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Dale Burgess

LIVE: Jungle @ Manchester Academy

WORDS: DALE BURGESS     PHOTOS: MOJO JOJO

When stripped down to the bare bones, Jungle is a duo made up of musicians and long-time friends Tom MacFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson. Shift them from the studio to the stage to witness a whole new beast take shape in the form of a seven-piece backing band, who join the Jungle-ites to deliver the pioneering new wave-fusion they’re adored for.

It’s been quite the ride for Jungle since they arrived on the scene six years ago. From their debut gig at humble Manchester venue Roadhouse (RIP), to signing for XL Recordings, releasing their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album and performing on Jimmy Kimmel in the July of 2014 – the boys from West London left shadows in their wake as they shot through the stratosphere of the music industry in their first year. After 4 years of touring, DJing and not only crafting new music but an evolved sound too; Jungle returned in the foregone September with second studio album For Ever.

Nu-disco, neo-soul, modern-funk, eclectic-pop? Try all you want to pigeon hole them, but Jungle’s style is truly avant-garde; instilling positive emotion and jubilation from the moment it’s devoured. Flowing movement and groove radiate from both their audio and visual productions, generating live performances brimming with energy and ecstatic atmosphere. The intricate layers that characterise Tom and Josh’s music are reflected in the live structure – as the Manchester Academy stage resembled a jumble sale of weird and wonderful instruments. From the conventional bass guitars, drum pads and synthesizers to the extravagant spiral shaped symbol and bongo set-up; a playground of musical tools were at the disposal of the eager members of the band to fill their boots with.

Back in the city where live performance began for them, Jungle sauntered out on stage at 9 pm to the sound of ‘Smoking Pixels’ – a drawn-back interlude track from their first album with a guitar and whistle resembling a wild-west vibe. It felt like the band had just waltzed into a packed saloon to the ecstasy of the punters inside. Their trademark ‘Jungle’ typeface glowed up behind the band, as the show lifted off with the opener, Smile – a song packed with rumbling rhythm that also plays the role of track number one on For Ever.

What followed was a beautiful collision of old and new, performed in harmony alongside one another. It was by no means a new album showcase sprinkled with a few classics, but instead a free for all of their outputs as a unified piece of art. The live blending of tracks into one another executed throughout the set epitomised this.

Jungle simply aren’t Jungle without the backing singers, who don’t really stand at the back at all. Their soul-kissed vocals surrounded the music like a technicolour dream coat, with their charismatic energy pushing the already-fizzing vibe up an extra notch. Echoing siren-samples beamed out as the show entered its latter stages, with the crowd witnessing a more experimental approach to some of the classics they know and love. Namely Drops – an ambient anthem from the first album which transformed into an epic breakdown, taking the first-timers in the crowd by complete surprise.

 

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Absolutely fantastic. Jungle ladies & gentleman. #jungle #manchesteracademy

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Throughout the show Tom and Josh often chopped and changed instruments between one another with appreciative grins as they did so, demonstrating the Jungle originators to be as flexible as their music suggests. This love and cohesion binding each band member together curated a mood on stage that played off into the crowd immensely.

At the risk of sounding like a spoilt child in a sweet shop, Cosurmyne and Mama Oh No were absent from the setlist – two tracks that separated the second album from the first in regards of individuality and imaginative production. Not all tracks can make the cut and the band more than compensated for this by treating the crowd to exquisite performances of album favourites Casio and Beat 54 (All Good Now). Classic 2014 single Time rounded off proceedings – an electric end to another stunning Jungle show. Out of the country? Jungle take their tour worldwide before their annual festival circuit this summer, so get on board!

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ALBUM RELEASE: DRS – ‘From the Deep’

WORDS BY DALE BURGESS

Anyone who is worth their musical salt and knows of DRS will vouch for him as nothing short of an iconic veteran of the Manchester urban music scene – an MC and vocalist who stood the test of time through the evolution of drum and bass, whilst keeping a warm seat reserved in his heart for all things hip-hop.

