Composer Toni Castells draws inspiration from modern social epidemic for Neo-Classical concert releasing ‘HHUMANN X’

Topical themes are often a good source of inspiration due to the immediate emotional connection you establish with your audience. For Neo-Classical composer Toni Castells, it was the work set out by former MP Jo Cox’s Commission of Loneliness (which divulged that more than 9 million people are affected by loneliness in the UK alone) that has inspired his latest release ‘HHUMANN X‘.

Toni Castells

Toni Castells

While initial innovation came largely from his teachers at music school, Castells’ overall sound was developed from a foundation of classical training combined with an inventive use of modern technology to produce a mixture of dreamy, cinematic and poetic soundscapes.

His music has since been described as “Morricone meets Satie” by Michael Haas, producer of prize-winning recordings with major classical artists including Zubin Mehta, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Cecilia Bartoli and Luciano Pavarotti.

With this album’s themes centred around the subject of a paradox that highlights a growing social isolation in times of technological hyper-connectedness, the premier performance at LSO St Luke’s in Barbican (20th October) is also set to feature More Than Just a Choira community choir based in North London that works with people suffering from mental illness and social isolation.

The choir will appear towards the end of the piece and they’ll be unknowingly sitting amongst the audience before their entry.  This staging metaphor is designed to strengthen the idea that isolation and mental illness are invisible to most of us.

Steele uses near-death experience to breathe new lease of life into pop music

Steele may hail from the fertile pop landscape of Sweden, but she’s not your typical star.

Having recently recovered from a life-threatening bout of meningitis which left her with epilepsy, Sara Steele has made some serious lifestyle and career adjustments. Aside from waving goodbye to smoking and drinking, the singer pledged to follow her instincts when it came to music…

Continue reading this article on The Pop Playlister.

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This is what A Flock of Seagulls song ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’ sounds like as seven different genres

Everyone’s favourite 80’s new wave band, A Flock of Seagulls, are making a comeback!
For the first time since 1984, all four original members of the band appear on-record together for brand new album ‘Ascension’. To celebrate their return, we’re re-living the best covers of the band’s smash hit ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’. What’s clear from the variety of versions is that there’s not a corner of the music industry A Flock of Seagulls haven’t touch with their calling card hit. From stripped-back piano renditions, to pop-punk covers, and a rap homage, there’s a little something for everyone below.

Tori Amos

This renowned songstress covered the hit on her Original Sinsuality/Summer Of Sin tour in Denver, during Piano Bar Time, after confessing she had ‘gotten into this weird 80’s thing’. Despite worrying aloud that her cover might not be up to scratch, she later released the version along with the rest of the show in the 3rd CD of The Original Bootlegs. This video is a live audio recording from her show at Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO on 19 April 2005.

Buy Tori Amos – The Original Bootlegs here.

Bowling For Soup

The pop punk heroes put their stamp on the single for the 2003 reissue of Drunk Enough to Dance and their Punk Rock 101 single. Both the original and the punk cover are the theme song of the American DiC dubbed version of Saint Seiya, also known as Knights of the Zodiac. The cover is also featured in the film National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: Freshman Year.

Buy Bowling For Soup – Drunk Enough to Dance here.

Hidden in Plain View

This New Jersey five-piece gave I Ran (So Far Away) the post-hardcore treatment for covers compilation album Punk Goes 80’s under Fearless Records. It’s not miles away from the Bowling For Soup cover, but if you’re looking for a little more grit and a little less bounce, this is the cover for you.

Buy Punk Goes 80’s here.

Darude & Blake Lewis (Gareth Emery remix)

Well, you never have to wonder what it would sound like to cross a platinum-selling Finnish DJ, an American Idol finalist, and a trance legend with 80’s new wave. Darude and Blake Lewis covered the tune in 2008, before Gareth Emery got his hands on it, turning it into this floor-filling banger.

Nickleback

The titans of rock aired their no-frills, high-octane version during several dates of their Dark Horse tour in 2010, with guitarist Ryan Peake on lead vocal duties.

