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G-Fresh, “Alantere…In Search Of Bliss”

13 May, 2014 Matthew Forss

G-Fresh is a brilliant Nigerian-born singer, songwriter, and actor with a blend of Afro-soul, R&B, and contemporary Afro-pop elements in English and Yoruba languages.  G-Fresh’s native name is Gabriel Olasubomi Afolayan.  The single is produced by George “Geofficialmix” Onyekwere, mixed by Kunle Akintayo, recorded at Ayeesha Studios in Lagos, Nigeria and mastered at The Soundlab in New Jersey.

The song opens with a plaintive piano melody and heartfelt spoken word verse with animal/natures sounds that quickly blends into a fluid, emotive, and Afro-soul melody with a staccato or almost reggae beat.  The swishy beat, slightly electronic vocalizations, drums, assorted electronic embellishments, and overall rhythm and melody is more akin to the Afro-pop music of Ethiopia than Nigeria.  The bouncy beat contains a mix of English and Yoruba lyrics throughout.  The vocals maintain a fluid balance between high and low registers that are never forced or obtrusive.  There are chime sounds at different times throughout the song, too.  The bridge contains a mix of back-up vocals, chimes, and ear-catchy melodic lines interspersed with a brief piano portion with keyboard atmospherics.  The five minute song uses an unforgettable melody set-up that is catchy, soothing, and superbly Afro-pop.

G-Fresh brings to life an amazing song of Nigerian beauty with atmospherics, syncopated beats, Yoruban panache, and Afro-pop soul for a five-minute slice of aural heaven.  The catchy melody is more akin to the music of northeast Africa, but that does not affect the outcome on “Alantere…In Search Of Bliss.”  The upbeat song is littered with happy sounds and danceable melodies that will never get old.  Fans of Afro-pop and soul will love the contemporary roots displayed by G-Fresh.  Additionally, the reggae-like beat is infectious and memorable.  Five stars are not enough for this one.

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)

 

Race Against Fate/“Casually Leave”

17 Feb, 2014 Matthew Forss

The Canadian pop-rock group influenced by some South Asian string and drum arrangements, Race Against Fate, showcases their best on “Casually Leave”.  The song employs the talent of Vik Kapur on vocals and electric sitar, Morgan Doctor on drums and tabla, Scott Nelson on guitars, Mark Coradetti on bass guitar, Y. Karkason on Hammond organ, and Mark Morgan on trumpet. .

“Casually Leave” opens with a few tabla beats and drums with electric sitar sounds and reverberating Hammond organ noises.  Vik Kapur’s lead vocals move the song into musical dimensions akin to Venice, Sister Hazel, and Toad The Wet Sprocket.  The backbeat mirrors that of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” which was popularized on the CSI New York television shows as a theme song.  However, there is no direct correlation between that song and “Casually Leave”—only a resemblance.  The chorus sparkles with glistening guitars, pop-rock drums, and scintillating bass-lines that harkens back to the days of the 1960s or 70s folk-rock music.  The music flows with such melody and rhythm with tabla, bass, electric sitar, drums, and Hammond organ sounds throughout.  The final chorus adds a few trumpet blurts to give it a classy, somewhat jazz vein.

“Casually Leave” is a four-minute pop-rock song with a mix of interesting sounds that suggest a South Asian presence that is clearly North American pop with a jingly guitar base.  The various sounds and instruments create a mesmerizing and engaging musical experience.  The pop song is very textured and unforgettable.  The roots-infused, pop-rock concoction is influenced by South Asian elements all composed in a Canadian context.  If you had to choose one song to listen to this year; it better be “Casually Leave”.

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)

 

Carlos de Nicaragua y Familia, Vamos…Siempre Pa’lante

31 Jan, 2014 Matthew Forss

Nicaraguan-born and France-based, Carlos de Nicaragua y Familia brings together an insightful mix of jazzy, reggae-tinged compositions with a Caribbean and Latin flavor that is anything but boring.  Vamos…Siempre Pa’lante represents a great cross-section of music with only three compositions.  The music is rich with party-like vocals and ambiances that possess strong roots, salsa, urban, and alternative leanings.

