Reviews

Ethanpil – Welcome to the Madness

By 44faced on Sep 11, 2021 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

West Coast producer, songwriter, composer, and rapper, Ethanpil evokes a dynamic truth, and shifts between high energy bangers, motivational orchestrally-dramatic productions, and a relentless drive to get listeners charged song after song in his newly-released debut album, Welcome to the Madness

The album emerges as the latest unraveling of the California born-and-raised artist’s long string of hip hop and rap productions, where he has produced, mixed, and mastered works by Yukmouth, D’Lo, King Chucky, Steady, B3, Montana Montana Montana, and Cold Cody. Each of the album’s ten tracks are an aggressive, enterprising, powerful, and tireless journey into Ethanpil’s creativity.

Songs like “Litt” and “Popin Shyt” are high energy and set the mood for the project, while songs like “Alive,” “Bounce,” and “D Booker” set the tone and atmosphere of the album’s dynamic truth.

Ethanpil is the stage name of Sir Douglas Anthony Beeks. The name means “Everything has a natural purpose in life.” Ethanpil was born in Long Beach California, and he currently resides in central California.

In 2008, Ethanpil co-founded the production team SKIMASK PRO FAM (Skimask Production Family) and has had local radio success with a couple of his songs gaining radio airplay. In 2018, Ethanpil released his 1st mixtape, On a Mission, with S.T.E.A.D.Y.. He also featured and collaborated on individual tracks with local artists. Ethanpil has worked with several producers in collaboration works and has released debut solo album, Welcome to the Madness, on September 10, 2021.

Stream Ethanpil – Welcome to the Madness:

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Thom Bullitt – Nightrider 2021

By 44faced on Aug 24, 2021 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

In the words of Thom Bullitt, Nightrider 2021 is “inspired by my experiences with hallucinogens and late night speedruns” and it was “designed to imitate the mental changes that occur through a long night out on the town. Blending synths with hip hop I can honestly say this is my most unique and creative EP to date!”

Nightrider 2021 shows a true artist at work trying to break past boundaries and explore new territory.

I’ve been following Thom Bullitt ever since he released his EP, Roses, which was a unique sound in its own right. The blend of outback experiences and hip hop, country-style guitar with smacking beats—Bullitt has eluded genres since his beginnings, hybridizing and experimenting to create a sound and style all his own. The Cooler King and The Cooler King 2 added depth and layers to the sound that he introduced in Roses, and being the unique sound and style that Bullitt was carving, one would think that he would continue developing in that direction. Nightrider 2017, and now, Nightrider 2021, however, sharply turns into a completely different direction.

“Return of the Nightrider” opens the album with a spacey fade-in leading to a four-to-the-floor beat that lays the foundation for Thom Bullitt’s characteristic vocal sound that simply needs to be heard to be understood how it fits into a space all its own. Trying to describe Bullitt’s vocal sound is a great effort: it is rap, but has an off-pitch feel to it, as if he purposefully—yet very naturally—selects pitches different to the musical scales that drive together with him.

As the album’s lead track, “Sunset,” sets in, this becomes all the more evident—a recurring ostinato of vocal delivery expressing the feel of the lyrics perfectly, “riding into the sunset.” It is a mesmerizing and soothing experience that gives a true feeling of heading down a long road into the sunset, inviting the listener with Bullitt on a captivating trance-inducing entrance to a new dimension.

The music slows down in “City Lights” but Bullitt’s vocal delivery goes up a notch in energy, once again emphasizing Bullitt’s artistry, bringing something different each time to what you expect, yet making it sound natural and that it simply works. High-pitched backing vocals and samples of a car driving away are like cherries on the top of a track that continues the driving feel of all of Bullitt’s output, and the tempo of “City Lights” makes it fit authentically into the blend of the album at track three.