From his features on LTJ Bukem’s ‘Progression Sessions’ in the late ’90s to his seemingly endless wave of collaborations with liquid D&B heavyweight Calibre; DRS has been and continues to be at the forefront of cutting-edge drum and bass since the genre’s birth.

Like many great urban wordsmiths of his era, hip-hop is where it all began for DRS, sparking the creation of rap group Broke ‘n’ £nglish in the mid ’00s alongside local figureheads Konny Kon and Strategy. The turn of the decade witnessed his first solo album Grown Man Biznizz – a 12-track extension of the gritty yet playful hip-hop-esque sound that Broke ‘n’ £nglish championed.

Two drum and bass albums later – with countless singles and EPs in-between – DRS returns to his roots with fourth studio album ‘From the Deep’ – accompanied by his brand new label ‘Space Cadet’ to unleash it on. The whimsical nature therein Grown Man Biznizz remains evident in this new project, with references to getting loose on the weekend amongst other things – but a lot has happened in nine years and DRS will be the first to tell you that.

 

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Just saw LSB & DRS in a room full of 50 people. Vancouver you just welcomed me back with arms wide open 😍

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From the Deep is exactly what it says on the tin – delving down into real word themes and occurrences from the past few years of the MC’s life – particularly revolving around society, bereavement, love, and everything in-between. Consistent in all his outputs, his soul is laid bare for all to see, with the track-list resembling a contents page to his heart and mind. Manifested throughout is a brutally majestic delivery of emotion and lyricism, presenting an opportunity to hear his passionate depictions delivered at a different BPM to what much of the new age drum and bass community will be used to.

None can argue that sublime craftsmanship in beat-making is the buttery biscuit base beneath all great hip-hop albums. DRS didn’t have to look much further than his own doorstep to find the right man for the job. All hail Pitch 92 – potentially the hottest hip-hop producer in the UK right now, never mind Manchester. His natural ability to fuse boom bap with jazz, funk, and soul proves that age is just a number, with the origins of his sound existing long before he did. Performing and producing with The Mouse Outfit since the turn of the decade, followed by two solid High Focus releases in less than as many years – Pitch plays a blinder in yielding the soundtrack to DRS’ masterstroke.

Each track within From the Deep holds its own identity and will connect with each listener in a different way on a different day – picking favourites is out of the question. Instead, here’s the three that grabbed me the most today in track-list order:

‘Northern galactic outlaw, mixed race pirate the Caribbean southpaw’ – round of applause for the sickest opening line to a track I’ve heard in a long time. Serial Escapist explicitly depicts over-indulgence and dependency on liquor and substances – with the video capturing a night in the life of a blurry bender, complete with face tattoos. Pitch’s trap beat fits the mood of floating in the twilight zone at 5am, as the final thirty seconds transition into slow motion, symbolising the inevitable wall that is hit when it’s all over. The words ‘Is this hip-hop? This is hip-hop’ flash up – a likely reference to the state of today’s hip-hop culture.

The production goes back to basics on Irreplaceable, using a simple drum beat under lo-fi piano keys – making room for an honest confession about the struggle to deal with the loss of loved ones. With direct references to DRS’ bereaved companion, the track feels like as much of a glowing tribute to the individual as it is about DRS’ path to coping with it. A sombre but elegant track that many will relate to.

A fine example of the emotional spectrum within this project. How Sweet It Is pays homage to the simple things in our ‘every day’ that keep us ticking over – the appreciation of the journey of life rather than the destination. Pitch’s production is sprinkled with the old-school, creating a chilled out beat that wouldn’t sound out of place in your bedroom as you draw the curtains on a brand-new day. A stunning piece of work from Manchester’s very own DRS and Pitch 92 – eyes peeled in the coming weeks for yet more new music from these two grafters. From the Deep is available to stream and download now on all major platforms.

