Artists may tend to change up their original style and approach to their creative expression. It is how they survive, It is in an artists nature; they are not one single idea but many out of the box projections. Manic Focus, also known as Jmac, is known to change up styles constatantly. Between hip hop, bass, and some electro funk, even a mixture of all of em may occur, Jmac got plenty of room to express himself any which way he likes. His last two releases are a good example of experimentation between songs!
The older of the two, Never Grew Up, may be what you typically hear come out of Manic sets. Some live instrument samples followed by wonky bass lines, choppy synth work and a dynamic beat pattern to a slow bpm. All creating a groovy and tranquil energy as “we never grew up” echoes repeatedly reminding us, we are in this for the fun! A sound so familiar with Manic it can probably land under its own genre.
Fans of Manic might find his latest release All This Is hard to swallow, with an introduction throwing them off to more of a house bpm structure. Following the build up however Jmac brings it back with dark metallic bass lines and chops exuding a menacing energy that would throw a crowd into a frenzy. Living an industry surrounded by all types of genres it is only right for an artist like Manic Focus to experiment and inject his madness into it all.
Many artists release a genre consistent set of music but that is not how Saladin works. His consistency is in change and most artists typically get the cold shoulder from fans for this but he has his own formula keeping his listeners captivated. From House music to Future Bass, Trap to Dubstep Saladin works it all with no hesitation, though House and Techno are rudimentary. Just within the last couple of months we got to taste his creativity in most of our favorite music styles.
Keeping it different with every release he really shows his versatility as an artist. Since the start of the year Saladin been releasing diverse and note worthy beats, even gaining support from artists like Hardwell, Morgan Page & more with tracks like his House influenced C’mon Now on Revealed Recordings. There is something to learn from every genre in production and the quality of his music shows that. This opens him up to working with diverse set of artists as well. On top of that he can always keep it fresh whether it be on the dance floor or on a playlist, Saladin can control any audience with ease.
Most recently he works with Trap, Future Bass and House music. Starting here with GNGBNGR, Saladin rides a simple melody and beat pattern while a vocal sample chimes in, “I used to be a gang banger… now I’m just a mother f*ckin’ headbanger”, into a smooth bass drop and high frequency synths. Turning that vibe around with ITSALL4U with more ambient melodies and bass-lines for his Future Bass fans. Then finally he comes back to House music with his latest, Fight For Love, featuring EDM vocalist OMZ with the hopeful lyrics, “I can’t even look you in the eye its the darkest night of my life… But baby we can fight for love tonight“. Listening to Saladin music you will feel all kinds of ways, you will catch yourself throwing elbows to jumping and dancing.
Putting a few bass heads together on a beat you should expect some madness. Kynetyk teams up with Reesebay and Cha boi to show you how that sounds like. Rippin’ sound bites of Frank Murphy from the cartoon F Is For Family adds a little emphasis on the overall mayhem. Packed with heavy growling bass lines between dark melodic breaks supporting Murphy’s tantrums. This follows We All Float, another track with Reesebay for a comeback. Keep an eye out for his next move Kynetyk got a sound you do not want to miss out on!
If you were to plan world domination, starting with music influence would be smart. RAAKMO seems to be foreshadowing; his latest collab Take Over with an artist named Gl0bal? Maybe only obvious to some. Working together last year on their track Slept On ft Malcolm Flex following the Pazuzu EP, seems they been plotting for a while, as their style certainly got heavier and production quality got cleaner. RAAKMO also worked with Porn & Chicken recently releasing Get Back. Gearing up for festival season crowds, tracks like these will cause a ruckus!
When you put two dope Chicago artists together you get gold and these two got stacks of them! Kyral x Banko have been pumping out their arsenal of bass little by little and each one gets better everytime; they all sound like anthems. Their dub-plates are heavy and clean with beat patterns and hooks influenced by hip hop and trap bass. A good composition of sound to represent their city which is raw, authentic and in your face. With some heavy Colorado roots the two have been all up and down Chicago and Denver spreading some good music and good energy.
Just to highlight a few of their releases since the start of the year we have Gold released as apart of an artist compilation EP called Alchemy, a slow but energetic track building up to their drop phrase Im Gettin Paid Bitchwhere a whole bunch of frequencies on the low end hit you. Following you got Rambo by So Down who featured Kyral x Banko and Def3 for a hip hop beat to tell it how it is. Most recently the duo released Stacks on Plenum Records with a few hooks to build up to a bass drop that hits you with the high end synths low bass and wild beat patterns ready for their adrenaline hungry fans at their next events in Colorado and adding Iowa to that list too! If you cannot catch them live follow their uploads, they hit the spot every time.
Vesper is the dance pop duo spawned in Chicago between Zak Fox Jablow whom of which produced for names like Chance the Rapper, the late Mac Miller – and songstress Samantha Humphreys. They are releasing their debut album Years on vinyl April 5th, digitally April 18th, with a release party at Chicago’s Empty Bottle two days prior on Tuesday, April the 16th.
Made in Chicago yet they have recently moved to Nashville and finished the writing and production of their first album. Prior to this project they had dropped a few singles, some of which have made it on to Years including SwayBetter and Electric. Their 10 song LP is perfect in its length and progression offering a listener a warm mixture of piercingly beautiful vocals reminiscent of the late Dolores O’riordan, Regina Spektor, Natasha Bedingfield and funky, swooping rhythmic sections which reminded me of Flying Lotus, an alternative Mike Will Made It, and Chrome Sparks. Although comparisons nonetheless, this record Years is a unique sonic experience.