“Floating” begins with a mellow rising mild-synth-stab riff on delay that sets the scene for a truly floating track expressing the freedom of getting high into the thick of the night. The hook of “Floating” leaves a memorable mark, in its first appearance at the opening lyrical stage of the track, which leaves you thirsting for its successive return throughout: “Floating through the night with the wind in my hair, walking in the clouds, it’s a breath of fresh air, another pack of weed got my mind crystal clear, the night slowing down till the world disappear.”

“Midnight Rhymes 2” changes up the atmosphere of Nightrider 2021 with an epic and motivational feel. It is as if a reminiscence of the come-up as a rapper while driving high in the night with a friend. That friend is featured rapper, OchiTommy, who integrates into the song lyrically and in a call-and-response manner—a refreshingly upgraded approach to introducing a featured rapper on a track, that he lives as part of the track, and weaves in and out with Bullitt, and not like so many features where the featured rapper simply lays down their verse around the general theme of the track.

Although once again starting with delayed synth stabs and arpeggiated synth sequences, and still holding the characteristic driving feel that Bullitt holds consistently not only throughout this album, but throughout his output in general, “Battery Acid” still manages to successfully introduce a different emotional aspect. This time, optimism penetrates through more than anything else. Accompanied by a new kind of bassline that travels around the low-end up-and-down in octaves of four chords that cycle throughout, Bullitt describes a high feeling of being above everything in the midst of the night. Lots of seeming metaphors weave together lyrically, from the title, “Battery Acid” supposedly blending between high on acid as well as keeping with the recurring driving theme, and the driving themes of eyeing the long road ahead optimistically—it is very easy to relate to as looking forward to higher long-term goals that a person moves to. And those are just tastes of what could be interpreted from this gem.

Each track successfully gives a different feel while holding a common theme: the common elements of four-to-the-floor beats, delayed synths, and Bullitt’s consistency with lyrical themes, and the differences notably come from a distinctively different BPM in each time. Producers would be wise to take note of the BPM changes from track to track in order to learn how to change up an album so innately while maintaining a consistent integrity of theme. The album’s closing tracks “Highway” and “Sunrise” manage to continue this theme throughout the album. Also, by the time you reach the closing track, “Sunrise,” you start feeling how you just went through a whole night with Thom Bullitt, literally from dusk till dawn. And Bullitt continues an inspiring head-held-high approach at every stage of the journey, inviting the listener to join him.

By this stage, I feel exactly what Bullitt mentioned, that the album was “designed to imitate the mental changes that occur through a long night out on the town.” It truly succeeds to encapsulate that feel, musically, lyrically, and also structurally.

Stream Thom Bullitt – Nightrider 2021 on Spotify: open.spotify.com/album/4LQ8W03qGTPdSZlfkPaYhs

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Thom Bullitt – Sunset [Single Review]

By 44faced on Aug 06, 2021 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

“Sunset” is the lead single from Thom Bullitt’s upcoming synth/hip-hop EP, Nightrider 2021, which is the official follow-up to his 2017 EP, Nightrider

Opening with descending arpeggiated light synth stabs among a wave of atmospheric pads in a minor key setting the scene for a four-to-the-floor melancholic drive that bases Thom Bullitt’s characteristic vocal delivery that always does something different to what you’d expect, mostly in terms of pitch and inflection.

As with all of Bullitt’s materials, the lyrics and vocals penetrate confidently throughout. As with several of his songs, the hook and verses seemingly flow as a unified whole, playing repetitively throughout, with looping additives and subtractives over the course of the song. All of the song’s elements weave harmoniously to sweep the listener into a fluctuating, wavey, rolling and riding atmosphere, skillfully communicating Bullitt’s messages about heading out into the unknown, “while I ride all night into the Sunset.”

The vocal reverb and call-and-response with the voice expanding to the sides and coming back to the middle operate as a strikingly balanced atmosphere with the sharply hitting drums down the middle, and the synth pads flowing around the sides.

All in all, a mesmerizing and soothing experience that gives a true feeling of heading down a long road into the sunset, Thom Bullitt invites the listener with him on a captivating trance-inducing entrance to a new dimension.