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EP RELEASE: Ceeow – ‘Sofar’

WORDS BY DALE BURGESS

Born and raised in Brum – Manchester has been home to vocalist Ceeow since 2016, where he’s been honing his talents and building a presence as part of the collective A Broken Camarilla and adjacently as a solo artist.

Ceeow radiates a sound that is all his own, laced with hip-hop, soul and funk – an artist riding his own unique wave with a vocal delivery inimitable by anyone. Rapping, singing, reciting or simply speaking to his audience, Ceeow visibly adores every second of what he does – a vital element to both progression and fulfillment within the industry.

In true Ceeow fashion, humility through inclusivity is the underbelly to his outputs, as he invites the rich pool of talent lying in his peripheries to contribute towards the production, promotion and overall creation of Sofar – his debut solo single/EP release. Complete with a modish video which premiered at a packed out Ancoats General Store for the EP launch party – Sofar is a full-bodied release not to be slept on.

The title of opening track Velvet is heavily personified in Ceeow’s mellow intones, enticing the listener in. The blissfully refined minimal-trap beat lends itself to the artist’s style and lays the canvas exquisitely for the remainder of the EP. Velvet is bite-size in length but hearty in vibes, as Ceeow flirts with sporadic pitch raises throughout the track – teasing you in for what’s to come.

Title track Sofar is one to lean back on but by no means one to drift off to. In contrast to Velvet; bluesy keys and strings flutter over a natural drum sequence – combining to create a wholesome beat for Ceeow to work his magic over. The shackles are off on Sofar as that trademark vocal swagger he is known for erupts throughout – what I would imagine James Brown and Rag’n’Bone Man’s lovechild to sound like, or thereabouts. The hook on this one will have you singing all the way to the download link.

Penultimately – Try Again boasts a unique yet simplified beat, where less is more. Ceeow’s bars are given room to breathe and his lyrical creativity takes the stage. Intelligent pop culture references, irresistible wordplay and another catchy hook ring true for two and a half minutes.

The production on closing track Bonita takes us back to that bread and butter hip-hip sound, oozing vibes of thoughtful reflection within the beat and lyricism. Drawing elements from all 3 tracks on the EP, ‘Bonita’ serves the purpose of a perfect round off to an enjoyably versatile record.

Sofar is no doubt a small taste of the future of Ceeow, but while you wait for that be sure to check out his monthly residency on MCR Live, for further insight into the artist and the music that inspires him.

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SINGLE RELEASE: Evabee – ‘Full Circle’

WORDS BY DALE BURGESS

January is perceived by many as a humdrum time, lacking excitement and productivity as people take things down a notch after the hectic holiday period – apparently, Evabee didn’t get the memo!

After countless performances and releases under the guise of her band: A Broken Camarilla – amongst many other live appearances and collaborations – Eva kicked 2019’s door clean off its hinges with her first ever solo headline show at Band On The Wall on the first Friday of the year. Impeccably timed, her debut solo single – ‘Full Circle’ – rose from the ashes of her blistering performance ten days previously – a statement of intent to say the least.

Synthesizing soul-infused vocals with hip-hop influences over smooth electronic beats; Evabee has been buzzing around the underground circuit for a few years, staking her musical claim in the city of Manchester. For those who know her, it may be surprising that this debut release hasn’t come sooner, but sincere creations aren’t contrived in a slapdash manner. When the time is right, they will bloom naturally – with the self-explanatory element of hard graft and perseverance. An entirely organic output is the result of this diligent approach which is the story told within the expressive lyrics of ‘Full Circle’.

MCR Live resident TMNMS provides the laid-back yet quirky hip-hop-esque beat for Eva to glide over – a producer with a keen ear and mind for building a vibe in sync with a track’s theme. ‘Full Circle’ opens by addressing the “petty commentaries” and naiveties from those who expect too much too soon. The second verse teaches the importance of valuing yourself before you can grow – sound and honest lyricism for all to resonate with – typical of Evabee’s outputs.

