Here is one of the many posts that have been waiting in line for months and that I absolutely wanted to share with you. I guess “newness for your ears” may be replaced by “long overdue” in some instances, but as I stated several times on this blog already, better late than never… Why did I want to tell you about this project that came out several months ago? Well, it’s quite simple: few artists have this capacity to blow me away on first listen. K.I.N.E.T.I.K. is one of those. If you are not yet familiar with him and his music, then I consider it my mission to get you acquainted. I first discovered him when he was part of Grand Central, one of the most famous hip-hop duos in London, and I have followed his adventures ever since (however late I was). After seeing him on stage when the group opened for Black Milk during one of his shows in the English capital, I was impressed by his flow, witty rhymes and energy. While the dynamics in Grand Central worked quite well, I have to admit I’ve always preferred his solo endeavours and I was happy to learn he was still working very hard after the split, releasing projects and videos on a regular basis. The latest to date is the one I will now tell you more about, the last instalment in his album series, The Kinesis Thesis Vol. III.
Whereas many talented MCs and producers stand out from the crowd in my opinion, a handful amaze me with the quality of their writing, flow and concepts. With the three volumes of his Kinesis Thesis, K.I.N.E.T.I.K. presents a very interesting project that is both deeply personal and universal. Dealing with past experiences, family, love but also society and its ills, the MC provides the listener with food for thought while making their head nod. For this last release, he surrounded himself with some of the most talented MCs and producers the UK counts, which obviously gives great results. Whether it is anthem-like tracks (Here we go, Year of the underdog), positive statements (Flying high), personal and intimate tales (Gone, See the sun, Fatherhood) or social analysis (Products of the city), K.I.N.E.T.I.K. excels at touching the listeners by making it easy for them to relate to his words. For the writer that I am, words are very important and it’s always a pleasure to witness the artist’s impressive lyrical skills. Both a realist and an optimist, the MC infuses his music with an honesty and intelligence that are highly refreshing. Placed at the very end of the project, the track that sums up the whole Kinesis Thesis series is one of the best examples of K.I.N.E.T.I.K.’s mastery in terms of flow and lyrics. Number 3 never ceases to amaze me, especially because of the great amount of knowledge it is filled with. Explaining the concept of the three albums in a very creative way and making it easier for the listeners to understand his thought process, the MC closes the chapter in the best way possible. The good news is, he doesn’t seem to be willing to stop anytime soon, which means I will probably tell you about him again in the near future. In the meantime, catch up on all volumes of the series if you don’t have them already.
You can download The Kinesis Thesis Vol. III on K.I.N.E.T.I.K.’s Bandcamp, or simply by clicking on the link below.
Now that you know more about K.I.N.E.T.I.K. and his latest album, you can enjoy the visuals! Here is one of my favourite tracks and videos, the very positive Flying high.
Another great track in a different genre, Products of the city life presents a somewhat grim but realistic picture of what life in London can be like. The visuals only enhance the lyrics and could almost make me miss the capital…
Ladies and gentlemen, The Wonderful World of Carminelitta is back (again)! I know, I know… I guess there’s no denying the obvious: life has been hectic and my mind elsewhere in the past months, and despite a vague desire to update the blog more regularly and start sharing some music with you again, I was simply not in a space where I felt motivated and inspired enough to do it. After a few attempts which proved to be short-lived, I’m giving it a new try. Many posts are waiting in line, but for tonight, I thought some smooth French soul would be appropriate.
I told you about Aldrick on two occasions, first for his collaboration with French spoken word artist JLS on the album DES MOTS [dé]NOTENT, and second with his acapella EP Dans Ma Chambre. As I already explained then, Aldrick is part of the numerous artists I discovered on MySpace in what seems to be another digital lifetime and I’ve always appreciated his voice, his style and sense of humour. After giving us those very appetising teasers, the French singer finally delivered a long-awaited debut album back in May. While I tend to listen mainly to American artists, as well as a few from the UK, I have to admit I have overlooked artists from my own country for the most part of the last years. When I discover albums like Histoire de…, I am reminded of how much talent France has nurtured and I am therefore tempted to go back to listening to more “homegrown” music. Aldrick is clearly among my favourites and the album is yet another confirmation of his skills.