Lonely Island

The comedy duo contributed this unbeatable cover for an SNL skit entitled ‘Iran So Far’. Andy Samberg serenades Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad (Fred Armisen) with a song about their undeniable love, while Maroon 5’s Adam Levine lends his vocals for the ‘I Ran’ chorus. If you’re not sold on that information alone, know that there’s also a cameo by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Slim Thug

You’ve heard the pop punk covers, the stripped down piano versions, and the comedy takes, now it’s time to hear the rap version. American spitter Slim Thug adds a taste of the streets with his cover ‘I Run’. The track, which was featured on his 2009 album Boss of All Bosses, interpolates through his bars.

Grab a copy of Wishing: The Very Best and remind yourself of A Flock of Seagulls biggest and best.

J.J Leone reloads his musical prowess for new single.

Coined as a “Dark Soul” artist, J.J Leone prepares for an October release of his new single ‘Reload’.

Already selling out the legendary Ronnie Scott’s, J.J is also championing a unique style, ‘Reload’ is a sound that is both contemporary yet refreshing to the R&B and Soul genres.

‘Reload’ features melancholic vibes that are becoming more and more prominent in contemporary pop music today, following the likes of Lana Del Rey and The Weeknd. Featuring croon-styled vocals, and an electronic backing.

What differentiates J.J is the song being led by the guitar – allowing for the cross-genre compatibility between his soul driven sound and recent post noughties indie textures such as The XX.

Whilst the tune has its comparisons with other pop contemporaries and artists who have followed suit with electronics mixed with instrumentation, the track does indeed hold well on its own, and importantly suits the contemporary music climate.

The songs structure sets the dynamics and feel of the song incredibly well, a strong crescendo element to the composition; J.J spaces out his resources well and does not go in with all guns blazing – creating more of an impact, and even though the conclusive guitar solo does feel slightly out of place upon the first couple of listens, and a breakdown may have potentially been more favourable, I feel it’s an appropriate risk and concludes the song in a gripping manner.

What ‘Reload’ does splendidly is capture the growing melancholic atmosphere that some R&B and Pop artists are incorporating into their work and putting a familiar yet original spin on it, creating a more accessible & enjoyable form of the sound.

‘Reload’ is out on October the 6th and is available to pre-order now. To keep up to date with J.J Leone and his upcoming release check out his social media pages below.

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/j-j-leone​​

Facebook: www.facebook.com/iamjjleone​​

Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamjjleone​​

Youtube: www.youtube.com/c/jjleone​​

Website: www.jjleone.com

 

 

‘Water Colors’: The New Concept Album From M3staken

M3staken, otherwise known as M3, is a boundary pushing artist and producer to adheres to no genre-defining limits.

The young musician from South Carolina creates a thought-provoking and jarring form of electronic beats with a hip-hop edge, seemingly creating a whole new space where his music doesn’t really belong anywhere. And this is a good thing.

Most artists we listen to can be easily placed in a box of a particular genre, but with M3, it is much more difficult, showing that he is a progressor of music, not just someone looking to fit in with a crowd.

His previous album, Apex, featured this unique amalgamation of sounds, combined with classical piano: something completely unheard of, but M3 was willing to see what it was like and what would happen.

Water Colors continues in much the same vein as his previous record, but it is clear that M3 is perfecting a sound of his own, saying that the new album is a ‘continuation’ of Apex.

You can listen to Water Colors here: https://m3ssi.bandcamp.com/releases

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/m3staken

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeJtRw31YnOdiDgsNhyhKyQ

 

‘The Way I Feel Pt. 2’ EP from Soulost

SouLost_02
Electronic rock group set for first four piece EP on September 1st
Having released last February’s ‘The Way I Feel Pt. 1’ EP as an electronic-rock three piece, SouLost return with part two this Autumn with an added bassist and a brand new sound.
‘The Way I Feel Pt. 2’ marks an evolution of sound from the London based group, with new bassist Lux joining Ceira (vocals), Stef (guitar/songwriter) and Law (drums) to create a heavier, more expansive sound that veers closer to melodic speed rock than the songs on its predecessor.
For a taste, check out this sneak peak – EP track ‘Without Me’:
https://soundcloud.com/soulostofficial/without-me/s-jnDQT
Boasting a brilliant female vocal and a huge, layered sound, the track indicates a genuine step forward for the band in terms of sound, and should see them build on support already garnered for their first EP.
The lead track from ‘The Way I Feel Pt. 1’ was titled ‘Save Me’, and saw SouLost featured on the Best of British Unsigned playlist, leading to airplay in 16 countries over 88 radio stations. It was also featured on Amazing Radio’s ‘Amazing Rock Show’ playlist upon release, and SouLost will be hoping their new direction provokes similarly positive feedback.
Not bad at all for an EP written by Stef during a 6 hour wait to be rescued with a broken down car.
‘The Way I Feel Pt. 2’ is available from September 1st
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/soulostofficial