“Militante” opens with a reggae beat, swishy percussion, and party-vibe vocalizations.  The guitar ripples along with the music beat.  The swishy percussion and throaty reggae vocals travel along in a zippy manner that is outgoing, effervescent, and vibrant.  The back-up vocals accompany the music with a fiery passion encompassing a Latin or salsa edge that bridges the reggae genre with a Spanish, aural tapestry.  The Latin timbales and congas provide a somewhat Cuban arrangement, but that only energizes the music to new heights.  The rhythmic tune and melodic arrangements are very enthusiastic, upbeat, and memorable.

“Gagarin” opens with a space shuttle radio countdown sequence interspersed with a Latin jazzy background that melds into a reggae-soaked medley of alternative rock, funk, and salsa.  There are background vocals that are still reggae-based, but the instrumentation represents a more free-form display of musicianship.  The lead vocals are a bit more edgy than other tracks, but the same musical vein exists.  The free-form electric guitar adornments provide a little different spin on the reggae theme.  The radio countdown at the beginning of the song ends the song.

“Vamos” begins with a static, radio-esque vocal delivery that merges into a mesmerizing cumbia-like beat with several voices and Latin beat flavors.  The upbeat, party-esque music contains a writhing melody full of jazzy nuances, electronica dance elements, and South American ambiances.  The relatively steady beat is lively and rich with percussion and numerous vocals that primarily follow the instrumental beats.  At any rate, the Congo-Latin guitar styles, Latin jazz, world dance, and swishy percussion sounds cement Carlos de Nicaragua y Familia’s name in the world of innovative and contemporary music.

Carlos de Nicaragua y Familia combines the reggae sounds of the Caribbean with the Latin, salsa, jazz, and alternative rock music forms indicative of Latin America and North America for a truly remarkable musical journey.  The tunes are relatively varied and engaging without the need for pop hooks or pointless dance beats.  Luckily, Carlos realizes the musical potential of reggae beats, Latin rock, and jazzy influences by using them in the music in appropriate ways. The end result is a fantastic medley of sounds and a colorful example of ingenious music-making gone right.
Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)

Adam De Lucia’s Tektonics, Robot Sex Machine

24 Dec, 2013 Matthew Forss

New Jersey-based musician, composer and producer, Adam De Lucia, traverses the jazzy, experimental, and new age side of electronica with additional accompaniment on guitar, sax, drums, samples, and keyboards. The music is wholly instrumental and a MIDI programmer’s dream.  The lush and vibrant sounds are smooth, contemplative, and inspiring.  This is an eleven-track release with tracks ranging from three to five minutes in length.

“Carousel” begins with a bubbly bass line and tinny guitar notes that allow a jazzy piano line to bring a classy, instrumental feeling to the mix.  The drums are also steeped in jazzy ambiance. The smooth bass and punchy piano combines with the innovative guitar work, which results in a rich compendium of sounds that never get old or dull.  The melody is quite catchy in parts.  The guitar takes on a bluesy and almost Southern edge amidst a jazzy backdrop.  Mid-song, the drums pick up tempo and the piano sounds accelerate a bit, while the bass keeps everything in tune.

The song “6 Day Regimen” opens with a booming bass line, edgy drums, and sparkling guitar sounds.  The instrumental set-up is very catchy with a relatively steady rhythm.  However, the drum and sax solo awakens a jazz-inspired scenario that is classy, inventive, and free-flowing mid-song. The guitar sounds are not heavy, as well as the drum beats.  The entire masterpiece contains some psychedelic elements, but the sax-driven jazz and smooth bass sounds provide a signature sound for the track.

“The Far Groove” begins with an amped-up, hyper-speed bass guitar delivery that is anything but slow.  The drums accompany the track with equal intensity.  The music is punchy and a little repetitive early on.  The bass tempo changes a bit later on and the melody arrangements are more diverse.  However, the real winner here is the amazing speed of playing the instruments.  This is groovy, experimental, and hyper-charged to the core.

“The Dream” opens with jazzy horn sounds, a rollicking bass line, fast guitar playing, and speedy drum beats.  The punchy jazz sounds and throwback, cinematic appeal suggests a suspenseful scene from any of the old James Bond film soundtracks.  There is almost a futuristic edge to the melodic arrangements that is very industrial and mechanical.  The cyclic musical patterns change throughout the song.  It is a bit of chip-tune with experimental jazz and new age idioms.  It is almost two or three different songs in one, which may accurately reflect the title, as dreams often float from one event or image to another rather abruptly.