An eclectic collection of songs that range from dancefloor-friendly, feel-good music (Bouge) to stripped down vocal prowesses (Tous les garçons et les filles) or straight emotional soul (Come back, Je t’aime) and sensual invitations (Bodytalk), among others, Histoire de… constitutes a very comprehensive introduction to Aldrick’s universe. As the cover artwork illustrates, the singer offers us different sides of his personality and moods, appealing to different people or matching various moments in the day or life. As a whole, the album is extremely satisfying and calls for repeated listens, both for the incredible smoothness of Aldrick’s voice and the well-written, heartfelt lyrics. Listening to it now, I am drawn mostly to the most intimate songs, especially the aforementioned Come back and Je t’aime, as well as Rester gravé, but I know that at other times I can be attracted to the blunt but borderline funny Franchement tu m’énerves, which was one of the first songs I ever heard from him, or even the beautiful ode to his mother that is Y en a qu’une.
As usual when talking about French artists to an audience that is mostly from the States, I will have to say that while understanding the words is quite important, you can still appreciate the beautiful music and atmosphere created by the various songs. Highly influenced by soul, Histoire de… is also sprinkled with different other elements, making it a musical melting-pot and testimony to Aldrick’s own complexity and varied inspirations.
All that is left to say now is, do yourself a favour and treat your ears to some high quality French soul. You won’t be disappointed.
You can grab Histoire de… on (among others). Once you placed your order, enjoy the official video for the first single, Franchement tu m’énerves. The visuals really respect the lyrics and spirit of the song, which should make it easy for you to understand what’s going on. Enjoy and spread the word!
Tonight was one of the best nights I’ve had in a very long time and I feel that sharing it with you and FINALLY updating the blog is probably the best way to keep celebrating. I won’t go into too many details about the reasons why I have been M.I.A. for so long but let’s just say that one of them was a general lack of inspiration and motivation. You know, shit happens (excuse my French). Tonight though, I feel a renewed sense of belonging, a revived faith in the power of music and desire to share it through my words. It all started with a long overdue meet-up with my Word Is Bond family before the gig. Obviously you don’t really care about my personal life, but all I wanted to say is that it was a breath of fresh air for my mind and everyone’s motivation and excitation was contagious. It’s difficult to feel down and idle when you are surrounded by people who are so active and enthusiastic about what they do. They reminded me about myself when I started the blog and I finally got a glimpse of hope, reminding me that everything was still there, waiting for me to be ready again. The time has come, ladies and gentlemen, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
Now, the best part of the night was of course seeing Oddisee on stage for the first time and I have to say I am still high and energised by the amazing show I witnessed. Oddisee is an artist I have a lot of respect and appreciation for, even though I don’t know all about his career and releases. While I am more familiar with the producer than the MC I have always enjoyed all the music I heard from him and I was really anticipating witnessing his “live” prowesses. Not only did he blow my mind with his lyrical dexterity, but he also exuded an incredible positive energy that made it impossible for me not to smile and enjoy myself. Sharing the stage with amazing musicians who also happen to be some of his best friends, he created a very intimate but welcoming vibe that allowed everyone to feel like they were part of a family. I don’t go to too many hip-hop shows, especially these days, but this one reminded me of the time I saw Ty (also at the Jazz Café), in terms of exchange with the audience. The whole point of doing a live show is to get to share with your listeners and it is always wonderful to feel uplifted by the music and to have your mind, body and soul moved by the artists and their energy.
I didn’t know all of the songs he did tonight, but whether I recognised them or not, I was equally entertained and touched, unable to suppress smiles and head nods for the whole duration of the show. In addition to Oddisee’s perfectly seamless and versatile flow, which was most breathtaking during his freestyles, as well as his lyrical mastery, what really impressed me was the quality of the live band. All the musicians were not only truly gifted, but they had smiles on their faces and danced all through the evening.
