Alexa Van delves into feeling trapped by society on haunting pop-rock track “Space”

LA-based act Alexa Van delivers a haunting slice of pop-rock on “Space,” which delves into the suffocating feel of being trapped by society, led by her gritty vocals and catchy pop soundscapes for an immersive experience. The intensely layered track which lays Van’s powerful voice over foreboding beats, brings to life the feel of being boxed in by the stresses of life.

Crafted to be claustrophobic yet expansive, “Space,” is underpinned by poetic lyricism carried by emotive instrumentation and delivery as she pulls listeners into the relatable feelings of begging for freedom yet being confined by the expectations of the world.

Consistently able and willing to bend the rules of creativity, Van who started a side hustle on Only Fans to fund her band Alexa Van and The Black Outs, circles back to her pop roots on the intricate and intimate offering fuelled by her fierce passion for her craft and her penchant for story-telling.

Having honed her sound over lockdown, and moving away from rock into a more refined alt-pop sound, Alexa Van makes use of music, which she refers to as her “lifeline” to build unshakeable bonds with people – and “Spaces,” with its dark tones and imaginative narrative is no different.

Connect with Alexa Van: Facebook| Twitter | Instagram

Little Victories unveil their poignant new single “Love Gets Me Down”

Three-piece, alt pop outfit Little Victories has concocted a vibrant release narrating a familiar sentiment. “Love Gets Me Down” beautifully highlights warm, haunting vocals atop glistening guitars and soaring synths. Describing a bad mental health battle, they passionately detail the pain some face that is not always easy for others to comprehend. They sing “I’m drifting in the street light, make believe who knows/I’m all alone.” With those profound lyrics they seamlessly capture that dark, hopeless feeling of isolation.

The British band’s highly emotive music takes inspiration from Bon Iver and The 1975. Comprised of Marcus Gooda, Nay Shalom and Sam Rose, the trio’s aim is to create powerful music that resonates deeply with fans. With compelling tracks that touch on topics of relationships and mental health, their hope is others can feel less alone. “Love Gets Me Down” is another song that allows listeners to connect through knowing we all have our struggles. The group confides, “We wanted to be personal and relatable whilst also keeping the reasoning ambiguous.” Take a listen to the melancholy piece now.   

Connect with Little Victories: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Murdo Mitchell allows a sneak peek into his mind on debut EP Stay Nocturnal

Rising Glaswegian singer-songwriter Murdo Mitchell gives us a glimpse into his mind, capturing his experience during the pandemic on debut EP Stay Nocturnal. Carried by Mitchell’s emotive vocals, the EP moves through deeply personal themes of addiction and failed relationships on a bed of heavily reverbed synths, earthy guitars and thumping beats.

Moving from the acoustic style of “Hide,” to an anthemic folk-tinged exploration of human hardship on “Faded,” Stay Nocturnal, displays the young talent’s full musical potential and range underpinned by mature song writing. Two stand-out tracks bookend the four-track EP as the atmospheric feel of guitar-led opener “Hollow,” switches smoothly into the dreaminess of synth-tinged, electro-infused final track “You Feel It.”

With lush uplifting sonics juxtaposed against dark, introspective narratives, Stay Nocturnalis a collection haunting, honest songs which channel Mitchell’s sharp ability to communicate his feelings within delicate instrumentals as he continues to hone his craft – going from a 11-year-old in love with music to busking on streets to finally emerging as talent who can capture hearts with his transportive productions.

Connect with Murdo Mitchell : Facebook | Instagram


Watch a documentary on the birth of Punjabi garage

Produced by Yung Singh and Ministry of Sound, the 11-minute film is now available to watch online

Christian Eede

Friday, November 19, 2021 – 17:07

A documentary about the origins and development of Punjabi garage is now available to watch online.

Produced by DJ Yung Singh, alongside Ministry of Sound, the 11-minute film, titled ‘The Birth Of Punjabi Garage’, covers the untold story of the UK sound through archive footage and conversations with Singh and various key scene players. 

The film follows early developments in the scene from the ’90s right up to the present day as collectives such as Daytimers come through. Singh previously said that the documentary does not claim to offer “a definitive history” of Punjabi garage”, but rather provide “an insight into how things got started”. 

Cameron Barnfield, from Ministry of Sound, commented: “Documentaries have covered Bhangra, the ’80s Daytimers and the Asian underground but the South Asian diaspora’s involvement in the early 2000s garage scene has never been covered and we are therefore proud to bring this to you!”

Watch the full film below.