‘Full Circle’ is far from a dancefloor-filler but a track to think on and absorb, with a beat that would sit nicely with a cool bevvy in back garden sunshine – that’s right, you can keep this in the playlist right through until summer and beyond! Already attracting attention from ‘BBC Music Introducing…’, we don’t expect this one to go away quietly – available on all major streaming platforms now.

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eva band on the wall

LIVE: Inner City Waves #15 w/ Eva Bee + support @ Band on the Wall

WORDS – DALE BURGESS

If one of your new year’s resolutions isn’t to seek and discover more homegrown music, then it should be. Manchester is an exciting place to be right now for emerging talent across the genre spectrum. One group facilitating the exposure of the sounds of tomorrow – Inner City Waves – hosted their fifteenth show at legendary Manchester venue Band on the Wall last Friday.

Since their birth almost two years ago, the aim of their game has been to advocate the best underground vocalists, rappers, DJ’s and producers in the North West – a game which has proved fruitful for all involved, punters and participants alike. Bulldozing their way into 2019, show #15 saw none other than Manc soulstress EvaBee headline the evening, with support from Savvy, Hana Malik, Kamali and DJ Ben Jac.

Band on the Wall has been accountable for the spawning of many a Manchester musical legacy – a suitable location to fit the Inner City Waves ethos. EvaBee reiterated this early in her set, projecting how she had longed to perform on a stage with such local heritage. Known for its refined acoustics, Eva’s magnetising tones filled the room as an eager crowd revelled in the performance. Showcasing unheard gems and dusting off old crowd favourites, Eva treated us to an exhibition of what can be achieved through hard work and persistence on a passion.

Although she quite easily could have stole the show all by herself, MCR Live resident & A Broken Camarilla band mate, friend and artist in his own right Ceeow shared the stage to perform new track ‘Stranger Things’, taken from the aforementioned band’s forthcoming EP: Tides. Ceeow re-joined the stage for the penultimate track ‘Wave’; an A Broken Camarilla anthem from yesteryear. MCR Live resident TMNMS was on selector duty – a DJ and producer in his own right, responsible for the crisp production on some of EvaBee’s more recent tracks.

Eva’s charm and individuality stems from her effortless ability to capture the crowd with ethereal pitch-perfect harmonies – and in the same breath – spin the room out with her raw energy and feel-good spirit, making the synergy between the stage and the floor something to behold. Her outputs vary from deep emotional themes to lighthearted depictions of things she simply loves, resulting in a noticeable inclusivity about her music. Eva’s performance of new track ‘Morgan Spiced’ was a prime example, going down well on the night in more ways than one.

Eager to leave the crowd with one more song beyond her planned set list, Eva confessed her hesitation to do so due to being a little under the weather. Some crowd encouragement and a wave from her on-looking family was all she needed to jump down from the stage and perform unreleased track ‘Lets Go Back’ to absolute perfection – arguably her most impressive piece of work to date and certified to make serious noise when it drops later this year.

If that wasn’t enough to kickstart her year, EvaBee will releasing her first single ‘Full Circle’ on 15/1/19. Inner City Waves #16 goes down at Band On The Wall on 31/1/19 – get involved and keep the scene bubbling!

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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SINGLE RELEASE: Joey Bricks x Ceeow – ‘Owl City’

WORDS BY DALE BURGESS

Over the last year or two the four members of the soulful hip-hop electronic band ‘A Broken Camarilla’ have shown us how they do it solo – demonstrating how different dimensions within the group can blossom when left to their own devices. ‘Camarilla Tape Vol 1’ – released earlier this year – was a fine exhibition of this direction. With two formulas of band production and solo work running seamlessly alongside each other, these guys really are a gift that keeps on giving in the underground Manchester music scene right now.