Stream Thom Bullitt – “Sunset” on Spotify: open.spotify.com/album/7m1h09ksygsQDFWQJiqg6l?si=qRvahWaWSkimbox7BzByDg&utm_source=copy-link&dl_branch=1

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About Thom Bullitt: Born April 1, 1994 in Houston, Texas, Thomas Rodney Oates, Thom Bullitt was primarily raised around Rock & Roll, Blues, and Pop, contrary to belief. In 2004, Thomas would move away from the big city life in Houston to a more relaxed life in Edmond, Oklahoma – a suburb just north of Oklahoma City; shortly after which, he discovered and fell in love with Hip-Hop. Thomas began writing songs in high school – the first of which came in 2010 – and was eventually labelled in the senior yearbook as “Most Likely To Move To Houston And Become A Rapper” by his classmates. Shortly after graduating high school in 2012, he began recording his songs, but it would take time for him to develop his own style and comfort within the music industry. Thomas released his first full-length EP in December 2015 titled ‘The Cooler King’ under the moniker Thom Bullitt – a self-chosen title utilizing his high school nickname derived from his love of classic Steve McQueen films as well as a creative take on the shortened version of the name Thomas. Over the next years, Bullitt would go on to release 2 more EPs – ‘Bricktown Nights’ in 2016 & ‘NIGHTRIDER’ in 2017; ‘NIGHTRIDER’ being created as a way to transition out of the music world. Following the release of ‘NIGHTRIDER’, Bullitt would take a nearly 3 year hiatus from music to rediscover himself while fighting a battle against depression and alcoholism.

Eventually, Bullitt decided to return to music, this time under the stage name Papillon – the French translation of butterfly, which was deemed fitting based on both mental and physical growth as well as a new sense of self-comfort in the world. Bullitt would release his first EP using the name Papillon in September of 2019 titled ‘Roses’, which was met with shock and curiosity due to the fact that this EP featured a more Country & Rock influence than his previous endeavors, which featured a heavy Dirty South Hip-Hop sound. Following the release of ‘Roses’, Bullitt would transition back into releasing new music under the Thom Bullitt moniker to avoid confusion and lower the risk of his music getting lost in someone else’s discography. With a new outlook on life and a renewed love for Hip-Hop and creating music, Bullitt chose to create a sequel EP to his 2015 release, titled ‘The Cooler King 2’, which went through many changes before eventually being released on October 5, 2020.

During his career, Bullitt would become one half of the Oklahoma City based hip-hop group Bacardi Gang, a title he still carries to this day even though the group is no longer actively working together. Accompanied by the catchphrase “LIVIN IT”, Bullitt has been keen to let his music speak for itself and is rarely seen actively using others to influence his progress, preferring instead to maintain a low profile and avoid drama letting the music itself take the spotlight.

ApiiGo $even – Heat

By 44faced on Apr 15, 2021 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Opening with a muffled synth riff and reverberated calls that sound as if they’re in African, possibly reflecting ApiiGo $even’s African roots being raised in Bko, Mali, West Africa. But now that he is based in New York, ApiiGo $even abruptly slams in at just the 12-second mark in his new single, “HEAT,” with an delayed ostinato trap riff vocal that quickly catches a space in your brain while the deep 808 pumps your heart and chest in a fully intense trap and drill-inspired trap atmosphere, but with lyrics aimed at motivating and inspiring. ApiiGo $even continues ripping bars freely over the beat for the full two-plus minute duration of the track, drawing on his experiences in a freestyle-like but expertly-positioned wording over a beat that is a banger for all club DJs to take note of. All the while, the beat layers a dark pad synth riff over a drum beat of closely-positioned smacks, taps and flams, adding to the general intensity of the track. ApiiGo $even’s “HEAT” is one to get you moving at the club, to get you motivated at the gym, to pump the bass out of your vehicle, and to wake you right up in the morning.