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Haçienda Classical announces 40th anniversary shows for 2022

The 40th anniversary of the opening of Manchester’s legendary Haçienda club will be marked in 2022 with a pair of special Haçienda Classical shows.

The shows will see a number of classic tracks played at the club while it was open from 1982 until 1997 recreated live by a group made up of Haçienda DJ Graeme Park, the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, musical director Tim Crooks, and various guests.

At London’s Royal Albert Hall on 13th May, K-Klass will also guest with a live set, while DJ Paulette will play a DJ set. On 8th July, the anniversary celebrations move to Castlefield Bowl in Manchester, where there will be support from Soul II Soul playing live, plus DJ Paulette, Peter Hook and Tom Wainwright all playing DJ sets.

“It’s amazing for myself and Haçienda Classical to be back at Castlefield Bowl for our sixth show and also our fifth appearance at Royal Albert Hall,” said Graeme Park in a statement. “It’s astonishing what we’ve all achieved since 2016 and I’m really proud of everyone who’s taken part. To see it going from strength to strength makes all us very proud.”

Tickets for both shows are on sale now here.

The Haçienda’s visual history was celebrated in a photobook earlier this year, while the club was recreated in VR last year.

Cherry Lena shares her smoky new single “Love-Bombed And Ghosted”

Halloween is long gone, but ghosts can still be found among us, well… people that vanish that is. Cherry Lena knows this disappearing act all too well and shares that experience in her latest single “Love-Bombed And Ghosted”. The seductive track showcases a stunning blend of R&B, jazz and pop to create a unique musical vibe all her own. Lush, silky vocals sing of the deep pain that comes from broken promises and false fondness. The singer was done wrong and seamlessly captures that brutal betrayal in this release.

The Canadian native is an alternative Pop R&B singer-songwriter whose music is soaked with so much soul. Lena’s new single possesses that passionate nature she is known for. The artist reveals about the release, “It’s about a boy I met in June. I fell hard and fast. He showered me with love and affection and then simply vanished from my life. It hurt my pride the most. I felt like such a fool since he was never even mine.” Check out the intoxicating single now.

Connect with Cherry Lena: FacebookInstagram

Recreating The Sounds Of Blade Runner With The Black Corporation Deckard’s Dream

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In his latest video, composer Christian Henson takes a look at creating Blade Runner-style sounds, with the Black Corporation Deckard’s Dream mkII.

The Deckard’s Dream is a modern 8-voice analog synth that’s inspired by the classic Yamaha CS-80 and the Vangelis score of the movie Blade Runner.

Henson describes his video as a “poor mans homage to Vangelis‘ seminal score, from Ridley Scott’s seminal film Blade Runner.” The video focuses on recreating the Blade Runner Brass sound, one of the iconic sounds of synthesis.

Synthesists have been batty about Vangelis’s expressive synth brass sound, since Blade Runner was released in 1982. The sound is so well-known that it’s become a common preset on synths.

But, while you can get close to the sound with a microKorg, a Behringer D or a Little Phatty – the sound is so familiar that recreations tend to have an ‘uncanny valley’ quality. This is in large part because of the unique design of the CS-80. The Deckard’s Dream synth design is close enough that it comes close to nailing the classic CS-80 sound. Here’s an example by sound designer Paul Schilling:

Check out the video and let us know what you think. And, if you’ve got your own ways to get ‘Blade Runner-y” with synths, leave a comment and share your tips!

M1 Macbook Pro In-Depth Review For Musicians

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In his latest Sonic Lab video, host Nick Batt takes a look at the recently introduced M1 Pro/M1 Max MacBook Pro computers and reviews the base model 14″ MacBook Pro, with a focus specifically on the needs of musicians.

Along the way, he also takes a look at the new version of Logic and its ATMOS surround support.

Batt notes that, for many musicians, the 14″ & 16″ MacBook Pro laptops may currently be overkill, because you can get such good performance from the base models of the M1 Mac Mini, MacBook Air or 13″ Macbook Pro. He cites expanded I/O and better screens as the key benefits of the 14″ and 16″ models, unless you’re doing video or using large sound libraries, where additional RAM and more powerful processors become more critical.

Check out the review and share your thoughts on the new MacBook Pro laptops in the comments!

Video Summary:

“Apple recently added to their range of SOC (system on a chip) M1 range with the new Mac Book Pro 14 and 16 inch models. Each feature the option to include the new M1 Pro and M1 Max CPUs, more base memory and up to 8TB of blazing fast storage. Apple sent us a base model unit, we take a look and see what the high specc’ed and higher priced unit has to offer.”