‘Owl City’ by Ceeow & Joey Bricks is the latest creation to be churned out of this musical machine. It comes as an early Christmas present for those seeking deep reflection of the foregone year and positive outlooks for the one to come. A late car journey home or a midnight walk through the city is where the vibe of this one will take you.

The delicate delivery of Ceeow’s bars over the elegant, creeping entry of Joey’s 140 bpm-beat make for an introduction laced with melancholic ambiance. An injection of purpose then becomes apparent and a forward-thinking drive is omitted as the beat evolves, with Ceeow’s tone adapting to the extra layers now present within. ‘No chill, no chill. It’s about time we build’ is repeated throughout, with added vigor to match the progression within the track – epitomizing the aforementioned notion of reflection of the past making way for a vision of the future.

Honesty, emotion, and humility are the characteristics that these artists have taught us to expect in the past – with ‘Owl City’ keeping that expectation fulfilled. Expect the wheel to keep turning for these guys as 2019 rolls in

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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LIVE: Kojey Radical @The Deaf Institute

WORDS BY DALE BURGESS

Two flawless albums, a seemingly endless wave of solid EP’s and singles, countless live shows and bustling festival circuits in between; at the age of 25, North-East Londoner Kojey Radical already has an impressive musical trail of splendor behind him and there is no doubt that his current ‘CAN I SPEAK’ tour is just the beginning for him.

Hailing from a poetry background, Kojey twists and morphs the atoms of spoken word, grime, hip-hop and RnB, to birth a truly stand-alone sound unparalleled by anything before him. His raw passion, straight talking grit and brutal honesty collides emphatically with his wit and positive energy, resulting in a live show to be reckoned with.

With the vibes inside still on a simmer, all the energy was bursting from the stage as Coventry based grime artist Mugun opened proceedings with half an hour of cleanly delivered bars and quick-fire flows, setting the tone for the evening. Singer-songwriter Etta Bond followed, whose smooth harmonies and a silky presence that put a different flip on the room in the best way possible. Particularly when she performed her hit-track ‘Surface’, inviting onto the stage young rapper Little Ralph, who participated in an Instagram challenge set by Etta called ‘#surfacechallenge’, designed to get her followers to create their own versions of the song to promote expression. There was a warmth in the room and the mood was set for the headliner.

Kojey Radical’s degree in Fashion Illustration instantly became apparent as he leapt on stage in double denim, rocking a military-style beret to match the militant performance that was about to follow. The late venue change from Gorilla to The Deaf Institute was a blessing in disguise, as the more intimate space catered brilliantly for a man who wears his heart on his sleeve for all to see.

The first hour or so encompassed tracks from his first album, with spoken word recitals, all the while laced with humble anecdotes about his life, his history, his unexpected path to musical achievement and his inspiration from lost loved ones. The audience was encapsulated as the lines were blurred between the stage and the crowd. In typical Kojey Radical fashion, he announced to the crowd that he had created this docile atmosphere so that it would seem all the more emphatic when he started delving into his bangers, sparking laughter amongst the dance-floor – he wasn’t lying.

The denim jacket was off and before you could say ‘RADICAL’ the whole room evolved into pure dance and energy. One by one he reeled off crowd favourites, namely ‘Water’ produced by jazzy dubstep artist Swindle featuring guest vocalist Mahalia, whose shoes were eagerly filled in her absence by the receptive crowd singing her verse word for word.

Other highlights included ‘Moods’ – an intense, punchy lyrical track taken from his latest album ‘In Gods Body’ and ‘Soak It Up’ – his emotional yet uplifting collaboration with garage legend MJ Cole. The power of Kojey’s single releases were also demonstrated when energy-track ‘If Only’ sent the crowd, the stage and the whole live band into a frenzy, before rounding off with his recent release ‘97’- a fresh bouncy feel-good rhythm to polish off a faultless show. Manchester was the second leg of the ‘CAN I SPEAK’ tour, so if you get the chance you won’t regret catching Kojey at either Birmingham, Leeds or Bristol before the tour rounds off in London on 20th Nov.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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Submotion Orchestra - JK Photography

