Parliament returns with first single in 38 years

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The P-Funk pioneers Parliament have released their first single in 38 years.

“I’m Gon Make U Sick O’Me” is a deeply insatiable, off-kilter bass number which follows the George Clinton-fronted Funkadelic Kendrick Lamar-featured remix of“Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You” and the 2014 album First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate. The new track features Scarface and Clinton who plays a doctor named “Dr. Feel Good,” offering the antidote of “more funk for your ass.”

Clinton hinted during an AMA that a new album, Medicaid Fraud Dog, is in the works. The record’s sound is still up in the air, but Clinton noted that lately he’s been digging Cardi B, Flying Lotus, and would love to “record a song with Kraftwerk.”

Photo Credit: Andrew Mugs David Drummond 

 

N.E.R.D’s self-titled fifth studio album is a chaotic affair rooted in social commentary

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No_one Ever Really Dies: even the acronym by which American funk rock supergroup N.E.R.D — Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley — were founded upon suggests a non-traditional marriage between chic nonchalance and latent sentimentalism. Consider the collective sense of fervid urgency that is currently igniting the veins of millions of disenfranchised American and global citizens, inject a lethal dose of vogue funk and bottle it up in vivacious, supercool packaging: this more or less captures the sonic universe defined on N.E.R.D’s self titled, fifth studio album.

People began taking note of signs posted around Los Angeles and featured at Tyler the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival that read “No One Ever Really Dies” in late October, 2017. A few days later, the N.E.R.D proceeded to release No_one Ever Really Dies’ lead single “Lemon” before debuting the full LP a few days later at ComplexCon. It marks the first release for the famed group since 2010’s Nothing.

Since their inception, N.E.R.D has been raveled in collective confusion — not undue to their own struggles in defining their own artistic focus. The group’s first album, In Search Of, was originally produced digitally, but was pulled from the shelves of record stores worldwide and re-recorded utilizing live instrumentation from the rock band known as Spymob. Its re-release was met with ubiquitous disapproval from critics, giving way to another two albums plagued by their supposed failure to define a singular style.

Perhaps N.E.R.D’s first three albums were simply misunderstood by the masses, or maybe they served as quasi “trial and error” sessions in which the group refined their own characteristic style. One thing is certain: the outfit’s production M.O has always strayed from the traditional linear structure. Each of N.E.R.D’s five studio albums see them taking increasingly audacious risks, and No_one Ever Really Dies looks to be their most rewarding effort yet.

It kicks off with the exuberant frenzy that is “Lemon,” featuring one of contemporary pop music’s most exalted figures: Rihanna. The 29-year-old global superstar bops from verse to verse with palpable swagger, as if she’s playing pop-scotch on the red carpet.

“Lemon’s” sample of a man yelling “wait a minute” is former United States Senator, Arlen Specter, at a 2009 Pennsylvania town hall meeting while “shout out to them people” and “mad ethnic right now” are both phrases sampled from a viral twitter video originally posted by a rapper by the name of Retch. As the record bounces between verses, it usurps the listener with its dazzling flow. Before long, the project’s focus begins to take root.

Much like adjacent industry colleagues Gorillaz, N.E.R.D’s propensity to showcase a plethora of contemporary styles runs the risk of seeming misconstrued, pulling away from the album’s central focus; some would argue that such overbearing features can make such a project seem disjointed, but it pays off on No_one Ever Really Dies. Rather than cloud the group’s artistic intuition, each embellishment serves an integral purpose in building the stylistic framework by which listeners will contextualize the album.

High profile vignettes from artists like Future, Wale, Gucci Mane, M.I.A, and Frank Ocean imbue the album with a sense of urgency and are an relevant statement about the current musical zeitgeist heading into 2018.

“Voilà,” featuring Gucci Mane and Wale, carries the momentum onward.  Since being released from prison in 2016, Radric Davis — better known by Gucci Mane — has turned a 180. “They think I’m a magician” sings Davis, alluding to the fact that the general public is undoubtedly shocked at his life changes over the last two years, and that many people doubted him along the way. The Atlanta rapper revealed in an interview with TIME that, during his stint in prison, sobriety and exercise helped him lose 90 pounds and get his life back together.

Gucci Mane’s raspy verses are not typically associated with the sparkling funk-verve that characterizes N.E.R.D, but his lyrics add a serene sense of tranquility to the track: “I might pull up on a skateboard with me and P. Hoes gon’ still pay me attention” he raps. Gucci Mane’s fabled status in trap music history is a welcome blessing on “Voilà.”

