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Archive for June, 2011

Hugo Kant- I Don’t Want to be an Emperor

A friend on SoundCloud and other social media outlets, Hugo Kant recently shared with me his debut release called “I Don’t Want to be an Emperor” and I was blown away! Being a huge fan of everything David Holmes does musically, I tend to gravitate towards similar sounding stuff.  Kant originates from Marseille, France, the same country as great chillout/nu jazz artist St Germain (aka Ludovic Navarre) which is not where the similarities end.  I believe Kant has a very similar sound to St Germain as well as far as incorporating improvised jazz instrumentation with electronic sounds.

I first heard the opening track “This Old Tune” and it immediately got my head bobbing.  A very catchy flute melody along with the hard hitting beat starts the track off right.  It then evolves in to a jazz flute improv session that dances around a bluesy electronic guitar part.

The track that really made me believe Hugo Kant was the real deal was “Thou Shall Not Kill.”  It starts off with the same type of deep stand up bass sound and is surrounded by glitches, movie dialogue samples, some terrific flute playing, great horn ensemble work, and SO many more enjoyable sounds.  It has an irresistible groove similar to “This Old Tune.”  It easily could be featured in a heist scene for a crime thriller motion picture and the same can be said for many tracks on “I Don’t Want to be….” especially the slick and sneaky sounding “June.”

The album title and subsequent track “I Don’t Want to be an Emperor” is taken from a segment of a speech from Charlie Chaplin in the film “The Great Dictator.”  You can also hear the speech during the title track.  If Kant continues to put out music as good as this, he may have no choice but to be an “emperor” of chill.  This debut album dropped yesterday, June 27th on Bellring Records also out of Marseille, France and can be picked up on iTunes.  Please check it out, you won’t regret it!  I have included the SoundCloud shared version of the album below for your listening pleasure.

Keep chillin’

-Chris

I don’t want to be an emperor by Hugo Kant

The FNDMNTL of Chill

Photo courtesy of FNDMNTL.com

From the Great White North comes the “dub hop” trio “FNDMNTL.”  Their Reverb Nation bio page provides a great description of their music noting- “If DJ Shadow and John Frusciante were to re-write a film score to the movie Fight Club.”  Now that is right up my alley!  The darker and trippier, the better it is to chill out with.

The Vancouver-based group’s (Matt Van Dyke, Aaron Grain, and Dan Sorce respectively) new EP titled “Dubsuction” features a number of different musical elements.  I hear reggae, trip-hop, ambient, a bit of jazz, and many many other great sounds on “Dubsuction.”

Buoys Cello is the signature track. Initially, the upright bass theme begins to draw you in almost hypnotically.  Then, the piano part plays a terrific off-beat melody mixed in with back beats.  Mix in some funky electronic bass and some great acoustic guitar work, and you have yourself a top notch track! I also got a bit of a Tango or Latin feel from it as well.

“Camoflage” is another great track which uses a beautiful jazz flute which flutters around with some bluesy keyboard playing. It’s all layered on some hard hitting beats.  I definitely got a bit of a Bonobo feel from this track, not only because of the flute part which Simon Green uses a lot but also of the multitude of sounds used and how all of them flow so well together.

Another artist I would compare these guys to is Thievery Corporation, which they mention is one of their influences on their bio.  ”Buoys Cello”  as well as the track “Rising Starking” have a darker, trip-hop feel to them and I couldn’t stop thinking about the similarities between the two artists while listening.  In “Rising Starking” there’s a bit less of a reggae flavor, but since they incorporate reggae in other areas, especially in the intro for a track named “Minutae, ” I really thought eh comparison was appropriate. “Minutae” is really nothing at all like its title indicates, which is a good thing.  That reggae intro eventually builds into a huge sound with hard hitting beats and adding more and more electronic sounds as it progresses.

I really liked the way they package the myriad of sounds they use together and personally feel that is what sets the good electronic artists apart from the average ones.  The more sounds you can get working together, the more interesting the track is.  Especially if you can get an overall theme out of it and it flows well.  These guys accomplish all of that and then some!

You can find out more about FNDMNTL at their website, via Twitter follow (Dan’s account), or check out their Facebook page.

Dan from FNDMNTL has also very kindly made available a previous album of theirs, “Subduction” for free download.  Please check it out!

Keep chillin’

-Chris