I will be honest with you; I am a huge fanboy of King Krule. He really is one of my favorite artists around: every time something new is released by Krule, I get excited like never before. To me, he is the absolute king of pronunciation; the way he mumbles and sings his mysterious lyrics are reason enough for me to become excited. The reviews about his latest Edgar The Beatmaker project were variable; though to me it was just a perfect snack while waiting for his debut album. The comments on Mount Kimbie’s new tracks were also diverse. Their new sound got called bare and detached. Until the track featuring King Krule appeared; their recognizable warm sound is back on You Took Your Time.
King Krule gets a lot of vocal space on the simple but dynamic production. It gives Krule the possibility to get elaborate and smart, and it’s gallant that Mount Kimbie give King Krule this glory. But the production is more than just an addition to Krule’s vocals. Mount Kimbie really bring the track to a fantastic ending. And of course King Krule is the icing on the cake. It makes me wonder what his upcoming feature with Frank Ocean will sound like.
Le Le is probably the most striking collective of Dutch music. It consists of De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig member Pepijn Lanen, electro DJ Rimer London and graphic artist Piet Parra. They came in the picture with their first albums ‘Flage’ and ‘Party Time’, on which they experimented with different house flavors smeared with remarkable lyrics in Dutch, French, German and English. Often the results were funny and ironic, but most of the time the tracks were a really good listen, too. Skinny Jeans and Hard became cult hits, while Breakfast was a sincere club banger.
Rumor has it that a new Le Le album is on its way, which seems to be confirmed by the release of a new sound: Eyes Closed. The new track isn’t very surprising, but it has almost everything a good Le Le song needs. The beat is danceable and the synths are smooth and absorbing, it’s a pleasure to listen and move to. Sadly, the lyrics, normally Le Le’s biggest power, don’t have much to offer. The idea of putting the world on mute is lovely, but it doesn’t get me as excited as I should be for the new album.
Actually, I’m not too familiar with Tropics; I don’t know much about him and his music. Except that he is a Londoner and released a debut album that many compared to Caribou’s ‘Odessa’. I didn’t even listen to this album, but the rumors around his free listenable upcoming EP ‘Home & Consonance’ made me curious. I listened tabula rasa, and was happily surprised.
‘Home and Consonance’ is refreshing and has a real summer vibe; ‘tropical city music’. Chris Ward is a quite good singer; he isn’t too outrageous and knows his vocal restrictions. He gets the most out of the singing parts, but the focus of his music is actually on the instrumental parts. The tracks Home & Consonance and Don’t You Know showcase his producing skills. Title track Home & Consonance gets shaped by ingenious polyrythms and contrary chimes. On the other side Don’t You Know has a slow jazzy vibe; the timing is perfect and soggy, while the vibraphone almost feels like a basic Bobby Hutcherson contribution. As I listened to some other, older Tropics tracks of his previous album, I was actually happy that I didn’t listen to it before. ‘Home and Consonance’ sounds so much better.
I have this weakness for artists that can’t help but not taking themselves serious. Ryan Hemsworth is one of those guys that showed great talent, with his particularly great remixes of Frank Ocean’s Thinking Bout You and Grimes’ Genesis, but he refuses to take part in his own hype and doesn’t seem to like to emphasize his critic-attributed promise. Lacking any form of pretention, his latest feat of arms is a rework of the 1999 Backstreet Boys track Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely. Although I certainly have my guilty pleasures, that BSB track doesn’t even come close to being played through my speakers. Hemsworth’s remix however is so much better.
An interesting Twitter marketing-act led me to downloading the track, as it wasn’t ‘just’ on Soundcloud, or a 79-cents iTunes download. Instead, the download needed to be paid for with a precomposed tweet, including an obligatory smiley face. What you get in return is the track, the ‘cover’, a flattering picture of Penelope Taynt and a beautiful hey.doc-thank note from Ryan himself: “i love you thank you for downloading you are perfect”. Thanks Ryan, so are you, don’t believe in yourself, keep making these remixes please.
Lianne La Havas has almost everything a good and young artist needs. She is beautiful, has a special voice, is a great acoustic performer and released a quite popular debut album. Her live performances are superb; especially her solo appearances are very impressive. Just Lianne and her guitar, she actually doesn’t need anything else. That’s why many people also didn’t like her popular debut album; the production felt superfluous. It was rather a derogation of Lianne La Havas’ talent and quality as a songwriter. It felt the same to me; I loved all her acoustic live performances, but I couldn’t enjoy her album.
Luckily there are producers that can do good remixes too. fLako shows that good production can have a positive influence on Lianne La Havas too. He showcases that Le Havas just chose the wrong production for her music. He really brings the somewhat sleepy track Elusive to life. The guitar loop is catchy and striking combined with the simple snapping sounds. The variations with the slower intermezzo parts give you the variety and creativity which the production of the original song lacks. Maybe Lianne Le Havas should be a little bit more adventurous and daring in the future by collaborating with some other, young and fresh producers.