My personal favorite song on the album: Bird starts with a hip hop like sample going into Samantha singing lyrics about her mother giving her one last piece of advice before passing. A hauntingly gorgeous tune. “And again I was an orphan, who newly hit the ground“, “When my sorrow sneaks up onto me, I think of what I’ve let go, and somehow its gone like a shadow of a bird across my window!“. When the lyrics aren not hitting you and evoking emotions over past traumas, their somewhat cryptic style offers much to be thought about by a listener and fan.
Ghosts was another favorite from Years. Like every song on their LP there is much aural texture and dynamics within the sonic production and musical composition. Every song has build ups, bass drops, rhythmic drop offs containing melody, and vocal stacks with Samantha’s layered harmonies. Vesper has what gives a song a potentially timeless experience to listen to rather than another song to be consumed. Lyrics I enjoyed and felt: “We’ve got a heart but someone’s trying to take it, we’ve got a heart but something’s always pushing it around!” and “There’s ghosts in this city, there’s ghosts in our town, their words are so pretty, but they’ll only drag you down!“. Again, much depth to their almost early 90’s grunge rock like lyrical structure.
Samantha Humphreys carries the vocals of the duo whereas Zak Jablow makes sure the instrumental production will make you want to dance and jam. They do however have a duet on the record. Offering a glance at Zak’s earnest vocals and a tenor softness which is slightly emulative of the male counterpart of Boyce Avenue. Better has Zak and Samantha’s voices intertwined on the refrain, giving the entire LP vocal diversity as well! Not that I would not listen to a record of only Samantha Humphreys but Zak’s voice was pleasant to listen to! Zak also contributes background vocals on the songs Married to the Night and Sway.
Listening to the record Years straight through, I felt a sense of rejuvenation. The music offers pleasantries and traumas to think about all the while making you want to shuffle dance on the floor. I am excited to see them live at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, April 16th. I hope you join me!
If you think music is your drug then check out these tracks! Cofresi is back after enjoying the success of the Coda EP late last year. Started the new year off right with a video accompanied remix for the modern classic by Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know. Cofresi’s take on the song really takes you by surprise if you think the original was overplayed, this may change your mind! Behind the scenes Cofresi continues to detail his live performances as he prepares for a long list of events for the spring calender.
Introducing a theme to the tour with the release of Keep U High, his second release and first original of the year, you will notice the tour calender matching the songs cover art. Included in his tour will be Bassphysics, who worked with Cofresi on Keep U High, and Plantrae. On other dates Cofresi supports SoDown on their own tour making it a two in one commitment; capitalizing on the opportunity to make a big thing bigger!
Similar to artists likeElevatd, Cofresi keeps most his treasures exclusively for his live audience. Sometimes he is generous to give some his online fans ataste of the exclusive but it would be best to catch him live. Following his Keep U High release with Bassphysics, Cofresh drops visuals from a live set as he plays his own version of Liquid Stranger and Space Jesus‘s collab track Dragonhawks. An surprising choice for Chicagos future bass drummer but an impressive take as can see through the crowds reaction; or even your own stank face.
Like the North star, Polaris will guide you to some real dynamic tunes! Leading you to the LWKY corner of the universe, this trio from Chicago follows the growing number of electronic dance music artists experimenting with live instruments and midi software. Jim Morrison predicted an electronic age of music where one man, the DJ or producer, was the orchestra but changing the paradigm are artists like LWKY using guitars, piano synths and midi controllers within a group.
Together they create a psychedelic future funk and bass sound similar to that in Colorado and getting popular in mid-west states. They just came out with their latest release Polaris. This comes after their very popular EP Reset and their follow up single Regenerate. It is about a journey to the top, you can hear it with its soothing to heavy sounds between climaxes and breaks; an audio metaphor. With a style quite unique to Chicago, LWKY shows us how dynamic a band can be.
Some like them more than others, some like them so much they make music about them. Bassmnt Boy likes em just enough to make a remix about them. Round2 already seems to have expressed it perfectly enough so Bassmnt Boy just took his Big Booty Bitches track and personalized it. With admiration to the original artists talent, he carefully turned a juke beat into a trap & bass anthem that does not dissapoint the original; Get any party wild and jukin’ with this beat.
They gon’ say he pulled a switch-aroo’ but they is who? The last time we talked about Benasis he was hell deep in heavy bass and dubstep beats. Upon another glace we find a new down and dirty style of music the Chicago artist, as deep as our roots are as pioneers with Detroit, is inevitably drawn to – House music. As complex as dubstep beats are to produce, the experience easily lets Benasis find a sound fit for him in the form of deep and bass house.
Already a few releases deep into it, DirtyBird got the exclusive when he released Foundations late last summer. Since then he has produced a track under House of Hustle and Dim Mak. Recently he produced 3 tracks in an EP project on Red Paradise called Tempo Has Reached and we can expect more now that he mentioned online about a new studio! Benasis himself, reaching new levels, now has a deadly combination of bass to put on a wild playlist bouncing between bass and house; A mixed set would be interesting to hear.