Special mention to Olivier Daysoul, incredible musician and vocalist who really blew me away. I knew about him and already loved his music, but seeing him doing his thing on stage made me appreciate him all the more. His cover of MJ’s Can’t help it was on point, as was his revamped version of Long Distance Relationship. Also, as a very nice surprise, the legendary Omar blessed the mic for a song and made the night even more memorable for me. Last but not least (actually first guest of the night), UK MC Tranqill really impressed me with his rhymes and flow, leaving me wanting more. Going back to the very start of the evening at Jazz Café, I need to give props to Eric Lau who was on DJ duty and set the mood just right with an excellent blend of soulful hip-hop that allowed me to get an early start on the head nod. All in all, this was one of the best concerts I have ever attended and probably a life-changing moment (no, I am not exaggerating).
Since I forgot to bring my camera recorder, I will leave you with “non-live” music from Oddisee and urge you to go see him if he is coming to a town near you. Enjoy and don’t forget to support his music. My signed copy of Rock Creek Park on vinyl makes me happy and it should do the same for you, even if it’s not signed and it’s not mine. You can also get People Hear What They See via Mello Music Group.
Alexis Davis is the combination of the wonderful talents of DJs Spinnerty and Simon S, producer Mecca:83 and MC Replife. Having known each other for several years and collaborated on various projects, the four of them decided to create a group and give birth to a common project. Living on both sites of the Atlantic ocean, they prove that music is truly universal and can cross boundaries, physical or metaphorical. While I have not followed those guys since the beginning of their career, I greatly appreciate every single project I have heard from them and it was therefore a great pleasure for me to discover their group and brand-new EP, 3, released via the newly created Expansions Collective. The project is clearly among my favourites for 2012 and I am really happy to have had the opportunity to connect with them and do this audio interview. Thanks to technology, we were able to have a conference call where they told me more about the origins of the group, the creative process behind the 3 EP, the importance of having fun while tackling serious social issues, and much more. This lengthy, in-depth interview is among the best I have ever done and I am really grateful for all of them to have taken some time to sit down and have a chat with me. In case you haven’t picked up the 3 EP yet, I highly recommend you do so. This interview should be enough to convince you anyway.
Now that you know more about Alexis Davis, discover this EPK where they introduce you to their universe and explain what the whole project is all about.
Finally, in case you haven’t listened to it yet, it is high time you discover Alexis Davis debut EP, the incredible 3. You can buy the digital version on and Bandcamp, where CDs are also available. Enjoy and spread the word!
I already told you about my recent trip to Berlin with the Nomad•ness Travel Tribe and I am very happy to say I met amazing people there, most of which share interests with me, whether it is writing, music or blogging. Keisha aka TastyKeish is among those like-minded people and it was great to see her again in London. Radio host, event organiser, music and fun lover based in NYC, she is also an avid traveller eager to discover the world. While she was in the English capital for a few days, I took the opportunity to chill with her and have a quick chat on camera. She is a very interesting and inspiring individual and it is therefore a pleasure for me to introduce you to her and her positive energy. In this short interview, she talks about her European tour, art and culture in Berlin, some of her future projects and more. Without further delay, let me present to you TastyKeish, in her own words…
Now that you know more about TastyKeish, you can discover the hit of the summer (not to be taken seriously!), Shades In The Dark. Enjoy!
As I mentioned on several occasions before, one of my favourite things in life is to discover new music through artists I appreciate and support. Another thing I love is when I have a chance to collaborate with said artists, but also when MCs and producers I know decide to work together. Now, if you consider John Graham’s new album Magic: Blanc et Noir ticks all the boxes, you will easily understand that it became an instant favourite as soon as I started listening to it. Let me develop all this a bit more… I first heard of John Graham thanks to Prosthetik Intelligentz, a group I greatly appreciate and who used my voice on their project The Sounds & WondersEP with GravityMovement. This lead me not only to become familiar with John’s music but also to be part of his new project. Finally, when I read the tracklist and saw that Shade Cobain and Prosthetik Intelligentz’ very own Doom Got Beats produced some songs on the album, a huge smile appeared on my face. The smile of course remained when I pressed play and discovered the beautiful music they both created.