Pharell picks up the pace immediately afterward with “1000.” Turning a corner, he chants the intro, “Kinetic energy a thousand times higher!” As the drums halt to half speed, morphing into a tribal rythmn, Future belts his verse, “Rick Owens boots, I’m walkin’ on a few thousand” sings the Atlanta trap superstar. “1000” is an honest, yet ostentatious glimpse into the life of some of hip hop’s wealthiest superstars: complete with designer boots, Ferragamo belts, and models in the bed.

Pivoting from the gaudy introspection on “1000,” N.E.R.D moves into outward social commentary at breakneck speed with “Don’t Don’t Do It!” The track, which features the father of modern hip hop, Kendrick Lamar, is a statement detailing the discriminatory behavior of law enforcement and, on a larger scale, society as a whole.

“Pac-man wanna prosecute you. Raise your hand up, and they’ll shoot ya’. Face off, face off.” spits Kendrick Lamar, the beat carrying his conscious rhymes a mile a minute, “Adolf Hitler. Grandkids slayed off. N****s, same rules, same chalk. Different decade, same law.” Lamar’s verse is more than simply an apt statement confronting the malevolent behavior of systemic racism — it’s a warning call. “Soon or later sides gon’ switch. You know Johnny got that itch,” raps Lamar, “How many more of us gotta see the coroner? Slain by the same badge, stop, wait, brake, fast!”

N.E.R.D’s ability to pivot from effervescent dance jams to socially-conscious funk ballads at headlong speeds — all the while utilizing atmospheric transitions and carbonated beat change ups — is mesmerizing. No_one Ever Really Dies seems to weave into one theme and out of another before the listener can make the conscious realization that the song’s structure had changed. The album’s biggest success is its mellifluous ability to shape shift and keep listeners engaged the whole way through. Listeners find themselves knee deep into a pop tsunami for one moment, and are catapulted into an incendiary diatribe on today’s current political situation the next.

“It’s crazy out here and right now, what we’re discovering is the truth only matters when it sounds cool. And when it doesn’t sound cool, people just choose to not fucking believe it,” explained Pharell during the album’s listening session. “So, that’s how they’re gonna use their minds. We need to use our minds a little bit stronger.”

Nearing the end of the album, N.E.R.D orchestrate a symphonic finish — complete with features from such fabled artists as Andre 3000 and, to a lesser extent, Ed Sheeran. “Rollinem 7’s” lyrics stream from the Outkast co-founder’s mouth in effortless fashion.

The combination of M.I.A and Kendrick Lamar on “Kites” is a further testament to N.E.R.D’s versatility and their ability to mold to fit any of the featuring artists’styles.”I’m letting off kites over barriers” sings M.I.A, the Sri Lankan avant pop legend alludes to the absurdity of nation’s having borders. Her ultimate goal, like other artists’ on the LP, is to make music that transcends the unavailing barriers that serve only to divide us as a human race.

Consistent with M.I.A’s verse, N.E.R.D’s newest album is a virtuosic, funk driven house party rooted in social and political commentary. Rather than serve as purely an escape, No_One Ever Really Dies acts as an atmospheric groove that exists entirely within the gloomy corners of the current political period. N.E.R.D is back to inspire change in provocative fashion, and their fifth project is a chaotic affair deeply rooted in the ongoing narrative of social progress.

 

 

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Throttle and Niko the Kid unite on Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dogg’s hit collaboration ‘Signs’

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Spinnin’ Records recruit Throttle is by all accounts closing out a breakout year, but as 2017 draws to a close, the Aussie beatmaker has one more gift up his sleeve as the “icing on the cake.” Teaming up once again with Atlanta’s Niko the Kid, the pair have joined forces on a new remix, honing in on some early 2000’s pop as the groundwork for their latest tag team.

Their target this time around was Snoop Dogg and Justin Timberlake‘s 2004 radio smash “Signs,” which sees them take the original’s glitzy disco-pop/rap crossover appeal and add some UK-garage-inspired flare. In essence, they’ve flipped the once radio-ready hip-hop select into a now certified dance floor ace.

The now nearly-vintage original cut landed on Snoop’s seventh studio LP, R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece. Upping the tempo considerably on the remix, Throttle and Niko work the original’s rich vocal samples into their own absolutely infectious house beat, breathing new life into one of Snoop’s better departures from west coast rap. Best of all, they’re giving away their new remix completely free of charge. Enjoy.