ApiiGo $even released his debut single “HEAT” on April 12, 2021. It showcases his lyricism in a uniquely constructed piece of musical artistry. His sound exhibits his versatility and prowess and will surely cement his style as well as pave the way for the varied expressions of his musical ideas and artistic craft. This is the music that will push the boundaries of our perception as well as inspire and drive us to introspective conversations.

ApiiGo $even is a multi-talented vocalist and rapper born in NY and raised in Bko, Mali, West Africa. Now based in NY, he is making music that is driven by a desire to motivate, inspire, comfort and spread love and joy to all those that hear it. Born Alpha Traore, ApiiGo $even is the embodiment of originality and uses his experiences, roots and musical acumen to create an amalgamated and original sound. He is fluent in French, English and Bambara and he is versatile enough to do all kinds of styles but mainly focuses on trap and drill.

Stream ApiiGo $even – “HEAT”:

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Oberry – Void Offering

By 44faced on Oct 18, 2020 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Nihilism and existential dread gain expression through a lo-fi, drenched, punk, emo and trap single by Oberry, “Void Offering.” The track contains a blend of varying energies from a walking-pace arpeggiated clean-guitar three-chord classic punk riff through a riding trap beat verse with its characteristic 808 bass, punching kick and snare, and flamming hi-hats, drawing out to sparse clean-guitar arpeggiated bridges, as well as unexpected snare fills leading into angst-filled four-to-the-floor headbanging-worthy hooks. The distorted vocals and heavily filtered sound throughout, drowning the clarity of the lyrics, successfully express a nihilistic existential dread.

Stream Oberry – “Void Offering”:

Subscribe to Oberry on YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCN9Y4Ti1RUvH3Vk8ZPt8_wQ

Thom Bullitt – The Cooler King 2 [Album Review]

By 44faced on Oct 07, 2020 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

After the power of Thom Bullitt’s previous EP release, Roses, comes a whole new level of depth in his new album, The Cooler King 2. Hustle, introspection, individualistic uniqueness, yearning for the other, the drive for success and the alcoholic taste of failure, Thom Bullitt opens up another chapter of his life in a more mature outpouring of ten tracks of mostly over four minutes each (bar three of them).

Kicking off with the two more radio-friendly and radio-ready tracks, “The Cooler King” and “Ramblin’ Man,” Contrary to the solemn and calm opening of Roses, “The Cooler King” busts in with an upbeat confidence. Bullitt flexes his uniqueness at the world, with pinpoint-precision understanding of how he differentiates himself from other artists, and masterfully carves our his own space musically, lyrically and artistically from everybody else.

“Ramblin’ Man” is a superb second-track follow-up, where from the immediate strums and licks of the guitar, and the opening hook—”Ridin’ all along, on this long and lonely road, no cash in hand, I’m a ramblin’ man”—it feels as if a mixture of emotions are seeking their way from Bullitt’s heart out to the listener. I expanded on “Ramblin’ Man” in another post, and it still remains my personal favorite on this integrative artwork that blends varying emotions and life experiences into a masterful tapestry.

“Ordinary Average Guy” opens with a hypnotic polyrhythmic hook of classic tube-distorted guitar licking together with a widely-panned vocal delivery. Bullitt expands on his life in Oklahoma, partying with friends in “no fucks given” atmosphere, getting high, listening to music—a steady riding track with a classic feel. Also, look out toward the four-minute mark for a downtempo change-up that catches a completely different wavelength.

The fourth track, “Outlaw,” fills out the instrumental space from the get-go with pianos, string and pad synths, together with the constantly irregular stabs of the hats panning around the audio space while the kicks and snares keep a driving regularity, and Bullitt hooks the listener through the opening with another emotion—fearlessness. The slowed-down gear change in “Outlaw” makes for a wavy new kind of experience. The constant piano ostinato throughout blended with reverberated cymbals, together with guitar and clap entries, all harmonize a new image and feel together with Bullitt’s new angle.

