With R&B and electro-fusing together from the UK, to dreamy escapades and electro-pop in the West Coast, all can be tied together for their similar production qualities. Even with the best and heartfelt lyrics, sometimes a smooth production may bring a whole new meaning to what was intended. These tracks primarily have hip-hop and R&B embedded in them (some rap listed towards the end), but every now and then an electro-pop track contains some smooth soul. This can only foreshadow more instrumental based tracks towards the end of the year, as well as a heightened need to melt polar opposite genres for production qualities.
James Chatburn “Creator“- Australian artist James Chatburn, now based in Berlin, follows in suit of the soulful explosion that is joyfully emerging throughout Europe with his track “Creator.” Co-produced by Jordan Rakei (worked with Tom Misch, and more), Chatburn’s third single is a compilation of smooth transitions, a soulful core, and a fresh structure that gives the track its magic. Chatburn’s vocals ties in nicely with the prominent bass, and allows more focus on rhythm than any other aspect of the track. Although written last year, Creator is released as a series of fours singles, with the last being “Crack and Breaks” completing the compilation.
Whilk & Misky “All By Myself” – UK duo, Whilk & Misky, reintroduce a different side of their sound with their single “All By Myself.” Nima’s production embarks on a smooth and worldly escapade, while Charlie’s sensual vocals add to the stylization of the duo. An enjoyable feature of the track are the various production elements, such as horns, and a classical guitar that provides an infectious dance quality to the song.
JMBU “Girl“- Prepare to fall in love with “Girl” by Brighton artist, JMBU. Less is more, and JMBU’s production of few words, simplicity, and emotive tone is enough to convey the depth of “Girl.” The clever approach of editing and sampling of Tupac and Brandy, fuels the 90s filled track to the extent of not just relaxation, but a peaceful mental state that sighs outwards with love. Few productions have the ability to transform something old to inexplicably new; JMBU possesses the ear and heart to pull this off.
My Last Crush featuring Maiko Watson “Do It For Love“- Toronto-based singer Maiko Watson, collaborates with production duo My Last Crush for the single “Do It For Love,” and doesn’t disappoint on any aspect. Watson’s R&B vocals are strong and silky, and take a different platform with an upbeat and electronic dance beat. Fusing two equally strong genres together can either be messy or the best collaboration ever, in this case, we must go with the latter. Not only is the track addictive and heartwarming, it’s mood is fresh.
Gosh Pith “K-9” Muzzy Bearr Remix – Back in January we introduced you to Detroit-based duo Gosh Pith and their lounging atmospheric single “K-9.” As a request from the duo, Muzzy Bearr remixed the track to his own liking and managed to reinvent and capture a completely different mood compared to the original. The remix possesses high moments of EDM mixes where the bass drops, but essentially kept the momentum simple by extracting the rhythm and bass from the original track. Being a Gosh Pith fan, the Muzzy Bearr version adds a bit of sensuality to the verses, and may possibly be better than the original, with all due respect to Gosh Pith.
Rami “GPS” Feat Mickey Shiloh – Los Angeles based producer Rami (Anderson .Paak, Juicy J), teams up with Mickey Shiloh, for their track “GPS.” Electronic based, with hints of anxious synths, the smooth production quality brings out the rusty and quiver aspect of Shiloh’s vocals, which is beautifully addictive. The rest of the track follows the suit of electronic with a stronger sense of direction, and not solely anticipating for the “drop.” The collaboration of the two not only showcases the chemistry within the final product but the strengths of each individual artist.
Halee Cole “All That” (Prod. Tok Sik) – In preparation to release her debut album, Arizona native Halee Cole and her various blends of genre, ranging from pop to R&B, peak our interest, specifically on the track “All That.” Despite its bubble gum lyrics, at times, Cole’s older voice and steady melody, consisting of an electric guitar, is why this song is so enjoyable. Cole portrays a strong control of her vocals, holding back when needed and letting the production warm a listener up. Moments on the track where it’s focused on Cole’s vocals and an isolated guitar seems to be the true sparkle of the track; hopefully that future releases will be similar since it brings out the best in Cole.
Socio “In Motion“- Smooth, sensual, and oozing with sexuality. Virgina-based artist Socio strips down any formality with his R&B track “In Motion” and takes us to a vivid scene of two bodies “in motion.” Socio’s hot and heavy vocal approach paired with the rhythmic production, mimicking bodies, truly captures the mood and begs for a repeat. This is a perfect example how less is more, and how a skilled producer will know when to ease off any additional sounds to get the message across.
Des Brennan “Sanctum” ( Prod. Derlee)- Self-described as “a track about how time continues to proceed on, regardless of how hard we try to slow it down,” Des Brennan creates something that truly invokes a peaceful happy medium towards time. Repetitive guitar chords mimic a ticking clock, followed by a wave of vocals that echo in the background. Brennan’s words and tone add to the flow of the track, successfully creating a whimsical mood that is laid-back, and at the same time, thought-provoking.
Celso “What They Say” (Prod. Mydus) – Hailing from Miami, songwriter Celso, reaches for full sensory traction with his track “What They Say.” The track’s production grips the soul with its steady beat and carefree horns throughout the track. Yet, the core of the song ironically is skin deep. Celso’s assertive tone, paired with a sense of confusion towards humanity is why this track stands out. The “pain is deeper,” as Celso touches on what he believes in, and fights as a voice in the outrage of the killing of innocent black lives. Ending it with the conversation he doesn’t want to have with his son; that the complexion that was made out of love should be feared by those who aim to protect.
“As musicians we need to make a difference. Report what we feel and not disregard it.”