Submotion Orchestra Photo: JK Photography

GIG REVIEW: Submotion Orchestra @ Gorilla

Submotion Orchestra ’s jam-packed album launch tour for the new record ‘Kites’ graced Manchester on Thursday evening – Gorilla was on venue duty as the 5th leg of the tour passed through the rainy city in style. Although the lack of a live band as a supporting act was mildly underwhelming, Agent J soon made up for this as his smooth DJ skills teased an eager & excitable crowd with expertly picked selections of Hip-hop, funk, dub and everything in between. The stage was set for the main event.

With lead singer Ruby Wood absent on their previous album tour 2 years ago, there was an anticipation in the air to see the band back in full flow. Entering the stage all in red to a rapturous applause following the bands opening track – an instrumental masterpiece laced with powerful bass, majestic horns and percussion – Ruby and the rest of the band pushed the acoustics to the limit from the get-go. Submotion Orchestra’s unorthodox approach to creating music – fusing electronica, jazz and soul with a heavy dub influence – generates a mesmerising experience when performed live.

Submotion Orchestra - JK Photography

Photo: JK Photography

They had the audience in the palm of their hands from start to finish; everyone in the room was transfixed in awe as they chopped and changed between their smoky ‘slow-jams’ and powerful instrumental tracks, shaking the walls of Gorilla & spinning the room into a groove within an instant – namely with new album track, ‘Tunnel’. It’s always a treat when a band with so many classics do an album launch tour – the anticipation of hearing new music performed live for the first time, combined with the nostalgia of their sublime back catalogue that we’ve grown to know and love, formed a truly special atmosphere.

As Submotion Orchestra left the stage and the lights stayed down an encore was imminent with the crowd all seeming to realise in synchronicity that Submotion Orchestra’s ‘anthem’ was yet to be performed. ‘All Yours’ – from the debut album ‘Finest Hour’ – was a stone wall classic from the moment it was released & is always a pleasure to experience live. Unsurprisingly this was the final song performed, as it has been in previous shows. A momentary silence preceded the intro as lead singer Ruby wore a grin that said ‘‘yeah you know what’s coming’’. It was a fitting end to a flawless gig as members of the crowd rushed to the front, reaching for Ruby’s hand in appreciation for the sheer beauty of the track.

Submotion orchestra - JK Photography

Photo: JK Photography

Submotion Orchestra find themselves in a special category of bands who sound better live than on the record – if you’ve listened to their records you’ll understand the achievement within that. Their tracks are stacked with copious layers of sound, and the passion that goes into their music results in a truly enthralling experience when executed in live format without a single note out of place. Gorilla only seemed to amplify this – a relatively small stage with the 6 musicians shoulder to shoulder allowed the band to bounce off each other and really dig into their performance.

An admirable quality about following the Submotion Orchestra’s live circuit is the diverse range of venues they perform in. Out of the 4 Submotion shows I’ve attended, one was in a 2000-year-old Roman Amphitheatre and another in a small social club in their hometown of Leeds. After absorbing the 6-piece’s music in such contrasting environments, it shows that the band they are not afraid to scale up or down with each type of venue seeming to complement their sound in a different way. However, Gorilla’s intimate (yet not too intense) space and awesome acoustics seemed ideal on the night.

Submotion Orchestra - Jack Pasco Photography

Photo: Jack Pasco Photography

Shortly after curfew Submotion Orchestra set up a meet and greet by the stage selling records and merchandise, at which point I wasted no time in showing my appreciation to each member. This kind of fan integration personifies the honesty and integrity SO possess as musicians, setting a fine example for other upcoming bands. If you can’t wait until the next tour, you can catch Submotion Orchestra smashing the festival circuit this summer across the globe as per with sets at Eden, Farr, Soundwave, Atlas Weekend, Wonder Fields and Boomtown to name but a few.