Topics Covered:

00:00 Intro and packaging
02:15 Ports and hardware
04:45 Storage speed
06:00 Plugging in and the screen
8:30 Moving to Monterey
09:40 Audio and video
12:37 Logic Session test with u-he native
15:50 Logic Native ATMOS Example (use headphones)
21:30 Conclusions and impressions

Ice Prince and Ckay team up for new Afropop R&B ballad “Shakara”

“Shakara” is an Afropop infused ballad from Nigerian artists rapper/songwriter Ice Prince and singer-songwriter CKay (of ‘’Love Nwatintin’’ fame). The mid-tempo track produced by Blaise Beatz is ripe with lush guitar riffs, engulfing bright chords with a smooth percussion-led drum groove to match. CKay leads the charge here with his soft melodic tones blending Nigerian Pidgin English with R&B sensibilities as he pours adulation on the girl of his dreams. Ice Prince follows suit with a patois-infused flow before switching to proper rap schemes littered with evocative and love-soaked bars for his lady. For those not in the know, the title “Shakara” is Nigerian slang for fronting.

“Shakara” is Ice Prince’s first release since the Oxlade assisted “KOLO” and Ckay’s first single since his 2019 single ‘’Love Nwatintin’’ peaked on the Billboard charts becoming one of the most Shazamed songs in the world.

Ice Prince is a Nigerian rapper and singer-songwriter who started his career on the prestigious Nigerian label Chocolate City where he released his debut album Everybody Loves IcePrince in 2011. He also had a stint as the CEO of the label before leaving to establish his own outfit named Super Cool Cats.

CKay is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and producer previously signed to Chocolate City but is now a member of Warner Music Group’s independent label services ADA. He currently has one EP under his belt CKay The First and also featured/co-produced on Nigerian superstar Davido’s A Better Time LP. 

Connect with Ice Prince: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

Connect with C KayFacebook | Twitter | Instagram

Alesso completes two-year road to his holy grail ID from Countdown NYE 2019, ‘Somebody To Use’

Alesso completes two-year road to his holy grail ID from Countdown NYE 2019, ‘Somebody To Use’CDNYE192020 0101 001020 3432 GJB

Welcome to “Somebody Like You” release day.

Before this goes any further, yes we’re aware that’s not the official title of Alesso’s two-year-old ID, but we need a moment to adjust after expectedly growing so attached to the fan-dubbed name. All jokes aside, the wait for the single—now formally known as “Somebody To Use”—has finally come to an end and it goes without saying that it’s permanently enshrined among some of the Swedish house legend’s all-time greatest work. While most grew to know “Somebody To Use” as a fixture in Alesso’s sets, the release has been split into a two-for-one early holiday gift, with Alesso signaling a more lighthearted house rendition as the presiding form and rebranding the live version into what’s now known as the original’s “Toxic Mix.”

Alesso went into Insomniac’s 2019 iteration of Countdown NYE with not one, but two IDs sitting in his back pocket, dropping the curtain on both the finalized product of “One Last Time” with DubVision and an early configuration of what would eventually evolve into the sole purpose of this entire article. “Somebody To Use”—which was actually the driving force behind the creation of Dancing Astronaut‘s most-sought-after 2021 releases—spanned four different production stages as it walked down the long and winding road to November 19, warranting a global reintroduction amidst Alesso’s historic finale at Ultra Taiwan exactly one year ago and entering the ultimate form—receiving an updated vocal on top of its electric pre-drop stabs—we have in our possession today during EDC Las Vegas’ 25th anniversary. And when “Somebody To Use” was surprisingly absent from the PROGRESSO VOL. 2 tracklist this past summer, the only rational conclusion that could be reached was that Alesso understandably decided that it required a standalone delivery.

There’s one simple reason as to why “Somebody To Use” collected the amount of attention it immediately did in December of 2019: it’s unequivocally Alesso at his finest. It’s the PROGRESSO-engraved spirit that he ushered in through his first pair of mixtape installments crossed with the time-tested mastery of early-2010s nostalgia from his classics like “Nillionaire,” coated with a hauntingly stunning vocal from an uncredited Madison Love—who also backs Axwell Λ Ingrosso’sI Love You“—that hits a lyrical sweet spot in a way that resonates with Alesso originals like “Sweet Escape” with Sirena. All in all—despite what felt more like two decades instead of two years considering the COVID-19 pandemic most likely disrupted any release plans—”Somebody To Use” was more than worth the wait, consummating in a double plateful of Alesso’s house superiority that only piles onto the Swede’s longstanding, grade A lineage.

Featured image: Insomniac Events

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