“Oklahoma Sky” reels in an optimistic tone with an experimental approach compared to Bullitt’s other output. Splashes of delayed piano, guitar and string stabs, instruments float around Bullitt’s delivery like clouds in the Oklahoma Sky while Bullitt takes off from his usual rap output to a wide-melodic ranging singing line, doubled and tripled through the spectrum, opened out over the space like the vastness of the sky itself.

The sixth track, “Town Car Muzik 3,” starts much more modestly than every other track on the album. A much more stripped down instrumental synth, bass and kick opening. By the time it develops to more arpeggiated synths, Bullitt once again amazes to show yet another aspect of his delivery, not confining himself to any genre or style, he takes off on a melodic vocal trip, with his characteristic slightly-off-pitch bends that give his unique character to every note. Before you know it, you’re in a full-fledged atmospheric hook that drifts the listener into another planet for a moment, “Let’s ride all night under clear skies, feeling just fine while we ride,” before dropping down to the road for the stripped-down verses once again, where Bullitt’s life-experience rapping rides its own way before take-off again.

“The Devil Went Down” emphasizes Bullitt’s storytelling and suggestive abilities as he unfolds a tale with an instrumental accompaniment that carefully allows the vocal delivery to stand out to absorb Bullitt’s story. Chill guitar licks together with an ostinato of two synth chords throughout and punching kicks undertone Bullitt’s delivery, together with smooth guitar solo bridges to give space for processing the story, before Bullitt gets back into it time and again.

“Ain’t Changed” opens like a chart-topping alt-rock song from the very beginning, supported by Bullitt’s now signature opening hook of a deliberately pitch-bent melodic hook complementing an invention two-lines of clean guitar riffing, before launching in and out of verses that ride Bullitt’s emotional perspective of changes in his life.

“Empty Bottles” brings to the forefront Bullitt’s taking one too many drinks to deal with the stress, and reflecting on the losses against drinking, all the while outpouring his experiences over a steel-stringed acoustic guitar strumming an ongoing chord progression sets the foundation for Bullitt’s heart to open on this one.

Rain and distant thunder dominate the first minute of “Whiskey Sunrise” until an introspective solemn steel-stringed acoustic guitar riff fades in while the storm fades away. Just when you think this is some kind of instrumental outro to the album, at around one minutes and fourty seconds, Bullitt enters with one of his fastest verses on this album in an unexpected verse. Structurally, “Whiskey Sunrise” is the most unique song in the album. From his fastest verse, he shifts into possibly his slowest hook, emotionally engaging a new kind of atmosphere, almost giving the feel of the end of a long, lonely and rainy night. The song and album fades out once again with the rain that opened it up, as if going to sleep in a haze at the very end.

Once again, Bullitt masterfully balances between different emotions from full confidence, to retreat, partying with friends, loneliness, and alcohol and weed always show their face, if only for a little dabble, or extending them more than the blood stream can take and getting faded into a haze.

Stream Thom Bullitt – The Cooler King 2 on Spotify: open.spotify.com/album/6efFHsaIwzpmgBMzGmGQxd?si=o8TFiBVpSdKEmYBlmqkg6g

 

Thom Bullitt – Ramblin’ Man

By 44faced on Aug 26, 2020 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Bearing witness to the development of artist Thom Bullitt is truly a rewarding experience, as he releases his unique hybrid of raw guitar-centric rock ‘n’ roll, blues and pop with hip hop in his new single, “Ramblin’ Man,” the lead single from Bullitt’s upcoming album, The Cooler King 2.

As experienced in his multifaceted album, Roses, it feels as if emotion and passion is brimming at the seams in Thom Bullitt, as from the immediate strums and licks of the guitar, and the opening hook—”Ridin’ all along, on this long and lonely road, no cash in hand, I’m a ramblin’ man”—it feels as if a mixture of emotions are seeking their way from Bullitt’s heart out to the listener.