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Flamingosis & Ehiorobo – Stowed Away

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Aaron Velasquez, better known as Flamingosis, has released his collaborative single with singer Ehiorobo. The moniker “Flamingosis” derives from a freestyle frisbee move that Velasquez’ father invented. The New Jersey based funk producer is heavily influenced by such genre defining beat makers as J Dilla, Flying Lotus, and Madlib.
“Stowed Away” is a sonic experimentation in synthesizing traditionally instrumental, uplifting funk beats with fervent vocals from Ehiorobo. Laying the groundwork for the track, Velasquez layers a sonic landscape in which synths preside over forthright drum samples.
The track is based around foundational synths that draw from a nostalgic past; Ehiorobo’s dulcet vocal aesthetic is like chocolate wrapping the fruit of Velasquez production labor. “Think alt R&B meets Langston Hughes, meets Slime Time Live, meets a Nigerian boy,” reads Ehiorobo’s digital biography.
Bite into “Stowed Away” and you’ll taste a melody of intertwined synths, melodic vocals, and an overall masterful construction of sonic beauty that invades every taste bud.

 

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Chris Lake flips Chromeo’s ‘Juice’ into a certified club burner

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Chromeo are coming back strong in 2018 with the announcement of their next studio LP, Head Over Heelsand they’ve already teased fans with some fresh funk from the upcoming record with a leggy lead single “Juice.” The new track is quintessential Chromeo, tongue-in-cheek 80’s-inspired synth pop with a tasty singalong hook, though now the duo’s latest is being blessed by UK house legend Chris Lake with a funky remix primed for late night DJ sets.

Swapping out the original mix’s sunkist pop appeal for a more club-leaning vibe, Chris Lake proctors a quirky new remix of “Juice” that complements the original, turning up the four-on-the-floor house thump. Holding onto the original’s vocoded groove, Lake adds some crisp percussive flair and modified guitar chords throughout, making for an aced remix effort that’s likely to lead to an official rework package soon to follow.

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MUST LISTEN: Jackmaster’s end of year Mastermix is here

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Just in time for the weekend and the holidays around the corner, Jackmaster has shared his end-of-year Mastermix. Steeped in funk and oozing delectable disco anthems, the dynamic mix is masterfully crafted.

Beginning in 2009, Jackmaster’s Mastermixes have since become an institution in the dance music world. This year, in near two hours, Jackmaster offers but a taste of the underground acid house-tinged basslines, thumping techno, and disco amalgamations the Glasgow act has long exuded.

Between its vociferous disco diva proclamations, perpetually escalating groove, concise cadence, and impassioned funk, the mix is an idiosyncratic testament to an exceptional artist’s growth and felicitously unpredictable tendencies.

Photo Credit: Martin Cabrera

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Backwoods unveils initial 2018 line-up, announces move to former Wakarusa grounds

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When Wakarusa announced the cancellation of its annual event due to legal/financial woes, faithful attendees were heartbroken. No longer would they be mining for quartz in the rivers twisting through Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains, stumbling upon waterfalls around every bend, or taking in scenic views of Mulberry Mountain. Wakarusa would become nothing more than a storied legend.

Wakarusa attendees can now revel in the fact that another bass-and-jam-heavy production company has picked up the baton to showcase three full days of “good music, good people, good times.” Such is the driving philosophy behind Backwoods at Mulberry Mountain — which has uprooted it’s gathering place in Shroud, Oklahoma to Middle America’s storied venue for it’s third annual event — taking place April 20–24, 2018.

Backwoods has earned a reputation of showcasing some of the country’s top rising electronic talent, alongside nationally-renowned artists, stunning visual production, and now has the shiny allure of a gem venue. Included in the phase one line-up are headliners STS9 and The Floozies, alongside jam band heavy weights Papadosio, All Good Records‘ very own Sunsquabi, and electro-funk rising stars Zoogma. The bill include a heavy helping of bass music with Figure, Space Jesus, Yheti, and a very special late night series from ThazDope Records, and more.

Attendees can also take advantage of activities such as helicopter rides, hoop workshops, yoga classes, interactive art installations, and a vast array of food and shopping vendors. Limited pre-sale tickets are on sale now, starting at $184 with the option of pre-party and RV upgrades.