Faded Paper Figures | Breathing

With a group of people that have pedigree in teaching English at Yale and Creating music for LA based production companies you would almost expect them to have an aptitude for the written language and ‘Faded Paper Figures’ are a band that do just this:
Breathing FadedPaperFigures

“Now you’re gone, but your breath
is everywhere I still want you to be.
Chicago fires so full of death
could never keep your spirit far from me.
Falling off the glyphs,
nothing corresponds to what you mean,
and every word is set aside.
Five degrees below,
far too cold to walk into the sea,
and no one sees the rising tide,
Now we’re breathing as one, like two rays of the sun
Now we’re breathing as one, like two rays of the sun”

For the full lyrics of the song and to take a listen to Breathing Visit:  https://soundcloud.com/faded-paper-figures/01-breathing/s-NB5oh
Follow Faded Paper Figures:
www.fadedpaperfigures.com
www.facebook.com/fadedpaperfigures
twitter.com/fpfmusic

Caribbean songwriter Lateefah to release ‘Love Me Through’ single April 18th

Neo-soul diva looks to build on success in her home country 

St. Lucian beauty currently living in London, Lateefah is a soulful singer-songwriter who, having come to the UK to study her craft at University, is now looking to make it the first international music scene she breaks into.
The soulful single ‘Love Me Through’, produced by London based KING, is released on April 18th – an excellent introduction to her smooth vocal and laid back electronic soul sound. Having sang in church from a young age, many of her songs are pages from her diary influenced by her relationship with God and situations she’s had to deal with.
Recorded in St. Lucia, the pair put together the single and upcoming album over a very productive couple of weeks on the island, including some work with St. Lucia’s top reggae artist Semi. The music has made her a star there – seeing her top the charts on Reverb Nation – and she is now looking to continue that momentum in Britain.
Lateefah’s path into music was decided as young as three years of age, when her determination to succeed was typified by her relentless practicing to hit the right notes in the song ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’. Going over and over until she got it right. Once she had, she never looked back.
In the years since, she has dedicated herself to writing as well as teaching music to young children at the southern branch of the St. Lucia School of Music.
Listen to the track here: https://soundcloud.com/lateefahsings/love-me-through
Links

Jugurtha album ‘Orientation’ aims to bring Arabic culture into the spotlight

Out early April, ambitious new LP looks to bridge cultural gaps to the West

Integrating Arabic and Oriental music styles with Western dance music tropes, Jugurtha’s new album has lofty aims to bridge both artistic and political gaps between Arabic culture and the Western world.  ‘Jugurtha’ was the name given to the king of Numidia who fought to free his North African kingdom from Roman Rule.
By mixing traditional Arabic music with a heavy influence of Western house, they hope to keep those traditions alive and thriving in the modern world, showing just how when two different genres combine, they can create something which is versatile yet alluring. Jugurtha’s aim is to deconstruct what they call the ‘derogatory image’ of the Arab world, whilst allowing a new generation to maintain their cultural heritage in an industry that is increasingly dominated by the mainstream pop music. By throwing the spotlight on the Arabic music traditions whilst combining a domineering heavy house beat, the target is to attract new Western audiences as well as keeping the next generation of Arabic musicians interested in musical traditions.
It’s a laudably ambitious aim, backed up by the decision to fund the project completely from scratch – with no outside funding or interference, Jugurtha has had the artistic freedom to produce their own style of dance music. A great example for young people, who they fear will fall into the trap of ‘hyper-consumerism’ and materialism, there is a real independent spirit to the album. It’s no surprise then to learn that the group immersed themselves in anti-establishment culture to inform their work throughout the writing process.
The album’s lead track ‘Arab Lovers’ can be heard below, alongside the oddly compelling video – a collection of Arabic film clips showing the titular ‘Arab Lovers’ from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.
Video ‘Arab Lovers’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsPFlH5K-XI
Further Links:
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/jugurthamusic
SoundCloud : http://www.soundcloud.com/jugurtha-music