I’ve never been a fan of Beyoncé’s work, and have always had a disdain for her as an artist. Reason being is, she is immensely talented vocally and has a strong hold on the mainstream audience that grows as time goes on. But musically she doesn’t really offer anything to me sounds like anything other than…”right now”. She’s had a song or two on every release that I’ve liked. But nothing that really could hold a candle to my two fav songs of hers. (“Me, Myself And I” -2003 and “Work it out” – 2002) Not only was I interested in this project because of it’s secretive release on Friday the 13th (Dec 2013). But also because every album track is accompanied by a video. (No snark but I’ve had that idea since I was like 9 0r 10. MJ put that battery on my back.) I listened to the album and was truly impressed from the start. One thought that came to me was, this is like a Prince album. And what I mean by that is, this is the “Fuck Tape”. And in true Prince fashion she stepped away from the fornicating to talk about other things that are on her mind. It’s very bold to open an album (or a concert) with a ballad. And she did that 2x’s over with the power ballad opener “Pretty Hurts” and it’s painfully poignant lyrics “Mama said, “You’re a pretty girl.What’s in your head, it doesn’t matter. Brush your hair, fix your teeth. What you wear is all that matters.” This is something I can actually keep coming back to. The following track (“Ghost”) is another stand out for me musically and lyrically… “Spoon-fed pluralized eyes to find the beaches in the forest When I’m looking off the edge, I preach my gut it can’t help but ignore it I’m climbing up the walls cuz all the shit I hear is boring All the shit I do is boring All these record labels boring I don’t trust these record labels I’m torn All these people on the planet Working 9 to 5, just to stay alive” My two fav songs on this album “Blow” & Rocket are CLEARLY for afterhours romps. With this project she’s giving the audience a glimpse inside her mind. Which is why more than likely the project is self titled. I can’t help but feel like this LP is a victory lap of sorts as well, in between several songs/videos there are clips of her as a child in singing competitions. My fav one is in the beginning of “Flawless” where a clip of her then group Girl Time is introduced on Star Search, and at the end of the song it ends with the clip of the group losing and being dismissed by the host Ed McMahon. Where’s Skelton Crew now though? Every song is co-written and co-produced by Beyoncé. I hate to say this term, but this album is highly conceptualized pop art. (LOL!!!) With this release she has me automatically interested in her next project. But I’m more than good with this one for now. I give it a STRONG 4.5 out of 5.
The Freedom Hall collective have been quite busy this week, and this song is proof of this. It comes in the form of “Space Race” by Kick Coltrane. The track sounds a bit like some progressive synth jazz on the soulful side of things, where things may sound out of place at first but you realize how well organized every element is towards creating this track, which will appear on a forthcoming project of his calledExtra-Tellectual
The fruitful sounds of Boom-Bap will fill your speakers with good vibes and soulful intentions as you indulge in Geometry, a collaborative 8 pack of ear bud worthy production brought to you courtesy of Analog Boi and Kenny Pistol (special thanks to @fixiefetish for introducing this piece to us via Twitter). This glossy collection of sample-heavy tunes is as nostalgic as it is current and puts a fresh spin on some of Soul music’s timeless rare gems.
Not too often do you hear a collaborative beat tape congeal the way Geometry does. The production styles of these two beat makers differ greatly, but the collection never loses its continuity. The bulk of the beat tape travels at an even 88 bpm, pumping loads of bass thumping goodness. Kenny Pistol knows how to bring out the best of their melodic samples as displayed on the soothing sounds of “Sovereign”. This horn driven track allows for one to lay back into the groove as the pulsating rhythm wins you over. Analog Boi flips loops in a variety of ways on “Travelin’ Mind”, a quick but effective tidbit of Freestyle fodder for hungry emcees. Other head nodding tracks are “Home Again” and “I Got So(UL) (Much Luv)”.
Geometry is like a mixture of Madlib, Salam Remi sprinkled with a splash of Q-Tip at the height of their respective careers. It’s definitely a collection to grab. The album has a very modest price (it’s free for downloading), and you’d be a fool not to cop it.
Review by Ampedsounds
If you are a fan of the Nickelodeon cartoon series Avatar or the film that was based on it, The Last Airbender, you’ll know that the storyline is child-friendly but goes beyond child’s play. It’s about a young child with incredible wisdom to move things with the power that he has, but those who feel they know about that power want to control him so they can control it. They want someone else’s power instead of their own. Within the storyline is the realization that the kid may have an old soul, and where does that old soul come from? That has always been the subject of cultural significance, if something that defines a people can truly be passed on from generation to generation and if so, is it always in us? If not part of our DNA, how do we learn it, how much to we learn when we know it has to be learned, and do we shape it to benefit us or is it more about bringing everyone from the past towards whatever the future has in store? I know this because my nephew was a huge fan of the cartoon series, and with it being true to a number of Asian philosophies and cultural beliefs through metaphors, I loved what it said and wanted to teach to its viewers.
That concept has been put into music with James Klynn and his musical family, and together as Freedom Hall, they have showed the power of good, friendship and unity and how that fight for it is perhaps the one thing that unifies us across the world. Some don’t see it that way, but the fight is to show why that thought process is worthy of that fight. That is what makes up the 5-song album known asThe Avatar, a set of music that shows hints of the future with flashes of the past, in order to provide guidance on what we need to do today. Balancing hip-hop and soul in a manner that is respectable to both, it’s songs that help to define and redefine Freedom Hall’s mission, which in turn questions why not many are doing the same thing. It moves you to think of the music and your own stance on life, where you are, and maybe where you should be. Music is best when it makes an investment in the mind, and when the mind invests in the music. The Avatar sinks in because it knows it belongs there, bringing out what may be in your consciousness, or what your consciousness has already been longing for
The FreedomHall collective have become more active in the last few months, and if you haven’t paid attention to them or as to why this activity exists, it’s still a good time to discover why. You can begin here with two new tracks from the collective.
Spudd Brown and Scumbagsini have put together a track that sounds like mindbending soul, taken to outer space with a prompt from Andre 3000 or Bilal coordinates, but maintained by the seductive vocals of Passion Ward. It’s out of this world, it’s a trip, it’ll make you go “can soul music sound this trippy yet still sound so down to Earth?” That’s the art of music from the soul.
Jessica Stackpoole is described as “a singer, Songwriter, Poet, Painter & adventure seeker”, and in “Real Poetry” she may remind some of Ambersunshower’s time with Groove Garden and the songs “You’re Not Coming Home” and “Lovers In The Daze”, where it’s vocalized spoken word mixture. Add this with a trumpet solo from James De Luca and one can imagine themselves walking into a park and somehow finding themselves in a large metropolis while breathing in the good elements as they ignore everything that’s bad. It also has a nice “Sunflower” T. Blue vibe a la Erykah Badu, but placed into a new filter to go somewhere else.
James Klynn of the Freedom Hall collective has released a brand new song called “I’ll Think Of You”, where he takes a song source of sympathy, turns it inside out and reveals it as something romantic. I love the feel, because at first it begins like a movie, then like a record that you might have discovered at a thrift store or yard sale, before it hits hard with the ol’ boom bap. The line “yesterday’s paper/not relevant in these skyscrapers” stands out for me, and I think the lyrics stand out because they’re… well, written. It’s effort, it’s thought, it’s motivation, it’s ambition, it’s a song that isn’t done just for the sake of making something that’ll sound dope. For me, it’s a bit more and I hope that “more” is what brings people into hearing more from Klynn.