From the track’s outset, Bullitt opens with a brief outback-feel acoustic guitar-driven ostinato-strumming with two leading broken ascending chords, setting an open road scene aided by wide reverb and widely-spread vocals on the hook that masterfully carves its way in neural pathways to the heart in an instant. Moreover, Bullitt’s vocal bends that slightly off-pitch from the song’s key are performed with such conviction and consistency throughout the song, adding a wavy and nomadic vibe to the song’s feel.

The lyrics and vocals riskily head into rap territory in the verses, but Bullitt pulls it off with utter musical confidence. The hook’s shape plays throughout repetitively throughout, if not in segments of the vocal parts of the verses, then in the instrumentals that loop with additives and subtractives over the course of the song, and all elements operate harmoniously in order to sweep the listener into a fluctuating, unsteady, rolling and riding atmosphere, skillfully communicating Bullitt’s messages about heading out into unknown new domains.

Although cloaked in a rather pop structure, this is a song for those who have stepped outside their boundaries, who have entered a zone of danger as they head into uncharted domains all alone, looking for something more or different to what they had before.

The fusion of almost-opposed genres together with the wavering ups-and-downs throughout distinctively succeeds in passing on such sensations.

About Thom Bullitt: Born April 1, 1994 in Houston, Texas, Thomas Rodney Oates, Thom Bullitt was raised not on Hip-Hop, but Rock & Roll, Blues, and Pop. He moved to Oklahoma in 2004 which is when he discovered and fell in love with Hip-Hop. He began writing songs in high school and was even labelled “Most Likely To Move To Houston And Become A Rapper” by his classmates. He began recording his own Hip-Hop songs shortly after graduating high school in 2012, and released his first full-length EP in December 2015 titled ‘The Cooler King’ under the moniker Thom Bullitt. He would go on to release 2 more EPs – Bricktown Nights & NIGHTRIDER – under this moniker before taking a 2 year hiatus from 2017-2019 to rediscover himself and return to music as Papillon – the French translation of butterfly, which he deemed fitting based on his mental and physical growth and self-comfort. He released his first EP as Papillon in September of 2019 titled Roses, which features a more Country Rock influence than his previous endeavors. During his career, he would become one half of the Oklahoma City based group Bacardi Gang, and still carries that mantle today along with his own lifestyle brand ILLNEZZ – accompanied by the catchphrase LIVIN IT. Returning to his Thom Bullitt moniker, he continues striving to make good music on a regular basis.

Stream Thom Bullitt’s “Ramblin’ Man”:

Follow Thom Bullitt on Instagram: @thombullitt

Purchase Thom Bullitt’s music/merch: illnezz.bandcamp.com

Thom Bullitt’s music is available for streaming on all major streaming services (Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, TikTok, etc.)

Strangely Arousing – Rain

By 44faced on Aug 10, 2020 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

“Rain” is the first single off Strangely Arousing’s upcoming EP. It is a unique blend of reggae/dub and hip-hop that can only be described as the love child of a threesome between RHCP, Sticky Fingers, and Fat Freddys Dub, and it has a message about being selfless, and the progression into socialism to ensure everyone has enough.

Lush production with a wide range of depth, fat punching kicks, rock-like snares and shimmering cymbals, as well as deep and full piano with eerie synth and electronic work, subtle trombone and trumpet licks smoothing in-and-out, and vocals that span wide like the instruments blending in a middle point between reggae and hip hop emceeing, Strangely Arousing display instrumental, vocal, production, and engineering prowess as they musically communicate a high unified energy through their careful attention to detail and ability to build on a masterful flow.

About Strangely Arousing: Strangely Arousing is a five-piece progressive reggae/ska band from Aotearoa, New Zealand, effortlessly blending other genres and styles of music to create their own unique sound, laced with brass, synth, dub, and guitar. Strangely Arousing straddles the line between the bizarre you know you love and and the weird you don’t know you love yet like old pros. Whether you come to marinate in dubs and bass, or simply to melt into a puddle on the floor, Strangely Arousing offer a new wave of music inspired by New Zealand’s legendary hip-hop and reggae dub forefathers.