At a time when many so-called artists rely on public image and trends to be “successful”, it is quite reassuring to know that others still decide to provide the listeners with music that is the result of creative self-expression and hours spent working on their craft and honing their skills. With Magic: Blanc et Noir, John Graham presents a concept album dealing with the constant contradictions and going back and forth you can find in life and within yourself. The introduction by yours truly actually gives you a good idea of what to expect and I am really happy to say that John and I were on the same wave-length when it came to how we considered the album. Clearly one of his most personal and honest works to date, Magic: Blanc et Noir is compelling by its bluntness and willingness to say what others don’t even dare to think.
While some listeners may be taken aback and view some of the tracks as controversial, I can’t but praise the MC’s courage and openness. Among the most striking examples I could cite is Uncivil Rights, where he explains how reality usually differs from what people think or are made to believe in terms of civil rights and equality in the United States. On a more personal note, Not In Love is a heartfelt statement about relationships which is once again a way for John Graham to show how you can never see things only in “noir” or “blanc”. In love and in life, nothing is ever guaranteed and feelings are some of the most difficult things to nurture and maintain. Another track that develops a similar idea wonderfully is Love & War, whose title sums up the message quite well. Deirdra Copeland’s voice is pure beauty and reinforces the emotional appeal of the lyrics. Going even deeper within, Addictions is probably one of the most personal tracks of the album and it is quite impressive to see how the MC is baring his soul. The lovely instrumental only enhances the power of the song and makes it one of my favourites. Another special mention goes to All Seeing Eyes, a beautiful message to his wife and son which clearly didn’t leave me unmoved.
Taking us on a journey through life and love, with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, successes and failures, John Graham never censors himself and offers an authentic and inspiring message of hope despite the hardships. Every single song is a way for the listener to reflect upon society and politics, relationships and family, while enjoying the enchanting soundtrack created by the various producers. More than ever, I am grateful to know so many incredible artists who help me keep faith in the future of music and maybe even humanity…
Now that you know a bit more about Magic: Blanc et Noir, I invite you to listen to and download the album via John Graham’s Bandcamp page, or simply by clicking on the link below. Enjoy and please spread the word!
Catching up on new music after a 2-week break (plus an extended M.I.A. period…) is no easy task, especially when several of my favourite artists decided to drop their gems right when I was away. With that said, I will do my best to share the best with you and as usual I will ask you to bare with me and be patient. As I was listening to various albums waiting in my iTunes this morning, I decided to indulge in Bama Love Soul’s On Deck another time. I already listened to the excellent compilation shortly after it was released but didn’t seize the opportunity to tell you about it earlier. Bama Love Soul is one of my favourite blogs and probably the one I have been following for the longest. While I may not check it out as regularly as I used to, I know I can always count on them to put me on some incredible sonic treasures. Whether I listen to artists I have never heard of before, brand-new tracks I haven’t discovered yet or compilations and mixes by founder DJ Rahdu, I am always extremely happy after I visit the website. When I learned that it was threatened to close due to increased expenses but that supporters/readers could help, I didn’t hesitate and contributed to the Kickstarter campaign they launched. After successfully raising the necessary funds, they finally released one of the most awesome compilations I have listened to in quite a while.
My excitation grew even more rapidly when I read the tracklist for On Deck. With artists like Diggs Duke, Greg Blackman, Nicholas Ryan Gant, Ahmed Sirour, Tall Black Guy or Freddie Joachim, just to name a few, this compilation sounded incredible even before I lent my ears to it. Not only is every single track on here a wonderful piece of music, but the way the album has been arranged creates a natural, smooth flow that makes it very enjoyable. There is clearly a feel-good factor here and I think it is quite impossible not to nod your head and smile while listening to it. In addition to the general positive atmosphere, certain tracks are also quite sensual and turn the compilation into the perfect soundtrack to a late night listening session, preferably in good company. The most appropriate track for this is probably Xolisa’s Be Felt, which was definitely my best discovery on the album. Another special mention goes out to Ahmed Sirour and his BrookLon (BK meets UK) which confirms his place at the top of my favourite producers list. I could actually go on and mention every single track selected for the compilation, as they are all special and wonderful in their own way. What I will do instead is encourage you to get your hands on the vinyl, CD or even digital download and enjoy the journey. You will not regret it, trust me.
