January 31, 2016

Raury - All We Need (Columbia Records)

Also released in the final weeks of 2016, Atlanta-based young singer & songwriter Raury's debut LP also should have been in my 2015 favorites list.
Contrary to Erykah Badu's album-like "mixtape" I just mentioned, All We Need actually smells more like a demo mixtape than a finished debut LP released on a major label (Columbia). This "unfinished", acoustic-like imperfect feeling is what makes it truly touching.
Simple words, nice melodies and a musical frame on the edge of folk, soul, hip-hop and indie world, all combine to design an unpretending laid-back atmosphere. It also alludes to the sound of Uk songwriter Ady Suleiman, a name I often recommended on the blog.

Erykah Badu - But You Cain't Use My Phone (Mixtape)

Sorry for the quiet activity on the blog this month, but I have to say the year started quite slowly for me in terms of musical surprises.
So I'll open 2016 with a couple of late 2015 releases, starting with the one and only nu-soul queen, Eryka Badu.

In my 2015 Favorites selection I mentioned Erykah's cover of Drake's Hotline Bling.
But the lady did not hang up there, she subsequently released an entire concept album/mixtape around the phone addiction allegory. And you'd better make sure to stay on her line, as this record is a pure delight, truthful to her unique sensual sound.

This project was designed and recorded in less than two weeks, with the help of a young Dallas producer (Zach Witness). This sums up Erykah's rare ability to put her artistic forays & feelings first, far away from an often empty R&B/Hip-Hop mainstream road she could have easily embraced considering her notoriety. With several hints at contemporary R&B songs, but also to the late Jay Dilla, But You Cain't Use My Phone is another milestone in her faultless discography. Totally addictive!

December 14, 2015

2015 Favorites

Welcome to Vibes4YourSoul 2015 Favorites, a non-exhaustive list of the records that made a difference for me this year. May this selection inspire you, as well as its two special podcasts/mixtapes (Part1 dwlnd / Part2 dwlnd - tracklisting below).

Lots of love,

Jm / Vibes4YourSoul


Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
(Folk / Asthmatic Kitty Records) 

Who needs drums and bass, when an acoustic guitar, a few vintage keyboard lines, and finely crafted lyrics can weigh so much? Pared down to the bone, Carrie & Lowell strikes right to the heart, even bordering on the sublime when turning sadness and melancholia into a deep feeling of humanity. "I wanna save you from your sorrow" Sufjan sings at some point. Well, he's found a way.

Mocky - Key Change
(Pop, Downtempo / Heavy Sheet Productions) 

Mocky's fifth album, Key Change, is an enchanted interlude floating above the obsolete boundaries dividing downtempo, soul, jazz and pop. The LA-based multi-instrumentalist and producer demonstrates his songwriting talent, as well as his knack for crafting cosy and poetic musical atmospheres. A "feel-good-stamped" moment.

Kamasi Washington - The Epic 
(Jazz / Brainfeeder Records) 

From spiritual Jazz moments, to Pharoah Sanders-like furious musical riots, LA-based Kamasi Washington and his powerful saxophone lead a 20+ musicians pack in an almost 3-hour long journey, that takes you away, far away. A true Jazz masterpiece by one of the most promising Jazz musician of his generation.

Chassol - Big Sun 
(Downtempo / Tricatel records) 
A chorus of birds on a tree, a majestic grandma humming a traditional song, a carnival band jamming...slices of Martinique island life, becoming instruments courtesy of Christophe Chassol sampling & composing magic. More than a vibrant love letter to the artist's familial roots, Big Sun spreads something universal. Following his unforgettable Indiamore, Chassol affirms himself as a true poet of his time.

Beach House - Depression Cherry
(Indie / Sub Pop Records) 

Another faultless release from US duo Beach House, offering more of their addictive melancholic indie sound. Try not to let your thoughts wander while getting caught in their "anthemic" musical landscapes, high-flying keyboards, finely crafted electric guitars-led melodies & Victoria Legrand's dreamy vocals.

Patrick Watson - Love Songs For Robots 
(Indie, Folk / Domino Records) 

Regularly composing music for films, Canadian singer & songwriter Patrick Watson is also the unforgettable vocalist on some of Cinematic Orchestra's most beautiful songs. Truthful to this dreamy & poetic background, his 5th solo album alternates between intimate folk moments and grandiloquent orchestrations full of imagery. An out-of-time pathway tagged with serenity.