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Gramatik goes public with his new cryptocurrency, builds a $9 million GRMTK entertainment economy

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One month has passed since Gramatik announced his very own cryptocurrency, alongside the release of his fourth EP project, Re:Coil Pt. 1. In so doing, the technologically inclined electro-funk producer made a historic move in becoming the first artist to have his intellectual property tokenized, thereby creating a new funding model for artist-fan relationships.

“Embedded in the GRMTK token is not only the rights and royalties of my creations, but the ideals and philosophy of freedom and liberty for all artists, for all people. This is a movement of not only art, but of the mind and of the spirit.”

At the 24-hour launch party for his GRMTK coin, which took place in Zurich on November 9, Gramatik raised $2.48 million (7500 ETH). 25% of the total tokens were released in the token sale, and sold-out within 24hrs, putting the total valuation of his burgeoning GRMTK entertainment economy at $9 million. Fans purchasing coin shares will now have a stake in the revenue of his work as he produces music and scores films.

“GRMTK isn’t just a cryptocurrency, it’s much more than that, now my audience can share in my inspiration and…anything I create and distribute on my upcoming channel.”

Gramatik hopes to revolutionize the music and blockchain spheres, showing the world the fundraising potential of artist tokenization. “Even the big names with massive worldwide fan bases like Skrillex have an interest in creating without intermediaries, getting rid of major labels when they’re not helping,” says Gramatik.

Watch the launch party livestream (above) via the decentralized entertainment channel, Singular DTV.

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Big Gigantic release annual ‘Winter Chill Mix’ Vol. 4 [Free Download]

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With the advent of winter comes a dearth of the massive festivals that define the warmer months so thoroughly. Luckily for those in the dance music community, the colder months often bring some new fiery, high-profile mixes to warm the soul. From RL Grime’s chilling Halloween IV mix to Excision’s heated Shambhala mix (out November 21), artists are drawn to this time of year to release a sort of literary catalog of their growth and closure from certain sonic elements.

Big Gigantic is one of those few electronic acts who’ve only continued to rise to new heights in 2017. The Colorado-based duo comprised of Jeremy Salken and Dominic Lalli have sold out their sixth annual Rowdytown event at Red Rocks, released a full remix album of their 2016 Brighter Future project, and made time this summer to get personal with DA.

The fourth installment of their “Winter Chill Mix” is a funky, fun collection of sounds to match the season — complete with changing tempos, smooth saxophone transitions from Dom, and a hip-hop groove appeal that is a gift to any holiday party this year. From the Big G’s inclusion of Hayden James‘ chilling ballad “Numb” to their very own ID remix of Alina Baraz and Khalid‘s “Electric,” the full mix signals a tempered and soothing take on what was and what is to come on the horizon of their growth and change.

Tracklist:
Heatweaver – Jaw Gems
Numb (feat. GRACE) – Hayden James
Stay Close – Anth M
Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man (Nikö Blank Remix)
Braindrain – Sun Parade
Promises (feat. Noah Slee) – Ben Esser
Flight Of The Flamingo – Flamingosis
Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues – SAFIA
Closer (feat. Jennie A.) – Lemaitre
Bring The Funk Back – Big Gigantic (The Geek x Vrv Remix)
Electric (feat. Khalid) – Alina Baraz (ID remix)
No Fear – DeJ Loaf
Hands (feat. Denai Moore) – Point Point
C’mon (feat. GRiZ) – Big Gigantic (Cloudchord Remix)
South Of The River – Tom Misch
Am I Wrong (feat. Schoolboy Q) – Anderson Paak
Walk With Me (feat. KUČKA) – Cosmo’s Midnight
Over & Under – Party Pupils
Side King – Jaw Gems (Dom Sax Outro mix)

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Pomo remixes Hall & Oates’ classic ‘I Can’t Go For That’

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Canadian producer and multi-instrumentalist Pomo has released his contemporary development of Hall & Oates‘ smash hit of ’81, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),’ via Ultra Music. The original track, released amid Hall and Oats’s salad days, marked the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame duo’s fourth number-one hit on the Billboard Top 100.

Pomo, known for blending elements of hip-hop, house, and funk, officially emerged on the scene in 2016 with his debut EP, The Other Day, which netted him a Juno Award.

Pomo’s rendition of “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” demonstrates how modern innovation to a classic can be tastefully executed. Pomo’s production succeeds in highlighting, as opposed to suppressing, the original track’s funky lifeblood. Still especially discernible is Hall & Oats’s groovy bass work and guitar chords, emanating through Pomo’s implemented house beat and considerable autotune.

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