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Submotion Orchestra Kites

ALBUM REVIEW: Submotion Orchestra – Kites

Almost ten years ago in the musical melting pot of Leeds, seven artists fused forces to create something completely incomparable to anything that preceded it – to the present day it stands alone in its design. Submotion Orchestra‘s inimitable sound audaciously combines the contrasting worlds of music, drawing influences from jazz, ambient electronica and soul with a deep underbelly of sub-low frequencies inspired from the early dubstep scene. An experimental dubstep producer in his own right, Ruckspin (aka Dom Howard) replicates the trademark dub ‘wobbles’ through a synthesiser leaving the bass, drums, percussion, keyboard & trumpet players to compose an orchestral body of music. Vocals are provided by Ruby Wood whose angelic tones sound like they were destined for the band. Their avant-garde approach to production is responsible for the cult following that the band captivated, evolving into a global audience following their debut album ‘Finest Hour’ in 2011. From this, a phenomenal work ethic ensued and – amongst numerous tours, festival appearances and the odd EP – Submotion Orchestra’s latest release ‘ Kites ’ marks their fifth studio album.

Submotion Kites

Although a running theme within their albums follows a blissful journey of sound with epic crescendos and hypnotising ambience, each album has experimented with slightly different styles. New album ‘ Kites ’ travels back to Submotion Orchestra’s earlier roots of jazz infused electronica, accompanied by their unmistakable deep bass-lines, flowing synths and charming vocal harmonies stamping their identity.

As technically sound as a piece of music can be, when an album can make the listener feel something more without being able to put a finger on the cause it usually means that there’s an underlying inspiration for its production – often from a raw and emotional place. In a short album bio on Bandcamp, drummer and musical director Tommy Evans explains:

“In the two years since ‘Colour Theory’ there have been a number of significant events for us all including new life and family death. We wanted to use these events as creative inspiration so we bought a disposable camera each and took photos based around these events, or the themes that they represented. Once developed, we selected 10 photos to be used as the inspiration for the 10 tracks on the album. Each track explores a different emotion, theme or event. All are honest, relevant and often hugely personal.”

Submotion Kites

Each track is an experience, for the band and the audience alike. I’m confident that I speak on behalf of the vast majority of Submotion Orchestra fans in saying that I’ve always considered their music to be medicine for the mind, facilitating introspection and reflection. This album undoubtedly follows suit with that idea, and I expect that never to falter in future releases by the band. Here’s a breakdown of my three favourite tracks from ‘ Kites ‘:

 

PRISM

Less is more with the opening track of the album. Soft vocals float through the intro leading up to an endearing crescendo before climaxing with a deep layer of bass as the vocals echo off into the distance, all while staying ambient with its delivery. The subtlest of additions in ‘Prism’ (a bird tweet for example) are crafted to seem so prominent within the track due to its intelligent simplicity. This leaves you engrossed in every detail as the sub guides you along. It’s an atmospheric and purposeful start to a great album.

 

BRANCHES

‘Branches’ hosts a strong vocal presence throughout the track, as a punchier beat provides the cement compared to more tranquil approaches on other pieces within the album. Ruby has reflection and promise in her tone as her harmonies effortlessly match the rise and fall of the key tones in the build up to the breakdown, leaving you utterly transfixed. It’s an honest and uplifting track, epitomising what the album is all about.

 

TUNNEL

The penultimate track ‘Tunnel’ is a moodier instrumental showcase of the boundaries that full-band electronic music can push. The synthesiser, bass and percussion get to work as the tempo raises midway through with a powerful medley of bass and electronica; while an ethereal trumpet rains over the top. The band really pushed their tools to the limit on this.

As of 9th March, ‘Kites’ became available on all major platforms so go and cop it and lose yourself in its beauty. To really get the Submotion Orchestra experience, trust me when I say, you need to see them live. Luckily for you they are in the midst of their official ‘Kites’ tour, gracing Manchester on Thursday 15th March at Gorilla. See you there!