Shamir - Ratchet
(Indie, Electro / XL Recordings)

Pop, house, indie, modern disco...Shamir's scattered sound is unclassifiable, so is his fascinating voice, which he likes to refer as a "happy medium" rather than androgynous. So many blurred lines make the young Las Vegas artist debut LP one of the most intriguing music phenomena of these last few months.

José González - Vestiges & Claws
(Folk / Imperial Recordings)

Delicate classical guitar-led melodies and intimate singing are Swedish/Argentinian songwriter José González signature...as well as his remarkable ability to convey intense emotions with an extremely light orchestration. Case in point with his third splendid LP, Vestiges & Claws.

Beirut - No No No
(Pop/Folk / 4AD Records) 

Zach Condon & his Beirut band at their best. Stirring melodies turning into addictive grandiloquent horns-fuelled pop anthems, an emotive roller coaster made of irrepressible joy & sweet melancholy. Yes, yes, yes, you'll want more!

Floating Points - Elaenia
(Ambient, ElectroJazz / Eglo Records)

Already well known for his subtle deep house productions & sure taste for digging old-school grooves, Floating Points (aka Sam Shepard) steps up his game once again to deliver this superb concept record. Lost somewhere between ambient atmospheres, nu-jazz flavours and minimal techno influences, Elaenia is redefining deepness.

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra - Into Forever
(Jazz / Gondwana Records)

For his third and most ambitious Lp to date, Manchester-based trumpeter Matthew Halsall added some vocalists to his organic spiritual Jazz cocktail. Another layer of poetry that'll surely help you find some form of serenity.

Herbert - The Shakes
(Deep House, Electro / Accidental Records)

With The Shakes, his first LP in almost 10 years, Matthew Herbert is once again doing the spadework to open new electronic music routes. A cocktail made of an exotic kaleidoscope of samples, moving vocal featurings, colourful world music influences and his unremitting minimal house rhythmic signature.

 EPs / Beat Tapes

Tom Misch - Beat Tape 2 
(Downtempo, Electro / self-released) 

Regularly releasing warm groovy instrumental pearls for the last couple of years, London-based guitarist & producer Tom Misch stepped up his game in 2015 by also adding beautiful deep-house tracks to his outfit, some of which featuring great vocal featurings. One of the most promising young producer around.

Petite Noir - The King Of Anxiety EP
(Indie, Electro, Pop / Domino Records)

A penetrating soulful voice wrapping up a refined electro/indie sound is how I would define South-African artist Petite Noir promising debut EP. Some parallels with Bloc Party and more recently Shamir, with a more melancholic twist.

Das Komplex - Nowadays EP
(Electro/Pop, Deep House / Father And Sons Records and Tapes)

An impressive debut EP from Polish producer Das Komplex gathering a splendid melancholic track ringing a Cure bell, a soulful slo-mo house anthem hinting at gospel atmospheres, a deep & dark old-school house cut,

Thundercat - The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam EP
(NuJazz, Lo-Fi, Brainfeeder records)
One single bass note is enough to immediately distinguish Californian bassist Thundercat from others. Add the cosmic influences of his inseparable friend Flying Lotus and keyboards legend Herbey Hancock, and you get another remarkable futuristic lo-fi jazz moment.

Kelela - Hallucinogen EP 
(Downtempo, R&B / Warp Records)

LA-based singer Kelela second EP is an incredibly cohesive futuristic soul experience. Her strong voice seems made to wrap syncopated beats and lush pads, to creat the kind of ethereal feelings radiating from Hallucinogen.

Vanilla - Origin (Downtempo, Beats / self-released)

A delightful journey between groove, jazzy hip-hop and lo-fi atmospheres. from UK beatmaker Vanilla. Gathering original compositions and classic soul tracks reworks, spiced up by a collection of finely picked samples, this mostly instrumental collection definitely carries some relaxing attributes.

Ishivu - Gryning Ep 
(Deep House / Trunkfunk Records)

Some deep & minimal vibes from Swedish producer Ishivu. Perfect pace, warm keyboards, the kind of perfect warm-up or late night record that will have you starting to move, without even noticing.

Claptone - The Music Got Me Ep
 & various remixes  (House / Exploited Records)

German producer & DJ Claptone definitely had a hot hands in 2015, releasing several great house tracks with a recognizable powerful rhythmic backbone. The Music Got Me and his remix of Gregory Porter's Liquid Spirit are already classics.

Joakim - Kindness & Todd Terje remixes
(Nudisco, House / Female Energy & Olsen Records)

French producer Joakim has been one of my favorite nudisco/house artist for a while. He scored big again this year with his slo-mo remix of Kindness's Who Do You Love (especially the dub version) and a dancefloor killer remix of Todd Terje's Strandbar.