You can purchase On Deck via Bama Love Soul’s Bandcamp page or by clicking on the link below. For more information about the compilation, you can also visit Bama Love Soul. Enjoy & spread the word!
Sometimes words are not relevant or strong enough to express thoughts and feelings, but this trip in Berlin with the Nomad•ness Tribe was so incredible on so many levels that I couldn’t not share some of it with you. I know this is not (entirely) music related, but travel is taking a more and more important part in my life and since it’s part of my “world”, I may as well share it (plus, there is also music involved). I already told you about the Nomad•ness Travel Tribe when I featured my interview with Evita Robinson, founder of NomadnessTV.com and the Tribe, and I was extremely excited and happy to finally meet her and be part of this Nomad•nessX Trip to the German capital. It could have not happened due to some personal issues, but I believe it was meant to be and I was eventually able to take part in what was one of the major trips/life changing moments of my short existence.
After meeting four members of the Tribe at a London meet-up, I flew to Berlin on June 30th and was welcomed by a very London-like weather that consisted of a downpour, wind and chilly temperatures. Not taking this as an omen, I was simply happy to be there and looked forward to what was to come. Exhausted and hungry, the US/London crew and I arrived at the hostel a little while later, dreaming of food, a good shower and sleep. After we satisfied those basic needs, we felt better and ready to explore the city. I will not offer a complete, day-to-day account of our activities, but the first two days were quite intense with a bike ride to the Berlin wall, a visit of Tacheles, an abandoned building that become home to some artists and is threatened to be closed by the government, as well as a stroll in the streets of Berlin. I may not be a veteran traveller but there is something about Berlin that I’ve never experienced anywhere else.
Ghosts of the past are of course heavily imprinted in the architecture, memorials and the Wall, but there is also a desire to live for the present and move forward. A contradiction that I found quite interesting was the presence of a strong punk culture and the importance of street art existing side by side with impressive monuments and classical architecture (the Domo, museums, Brandenburg Gate, etc.). Berlin is a multi-faceted city and I really enjoyed exploring its different sides even if I feel I could have dug much deeper than I did. Many things happened during this week but the randomness and craziness of it could be summed up with a few highlights that included a visit to a reggae club, a gothic bar where I danced like no one was watching, my first bowling experience, a breakdance show on Alexanderplatz, discovering Swag on stage (their music is as amazing as the name is blah) or an impromptu after party at the Döner spot (video below).
One of the most amazing things about this trip though, in addition to the actual visit and discovery of Berlin, was meeting members of the Nomad•ness Travel Tribe. I have followed Evita Robinson for over two years now and it was great to finally meet her in person. As for other members, they are all as amazing, crazy, generous and inspiring as I imagined them to be and that made the trip one to remember. It was the first time I was going on a trip with the Tribe but it will definitely not be the last and I also discovered that I love travel even more that I thought. New trips are on the horizon for me in the near future and I am very grateful to Evie for inviting me in the group in the first place and for every fellow traveller for making me feel part of a family. This journey was exactly what I needed at this point in my life and it offered me greater clarity as well as renewed inspiration and motivation. I want to give thanks to everyone involved and I look forward to more!
Now that you know a bit more about my trip to Berlin, discover this video with pictures and recordings taken at the Berlin Wall, Tacheles and around the city. You can watch more videos on the Nomad•ness Travel Tribe YouTube channel.
After a somewhat serious video, let me share some of the utter craziness that happened during the week, with an after party at the Döner spot around Alexanderplatz. I think the visuals speak for themselves… Recorded by Standby Gypsy & myself.