Stream Strangely Arousing – “Rain” on Spotify: open.spotify.com/album/2qRNUw6pITGyhw7HoI5qmD?highlight=spotify:track:7EIqzby3IfEkh5QH98Pa3J

Optimus – Who Am I

By 44faced on Aug 02, 2020 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Who Am I is an album by Optimus, which expresses what he has been through in the past five years. It also gives a vision, with every track, of how he lived his live up until now. Optimus describes himself as an artist by being driven, and that he strives forward for his kids, showing them to never give up on a dream, no matter what your age is.

Who Am I spans 13 tracks, for over 41 minutes, including a short introduction in “Probation” before the album’s title track, “Who Am I,” hits in epic orchestral fashion: strings stabs and choir shouts coupled with hard-smacking boom bap beats underlie Optimus’ lyrical statement track that peels away layer after layer about his life.

Each following track highlights different aspects of Optimus’ being and shoots from different angles of mood and perspective, but it is all held together with a special glue that runs consistent throughout the album: a feeling of perseverance, striving on, and constant motivation.

The instrumental counterparts of orchestral elements add a characteristic bigness to Optimus’ sound that provide a perfect mood accompaniment to the driving energy that Optimus brings to the rap world.

Two out of the 13 tracks, “King of Rap” and “Eating Good,” include features by Travis Gero, who adds a different flavor into the mix, albeit strengthening the general atmosphere of confidence that builds throughout the album.

Optimus’ Who Am I is an album to put on in the morning to get a boost for the day, to motivate our striving forward to discover our dreams, and to give the energy to push every next harder rep at the gym. Optimus successfully communicates dedication, discipline, hard work and the motivation to progress throughout the album, definitely a solid effort carved in audio that acts to give stamina and tenacity to its listeners.

Stream Optimus – Who Am I on Spotify: open.spotify.com/album/6WWzKakChQaTF99lL2HYYi

 

Kevin Toqe – Shadows

By 44faced on Jul 10, 2020 in Music , Reviews - 0 Comments

Kevin Toqe’s “Shadows” radio edit has all the nuances of a professional production, together with the powerful emotion of an R&B/pop anthem, while also setting off on an experimental tangent in its structural songwriting scope.

A tranquil synth-pad soundscape filling in the mid- and background audio space opens up the scene for a subtle-yet-confident R&B vocal entrance of Kevin Toqe. From an ambient calmness, Toqe drives in a four-to-the-floor kick at around thirty seconds in, and continues building up the energy through additional instrumental and rhythmic layerings at about fifty seconds, dropping into a sparse bridge section at around 1:10 to 1:30, and then climaxing into a short hook after a minute-and-a-half into the song.

After the hook, Toqe once again drops out the beat completely, holding the pace with his continuous vocal outpouring over an ambient sparseness, and the song interplays between verses, bridges, and two more hooks that further express the climactic energy from its preceding sparse sections.

Toqe successfully weaves together production complexities into a simplistic vibe that any person could vibe to.

In terms of the song’s content, Kevin Toqe explains: “Shadows is a calling. It’s about being comfortable with obscurity and comfortable with being known. It’s learning to trust God’s protection in a world that can feel like a jungle of cynicism and fear. Living in His shadows is a place of protection and a place to thrive.”

About Kevin Toqe

With his unique and soulful blend of folk-R&B, Kevin weaves lyrics into a solid groove with depth and texture. He’s a singer, songwriter, and producer who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kevin, who is 50% Albanian and 100% Alopecian, now resides on the Central Coast of California with his spicy wife and two children.

Stream Kevin Toqe – “Shadows” (radio version, and music video of “Shadows At 25th Street”):

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