Drake - Hotline Bling & Erykah Badu cover
(R&B, Cash Money Record)

I'm usually not too much into large commercial US R&B sounds, but I know to make exceptions! Case in point with this addictive single from Drake & its cover by the one and only nu-soul queen, Erykah Badu.

 EDIT of the year

Little Beaver - Groove On (DJ Vas & Soulist Rework)

My favorite edit this year comes from French DJs & producers DJ Vas & Soulist, who gave a "101 groove" masterclass by spicing up this 1980 pearl from US singer & guitarist Willie "Beaver" Hale.


The Chill Part (Indie, Folk, Lo-Fi, Jazz...)
Chassol-BirdsPart I / Mocky-HeadsInTheClouds / PatrickWatson-LoveSongForRobots / DasKomplex-LikeAFish / SufjanStevens-ShouldHaveKnownBetter / BeachHouse-Levitation / JoséGonzález-StoriesWeBuild,StoriesWeTell / Beirut-Gibraltar / PetiteNoir-Chess / Shamir-Vegas / Drake*ErykahBadu-HotlineBling / Kelela-AllTheWayDown / Thundercat-HardTimes / KamasiWashington-LeroyAndLanisha / MatthewHalsall&TheGondwanaOrchestra-OnlyAWoman / Vanilla-Footsteps / TomMisch-TheJourney

The Dance Part (Nudisco, House, Electro...)
LittleBeaver-GrooveOn (DJ Vas&Soulist Rework) / BillieBlack&MuraMasa-ThisSimplePleasure / Kindness-WhoDoYouLove(Joakim Dub Mix) / Xinobi-RealFake(CutSlackRemix) / PurpleDiscoMachine-WhereWeBelong / Selvy-GottaHaveIt / Shamir-OnTheRegular / ToddTerje-Starndbar(JoakimFullLengthMix) / GregoryPorter-LiquidSpirit(ClaptoneRemix) / Herbert-Smart&Middle / TomMisch-BeautifulEscape / Ishivu-Gryning(MattKarmilRemix) / FloatingPoitns-ForMarmish

November 24, 2015

The Cinematic Orchestra - Live in Paris, Le Trianon, 231115

In these particularly trying times in Paris, I got some much needed cinematic magic yesterday, reminding me why the Manchester combo has been my favorite band for more than a decade now.
More importantly, all along this very stirring concert, Jason Swinscoe and his crew made a fantastic case as to why Music, and Art in general, is such an essential element to the human kind. A long-lasting cement holding us together, in the face of the many obscurantist forces around.

Revisiting several of their classics, the band is also taking the opportunity of this tour to unveil several promising new tracks, hopefully signalling a much awaited 2016 new album?

Jason is also introducing several new members to the mix, who perfectly mingle into the Cinematic Orchestra's signature (brilliant new female singers, as well as an incredible pianist). Among the main featurings, an old companion of the combo,singer/guitarist Grey Reverend, but also a great surprise for me with the presence of another of my cherished nu-jazz artists, LA-based violinist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. leading a superb cello/violin trio.

Their tour is pretty short, so check out their upcoming gigs if you do not wanna miss an intense moment of peace and spirituality!

Here are a couple of video extracts to get a feeling of this unforgettable moment. Never mind the poor image quality, just close your eyes...

November 12, 2015

Active Bird Community - I've Been Going Swimming

The relentless rise of the digital era has been a boon for sound engineers & producers of all kinds. If you're good enough at it, a modern DAW software and a MacBook Pro are almost all you need to deliver an almost pro-quality post-prod sound to any musician/band.

As much as I find this tech trend a gift from heaven, I also still enjoy a healthy dose of  "rough" sound, with little (or well hidden) digital add-ons. Especially when we're talking indie rock. Probably my mid 80's/early 90's Uk indie rock side..but I digress.

The whole point of this was to highlight you this beautiful self-released LP from Ny-based band Active Bird Community. A bunch of college friends with an undeniable talent for crafting melancholic indie songs, that you'll find all the more stirring precisely courtesy of their fresh "live-like" recording feel.
I'm thinking early Teenage Fan Club or Blur sound...did I tell you about my Uk indie rock side? Anyway, launch the playlist below, and let it ride, there's a good chance you'll wanna know more about them!

November 11, 2015

Beirut - No No No (4AD Records)

Still catching up with the numerous interesting post-summer releases, I have to recommend you the beautiful 4th LP from Beirut.

