Author Archives: Ash El Gamal

MOSAICS – Freedom (VIZO Remix) [Remix Competition Winner]

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MOSAICS
Freedom (VIZO REMIX) [TMN Remix Comp Winner]

After a couple months of strong entries, we’re excited to announce Portland-based producer VIZO as the winner of our remix competition for MOSAICS‘ “Freedom.” Bringing a splash of sunshine to the somber, yet empowering, tone of the original, VIZO’s colorful take comes at the perfect time with summer winding down. What really set this one apart was expert use of the vocal sample to create an incredibly addicting bounce. Listen for yourself above!

Special thanks to all the talented producers who submitted remixes and to MOSAICS for providing us with the stems for their fantastic single. If you’re in the Bay Area, make sure to check out their upcoming show at Brick and Mortar on September 14th. 

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Outside Lands 2016: 13 Acts To Catch Before 4 [Event Preview]

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As Outside Lands approaches every year, there’s a unique buzz around San Francisco. Between those frantically searching for tickets, hashing out set conflicts, proclaiming excitement or proudly boycotting, the City’s biggest festival is on locals’ minds this week. For the last 5 years we’ve watched Another Planet Entertainment’s crown jewel grow along a similar trajectory as the Bay Area–rapidly rising in popularity (and price). Even with the ever-changing landscape that surrounds it, Outside Lands maintains a dedication to quality music, comedy and food in 2016. The lineup sticks to the tried and true formula of local / up ‘n coming acts, the years’ current headliners and a rare performance from a star of the past.

While we’d be happy to harp some more on how awesome Anderson .Paak, Rufus Du Sol or LCD Soundsystem are, we thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce all our Bay Area Ninjas to some acts they might fall in love with for the first time this weekend at Outside Lands. We know how hard it is to get your crew moving, particularly in SF, but we think these artists make accelerating your pre-game well worth it. Hope to catch some of you Ninjas out in Hellman Hollow!

Day 1

Make It Funky DJs (Heineken House, 12-1:30PM)
For the most prompt attendees, we’d recommend kicking off your weekend at the Heineken House with our friends from Make It Funky. Over the last 3 years, the DJ collective have established themselves as a staple of San Francisco nightlife. If you haven’t yet been to one of their events, their set in the Heineken House should serve as the perfect introduction to their funk/disco vibes and get you dancing from the jump. – Ash

Marian Hill (Twin Peaks, 12:45-1:30)

’Marian Hill – One Time’

Marian Hill is the cleverly titled Philly-based band consisting of Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol. While they haven’t been on the scene long, the band makes up for short-term fame in their long-term chemistry – having performed together since middle school. Since gaining notoriety behind the catchy “One Time” in early 2014, Marian Hill has been putting together jazzy-electronic tracks at a solid pace. Their debut album, ACT ONE, is out now and well worth a listen. – Dom P.

Wet (Sutro, 2:30-3:20)

’Wet – It’s All in Vain’

While riding the wave to fame behind a hipster following, Wet has taken the back roads to success, allowing their vast internet following to shower them with (well deserving) praise behind early bedroom productions. Since putting out the 2013 melodic “I Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl”, the Wet trio has signed to a major label and toured nationally. Recently reemerged from their production studio in the wooded thickets of Hadley, Massachusetts, Wet dropped their debut album Don’t You and will be certainly gaining even more followers after their OSL performance. – Dom P.

Vulfpeck (Panhandle, 2:55-3:35)

’Vulfpeck – Back Pocket’

It’s unlikely you’ll see any performance quite like Vulfpeck’s this weekend. The funk/soul band take a fully improvisational approach to songwriting resulting in a catalogue of epic, at times comedic, jams that are morphed and built on during live performance. Don’t let their light-hearted approach fool you, though, Vulfpeck are truly gifted musicians who involve the audience in their show at every opportunity. – Ash Continue reading

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[REMIX COMPETITION] MOSAICS – Freedom

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MOSAICS
Freedom

Following a slew of strong singles, MOSAICS released their sophomore project, Year of Valor, last month capturing the attention of various publications and a growing online fanbase. Delivering on the promise of its title track, the 5-song EP sees the SF-based three piece defining and solidifying their craft. While plenty of artists combine organic and electronic elements effectively, their positioning within that intersection proves novel. The intro track, “Freedom,” finds Mosaics at their best—with an inventive percussion arrangement, layered guitar loops and powerful, pop-tinged vocals. Even with its attention to intricacies, “Freedom” never waivers from a stripped-down aesthetic. Those same qualities make it a prime tune for remixing–either by adding to the arrangement or completely re-inventing it.

For that reason, we’re stoked to be teaming up with MOSAICS to give producers an opportunity to reimagine the song through a remix competition! Winners will receive a post on the The Music Ninja including their remix, a short interview and placement on our Soundcloud page. 

To enter: 

1) Download the stems here

2) Send your submission to ash@themusicninja.com with ‘Freedom Remix Competition’ in the subject line. Private Soundcloud links and MP3 attachments are both acceptable. 

The winner will be announced during the first week of August. May the best tune win! 

You can grab a copy of the Year of Valor EP here now.

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40 Songs to Prepare for Sasquatch! 2016 [Festival Preview + Playlist]

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Over the last few years, Memorial Day Weekend for us has become synonymous with Washington’s Sasquatch! Music Festival–you can take a look back at our review from last year to get a sense of just how much we love it. The 4-day event separates itself from other major festivals by offering a one-of-a-kind backdrop overlooking the Columbia River Gorge and being just far enough in the boonies that all attendees camp together. That combination makes for a more communal experience while offering some relief from common festival-goer complaints.