“Caution (Rise Of The Tyrant)” is an up-tempo jazz tune with crystalline keys, meandering bass lines, and booming drum beats.  The rippling guitar sounds are joined with a bit of cinematic strings in an almost surf beat rhythm.  The guitar allows the bass to showcase its fast-picking capabilities near the end of the song.  At any rate, Adam De Lucia brings together a wide-ranging musical repertoire in a catchy, upbeat and memorable concoction.

Adam De Lucia’s new eleven-track release, Robot Sex Machine, takes instrumental innovation to the next level with punchy beats, cinematic jazz, and new age electronica that leave a lasting impression wherever it is played.  The hyper-speed delivery on some of the tunes reflects a skilled performer and musical visionary.  The instrumental songs are varied and reflect a good use of MIDI programming, guitar work, jazzy horns, drum beats, and electronic embellishments.  Fans of new age, futuristic jazz, chip-tune, and creative fusion will love Adam De Lucia’s Tektonics’ new album, Robot Sex Machine.

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)

 

Rick Galloway, Head Of The Line

25 Nov, 2013 Matthew Forss

Steeped in blues, folk, country, and alternative, Head Of The Line is an album the features a collection of heartfelt songs and stirring melodies from Baltimore, Maryland-native, Rick Galloway.  Rick is a vocalist and guitarist, but bass guitar, drums, lead guitar, harmonica, baritone guitar, and electric piano instruments make an appearance throughout.  The down-home rhythms, melodies, and lyrics showcase a diverse, yet authentic, folk music repertoire that conjures up nostalgic moments that are never too showy.

“Living Dead (Sunday Morning)” begins with a swaying, bluesy guitar with Rick on lead vocals and a folksy drum beat parades along with Tammy Hutchisen’s back-up vocals in the chorus. The swishy percussion, bluesy rhythm, and electric guitar shimmer with bluesy and folksy delight.  This is a more of a classic country song without the characteristic vocal twang.  There is almost a jaunty, swing melody that propels it along.  At any rate, the instruments and vocals are great throughout.

“Bottom Line Layoff” opens with vocals and a few guitar chords that incorporate a swishy percussion beat and jaunty rhythm.  There are electric guitar sounds that ripple with folksy exuberance.  The jangly guitars and percussion provides a folksy melody without country twang. There is a bluesy element to the beat, as it saunters along with a pervasive existence.  The lyrically-direct song describes a layoff with powerful lead vocals that completes the song with a high degree of believability.

“Late Night Westerns” begins with a sauntering, nostalgic, Western melody with rickety percussion, wavering harmonica sounds, and a radio-esque sound.  After the initial introduction, the bass, guitar, harmonica, and lead vocals kick in with a playful delivery.  This is a folksy song with country elements and spaghetti western ambiance.  The punchy harmonica, back-up vocals, and lyrical wordplay is inventive, catchy, and unforgettable without any deficiencies.

“Lemon Law” opens with a wavering harmonica sound that takes on a bluesy presence, along with percussion and guitars.  Rick’s bluesy vocals laments about lemon law love, as in the same manner as a used car never works quite right.  The ‘lemon law blues’ tune is catchy and free of showy distractions and meaningless lyrics.  Anyone with a passion for blues and folk will love the harmonica, drums, and guitar arrangements here.

“Bernedette” opens with a giddy guitar opener and a punchy harmonica intro.  Rick’s soulful vocals and heady guitar accompaniment makes the melody shine with nostalgic and bluesy tendencies.  The up-beat music represents a good mix of blues, folk, pop, and alternative. Moreover, the harmonica shines in a few spots, as well as the electric guitar.  Overall, the bluesy melody is not too dissimilar from Jace Everett’s vocals.

Rick Galloway’s musical excursions on Head Of The Line are anything but simple and plain.  In fact, Rick’s creative lyrics are something to cherish.  Moreover, the instrumental arrangements are heady, punchy, and innovative.  The music traverses the blues, folk, country, and alternative realms with a little pop thrown in for fun.  Thankfully, the music does not incorporate incessant twangs and redundant melodies.  Instead, Rick knows how to find success with enthusiastic rhythms, engaging melodies, and diverse instrumental arrangements.  The vocals are not overt or unnecessary.  There is a nice mix of lead and back-up vocals that are both male and female, respectively.  The entire album runs approximately forty-five-minutes long over eleven songs. There is nothing to gripe about here.  All of the songs are unique, engaging, and pleasantly-executed.  Fans of Western music, folk music, old time country, blues, alternative, and pop music will love Rick Galloway’s music.

 

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)