No No No will not surprise the fans of Zach Condon's band. It brings more of the same refreshing multicultural folk/pop sound we have become addicted to since his debut, almost 10 years ago.
So get ready for more Beirut-style stirring melodies turning into addictive grandiloquent horns-fuelled pop anthems. Get ready for more Beirut-style emotive roller coaster, left irrepressible joy, right sweet melancholy, rinse & repeat.

Yes, yes, yes, I want more!

A couple of extracts below:

November 10, 2015

Christian Scott - Stretch Music (Ropeadope Records)

Released a few weeks ago, Christian Scott tenth LP is highly recommended to those who like their Nu-jazz wild & adventurous.

In Stretch Music, more than in any of his previous releases, the talented New-Orleans ( now Ny-based) trumpeter digs out a wide range of influences (hip-hop, electro, indie rock...) to colour his powerful free-jazz compositions. Also offering some much deserved space to his talented musicians to forcefully engage with his multiple tailor-made horns, he once again affirms himself as one of the most interesting artist of the contempary Jazz scene.

Extracts below, the album is available on Christian's Bandcamp page.

October 20, 2015

Vanilla - Origin

Self-released last month, UK producer Vanilla's new beat tape, Origin, is a delightful journey between groove, jazzy hip-hop and lo-fi atmospheres.
Gathering original compositions and classic soul tracks reworks, spiced up by a collection of finely picked soulful samples, this mostly instrumental collection is also extremely well produced.

Available on his bandcamp page. My favorite extracts below, among which a cool Kool & The Gang's Summer Madness rework:

October 12, 2015

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Dark Star (V4YS Edit)

Here is a rework of Dark Star, one of the many gems by one of my favorite 70's rock/folk band, Crosby, Stills & Nash.

October 3, 2015

Greyskooledits - Inside The Box EP (Midnight Riot! Records)

As you know Vibes4YourSoul loves edits...so here comes 4 great ones, wrapped up in a single EP, released by UK DJs Dave Gerrard & Rob Bairstow, united under the Greyskooledits alias.

Try not to enjoy their cool grooved-up takes of Jean Knight's Mr Big Stuff and Loleatta Holloway's Runaway, or their spiced-up version of classic disco killer Wear It Out from Stargard. 
To cool things down a bit, their deep spaced-oud  rework of Barbara Mason's Another Man is also part of my next DJ sets short list.

Streaming below:

October 1, 2015

Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra - Into Forever (Gondwana Records)

At a time when pollution tests cheating seems to be the norm, hopefully some only spit organic & peaceful vibes.

Case in point with Matthew Halsall new gift from (nu-jazz) heaven: his third and most ambitious LP to date, Into Forever, out now on Gondwana Records.

Still a splendid common thread, his trumpet is nevertheless slightly less present on this LP, where Matthew's signature lies first and foremost in his inimitable knack to compose & design dreamy spiritual atmospheres. The addition of vocalists on three tracks (Josephine Oneyama and Briony Jarman-Pinto), a grand premiere for him, adds another layer of poetry to this sensitive journey.

So breathe safely, and take a deep dive...Into Forever.

A couple of extracts below :

September 25, 2015

Tom Misch - Beat Tape 2

London-based guitarist & producer Tom Misch has become a core member of my DJ sets' downtempo moments these last 2 years.

Regularly releasing warm groovy instrumental pearls on his soundcloud page, he stepped up his game these last few months by also adding beautiful deep-housy tracks, some of which featuring great vocal featurings.

If you're not familiar with his dreamy electric guitar sound and splendid melodies writing, his recently released Beat Tape 2 is the perfect way to discover this young talented artist. Addictive content inside!

A few extracts below:

September 14, 2015

Mocky - Key Change (Heavy Sheet Productions)

Released just before the summer, Mocky's fifth album, Key Change, is an enchanted interlude floating above the obsolete boundaries dividing downtempo, soul, jazz and pop.

All along this very cohesive record, the LA-based multi-intrumentalist and producer demonstrates his songwriting talent, as well as his knack for crafting cosy and poetic musical atmospheres.
Add to this the participation of some of my favorite nu-jazz and indie/folk artists like Miguel Atwood-Feguson, Gonzales and Feist, and you get a very special experience.

Feel-good-stamped LP!

A few extracts below:

September 7, 2015

Vibes4YourSoul special mixtape for Caïmite Radio

From lo/fi & groovy sounds to nudisco & deep house, here is a special mixtape I just did for Caïmite Radio, a cool net project set up in Reims, France by Mosta.

More great podcasts and sounds on their webpage.