In its second year back to a 4-day bill, Sasquatch! presents one of its most unique lineups to date shedding light on local Seattle musicians early in the day while bringing the headliners everyone has come to expect (aside from The Cure!) to take on the evening performances. While late sets from the likes of Jamie xx, Disclosure and Major Lazer jump out as major electronic acts, the daytime seems more focused on indie rock / pop and hip-hop, which should fit a sunny day in the Gorge perfectly.

To help all our Sasquatch Ninjas prepare, we’ve put together a 40-song playlist highlighting 10 acts for each day of the festival. Whether or not you’ll be at the Gorge this year, we hope you discover some new artists in here–we certainly did in putting it together. If you do make it out, look for the dude with the most colorful shorts and come say what’s up!

Day 1

Lion Babe – Treat Me Like Fire (feat. Snakehips Remix)
Oh Wonder – Body Gold
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
Marcus Marr – Peacemakers
Flume – Smoke and Retribution (feat. Vince Staples)
Alina Baraz & Galimatias – Pretty Thoughts
Yeasayer – Silly Me
Todd Terje – Strandbar (disko)
Disclosure – Jaded
Chet Faker & Marcus Marr – The Trouble With Us

Continue reading

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[Event Review] Mura Masa, NAO and Bonzai @ The Independent–SF, 5/12

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’Mura Masa – …Girl’

I can remember pretty distinctly when my enchantment with Mura Masa’s music began—specifically the first time I heard “…Girl.” That piano-driven, trap-influenced beauty served as an ample intro to his intricate production style but it really only scratched the surface of what was to come. His 2014 debut album Soundtrack to a Death, a collection of dynamic beats, cemented his status as one of the most exciting electronic artists out–seamlessly fusing the enormity of trap percussion with fluttering instrumentation and chopped vocal samples.

While that first project captured the bloggers and electronic music enthusiasts, it was Mura Masa’s Someday Somewhere EP that, with the help of a diverse set of collaborators, catapulted his notoriety among casual fans and the biggest producers in the game alike. Since that release, he’s launched Anchor Point Records his own label that’s already brought us fantastic projects from Bonzai and Jadu Heart.

In San Francisco, it’s common to discover an artist on Soundcloud and find them on a show flier within a few months. In the case of Mura Masa, though, the wait for a live performance felt like an eternity—spanning almost three years. Having checked literally hundred of artists off of the must-see list in that time, it would be a massive understatement to say we were excited as we walked into The Independent to see the 20-year-old phenom’s SF debut alongside Bonzai and NAO. So, if you’re wondering why this article is so long it’s probably because we’ve been waiting for so long to write it. Continue reading

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[Hip-Hop] Kid Cudi – All In (prod. Mike Will Made It)

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Kid Cudi
All In

It’s been a tumultuous last couple years for Kid Cudi‘s followers. While some fans, such as myself (an admitted Cudder Stan), rocked out (all puns intended) to his latest material, the majority seemed to absolutely hate it. Like, really really hate it. To the point where comment sections on any new Cudi were pretty much exclusively riddled with “I WANT THE OLD CUDI” or “SPEEDIN BULLET 2 THE TRASH CAN”–I won’t lie I laughed out loud at the latter.

Anyways, recently it appears Cudi has linked back up with Kanye, making a brief but extremely impactful appearance on TLOP, and the rest of his old, beloved crew. A few weeks ago, we got “The Frequency,” a collab with Plain Pat, executive producer of Cudi’s debut mixtape, and it received glowing reviews even from those who despised his new direction. Just a few minutes ago we get yet another new tune from the man on the moon and it’s likely to reignite the fandom that seemed to be dwindling for many.

Produced by 808-master Mike Will Made It, “All In” has booming percussion but doesn’t losing site of Cudi’s spaced out sound. Cudi delivers some seriously amazing vocals reminiscing on past regrets and pouring his heart out as he always does. Even though some may see this as just a return to the Cudi of the past, it’s actually more of a step forward for him. For those who actually did take the time to listen to his more recent projects, you’ll recognize how much they cultivated him as a vocalist.

Kid Cudi returns at an interesting time when artists like Future and Young Thug have developed a crooning of their own. Even though Cudi’s style is completely different, it seems like it might just be the perfect time for him to re-emerge as a superstar.

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[House] Rambo V – Clementine (feat. Lex Famous)

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RAMBO V
Clementine Ft. Lex Famous

Often times the music that requires multiple listens to sink in ends up being the best. We first stumbled on SoCal producer Rambo V when he transformed Jamie xx’s “Sleep Sound” into a disorienting, yet absolutely beautiful, house tune (which has since been taken down unfortunately). Given the already amazing production on that track, his ability to rearrange it into something that impressive proved a sign of a rising talent. He’s continued to pour out bold, experimental remixes on his Soundcloud page since but his latest original may be our favorite work to date.

Unlike the Jamie xx remix, “Clementine” won’t take multiple listens to make you a fan but it certainly improves with each spin. The self-described ‘soul house’ track features smooth vocals from Lex Famous perfect to soundtrack a chilled-out dancefloor even as the sonic scenery continually morphs. It’s really the arrangement of this tune’s countless facets that makes it so special–organic drums, plucking synths, warping pads and deep bass-lines weave in and out without a hitch. Grab a free download above and save this one for the summertime.

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