s, filtered melodies, and heavily phased synths play in the background while Cleark eases into a rapid fire flow. Bringing innovation, originality and uniqueness to Trap Cleark’s new single is a mission statement for punctuality. The official release of the single comes with 2 additional tracks ’45’ boasts an aggressive instrumental with nonstop wordplay. The high speed chase continues with ‘Bad 2 Bags’ adding to the vibe previously set Cleark details focusing on his funds over distractions over bouncing instrumental with fast paced hi hats, crisp claps and ascending 808s. Cleark is a breath of fresh air adding personality and charisma, both vocally and sonically, to Trap in a way that is both shocking and satisfying.
Irish Multi-Instrumentalist Ferg’s debut single ‘The Game’ is an ambient intimate offering. With somber emotive guitar melodies, an intricate sparse reflective guitar solo, moving bass and a dynamic percussive drum break Ferg crafts together a masterpiece debut single. Beginning with distant pads and echoing guitar work Ferg’s raw delivery is felt over the lush minimal soundscape, as the track progresses the instrumentation unfolds and expands while lyrically the content mirrors the expansive production. Detailing the complexities of love and romance with wit, subtle metaphors, and clever wordplay Ferg displays a depth not only in sound and feel but in lyrical dexterity as well. A true glimpse into a multi-talented artist who expresses his passion in every aspect felt in the total construction of a song.
Manu Francois’ musical palette consists of a vast array of vivid colors. In his ‘2020 Medley’, a 5 minute preview of his new album ‘Ten Of A Kind’ with LIPSKI, he starts with stadium-level Pop anthems with memorable hooks and chants. The next song has a similar spirit but a slightly different sonic soundscape. Extended vocals are sung in a deep reaching delivery over Dance heavy drums and Trap accelerated Hi-Hats. Manu Francois jumps from genre to genre while maintaining an authenticity and signature vibe. World Music, Electronic, Hip-Hop, Down Tempo and Trap all seamlessly blend together for a perfect backdrop to reach an expansive audience with his message of dedication, perseverance, spirituality and optimism. Manu Francois is at home singing catchy Pop choruses or spitting rhymes over Trap beats that are subtly infused with 90’s style Jazz Boom Bap like on his single ‘Nest Egg’. Though he hails from Christchurch New Zealand, his omnipresent nomadic approach to music makes mentioning any specific location almost meaningless. True art in any fashion surpasses any limitations given by genre or name, but the boundless natural authenticity of Manu Francois’ art seems to automatically multiple his limitlessness by never having a box to be put in in the first place.