When you’re itching for an exquisite hip hop record, who else to turn to but the wonderful Kev Brown? If you don’t know, Kev Brown is an underground hip hop producer with a sound powerfully resembling the soul-influenced beats of the early-2000s. Last year, Kev decided to team up with rapper Kaimbr and together, they created this masterpiece, The Alexander Green Project. This album resembles everything there is to love about underground hip hop. From the soulful beats and the glorious production Kev Brown assembles, to the true lyricism and vocal power Kaimbr displays, this album is sure to leave you satisfied.
Track after track, The Alexander Green Project is one solid album. With features from Kenn Starr, Sean Born and even Asher Roth on a bonus track, even the guest appearances are perfection. “Gritz” definitely puts on the crown for this album when it comes to top tracks; the horns in the beat and the “bragadoccia” Kaimbr puts on for the track is not overwhelming at all, in fact, it’s very enjoyable. He plays with the rhyme-schemes and proves how talented of a rapper he is without filling every line with corny cliches, or overused metaphors. Then, when the beat drops for “Rapping (feat. Sean Born)” comes in, and the words start pouring out from the two emcees, the low-budget theme of the album gets put in the back of your head because, honestly, you’d rather have it that way. The low-budget theme is very prevalent, but I for one appreciate the amount of skill and pure sound the album has even though it is, indeed “low-budget.”
The album comes to a humble close, and if you’re lucky (and smart) enough, you would have the bonus track titled “More Gritz [Gritz Remix] (feat. Asher Roth & The Kid Daytona)” because this is one of the best tracks on the album – it is a shame it is a bonus track, honestly. I love Asher’s smooth flow and creative rhyme-tactics over the remixed beat done by Kev. The Kid Daytona also provides some ingenious words for your soul. Overall, this album is a true hip hop record and deserves some praise and recognition for the amount of talent that it portrays. This album will definitely make you yearn for more from Kaimbr & Kev Brown.
Below, you can check out the really interesting interview done by Damu on how The Alexander Green Project came to be:
So… it’s been a while, right? I won’t even try to find excuses or justify myself as there is really no valid reason why I have been away for that long, but I want to apologise to the readers of this blog and to the artists for kind of letting them down in the past weeks. I will do my best to catch up on all the things I should have shared for ages and hopefully get back to a normal schedule with regular updates. Now, to get things started the right way, let me tell you about an album I was introduced to a few weeks ago…
Once thing I love is discovering new artists and music, as you may already know. I actually haven’t done any proper research in quite a long time, but I can always count on fellow music lovers and even artists to put me on people I should really not be sleeping on. What happened here was that MC Dewey Decibel, who I told you about several times on Word Is Bond, introduced me to his label mate Fabian Akilles and his video for Comb My Hair (I actually posted this recently in my video updates). I immediately loved the song, its message and the visuals, and was therefore really happy to discover Akilles’ debut album Evil Round That Corner, from which the single is taken. While I usually listen to specific genres of music, I always love letting my ears wander into somewhat unknown territories or discover albums that blend several influences. Evil Round That Corner is among the latter. While you may think that it is just another reggae album as you listen to War, the opening track, you will quickly realise that this would be undermining the variety and eclecticism provided by Fabian Akilles. Every single track seems to go in a different direction, which is a great way to discover the artist and the extent of his skills. Comb My Hair clearly stands out for me, but it is definitely not the only amazing track on this album and the aforementioned War, as well as Think I’m wrong (ironically the most reggae-infused tracks of the album) are also among my favourites. As stated before, the album is a sort of musical melting-pot, mixing genres and moods, but the overall atmosphere is uplifting, encouraging optimism even in the face of adversity and leaves you feeling good, while you nod your head and smile. The constant going back and forth between light and darkness also makes Evil Round That Corner comprehensive and compelling. The last track of the project, Middle of the day, embodies the positive outlook on life that surfaces through the music and lyrics and is quite the perfect way for Fabian Akilles to exit the stage (probably not for too long though, as the 20-something minutes long, 8-track album possesses a high replay factor).
Now that you know a bit more about Fabian Akilles and his debut album Evil Round That Corner, I strongly encourage you to purchase it and spread the word around you. You can get it on but if you want to have a listen first, head to his Soundcloud page or simply click on the link below. Enjoy!