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Tape deck vol 1

EP Review: Camarilla Tape Vol 1

A team of four inspired, talented, musicians have been working as one making waves in the manc underground for the last couple of years; if you’ve not heard of A Broken Camarilla by now then maybe you should have! Known for, but not limited to, an experimental hip-hop fusion sound ABC (made up from Joey Bricks, Ceeow, EvaBee & Tommy Tickle) have really flexed their muscles of late. Whilst churning out live shows and productions all over the shop, their graft has seen the group gaining recognition from BBC Radio 1xtra heavyweight DJ Target and their latest offering shows that this is just the beginning. A group that are always moving forward, A Broken Camarilla are on the cusp of dropping a unique tape that strips back the band, showcasing the raw elements within the ABC mould. It’s big.

Tape Vol 1

 

Camarilla Tape Vol 1 is a 5-track insight into the individual capabilities of each band member, with silky producer Silent K guesting twice on the release. Being bold creatives in their own right, A Broken Camarilla have put forth a taste of what they can do when the reins are off. Upon listening through the tape, you swiftly understand why they bounce off each other so well when they join forces. Each track has its own identity whilst a theme of raw soul and emotion runs throughout each track, blending them together and keeping the EP slick. From both a vocal and production perspective, a seemingly effortless presentation of how each cog in the ABC machine turns.

Real music, regardless of genre, allows you to release your inhibitions and experience something more than just absorbing the frequencies. Each track on the tape (in its own unique way) seems to be striving to facilitate this connection between the listener and the music. With ambiguous song titles and thought-provoking lyrics, the tracks possess strong meanings whilst cleverly leaving then very much open to interpretation of the individual listening. With mesmerising video and fine graphics to-boot, the tape is a real piece of art – here are my thoughts on the tracks:

CLOSER – EVABEE X SILENT K

The production on this is so perfect it spurred me to create a new genre in my head: ‘midnight trap’, you heard it here first! Matched with pitch perfect harmonies oozing through the beat, this one’s a real dreamer. Immerse yourself properly by listening with the video accompaniment; an eerie, yet enchanting, shoot from young videographer Jay Bannister.

STRSZ – JOEY BRICKS X CEEOW

Joey Bricks boasts a raise in tempo as far as the beat is concerned, especially in comparison to the rest of the tape – smooth synths and twinkles that gives the listener a sense of aspiration. Ceeow flexes his lyrical capabilities coming in correct with a set of purposeful bars that are married with a soft infectious hook. Make your own story with this one, it’s wide open.

HEALER – TOMMY TICKLE X EVABEE

Tommy forges a beautiful mood on Healer, creating a delicate yet uplifting sound accompanied very aptly with bird song samples towards the end. Eva, piping in a higher pitch than usual, effortlessly floats harmonies over the top. If you’re nursing a demon, this is your healer on Vol 1.

FLUID MOTION – JOEY BRICKS X EVABEE X SILENT K

Everyone loves a track that instantaneously paints a scene in your head  and this one is no different – a mental image created by the sounds. The beat on ‘Fluid Motion’ is a wave of ‘2-step-py’ ambience, portrayed accurately by the song title. Shut your eyes, take in Eva’s echoey vocals and see where your mind drops you off. Thank me later.

BREATHE – A BROKEN CAMARILLA

Some things are best left as a surprise, so cop the tape – see what happens when the team jam as one. All I’m gonna say.

Excitingly, ‘Vol 1’ can only mean a ‘Vol 2’ is on the horizon. But before we get ahead of ourselves, Camarilla Tape Vol 1 is out on 15/02/18, grab it for free on Bandcamp (don’t say they don’t treat you) and stream on all major platforms. ALSO, get down to The Whiskey Jar in Northern Quarter for the official launch party this Thursday night; expect special guests, good music and good vibes.

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