Author Archives: Ash El Gamal

Introducing our Next Resident Artist — Mat Zo [TMN Residency]

MAT ZO PHOTO

If you peep the backlogs of TMN, you’ll find posts about Mat Zo dating back as far as 2012. After bursting onto the scene during EDM’s heyday with a refreshing sound, Zo has continued to push his style forward to one so encompassing that you never know what to expect when you hit play in the best way possible.

In the 3 years since his Grammy-nominated debut album, Mat Zo has continued to pour out free downloads on his Soundcloud page remaining an influential producer while some other artists of the same generation grew stale. His 2016  sophomore album Self Assemble, captures that adventurous spirit displaying Zo’s versatility and growth as a musician since his debut. Playing out like one seamless and intentionally cinematic experience, the album spans bass / tech house, future funk / soul, electro-pop and even dubstep.

Mat Zo’s catalogue embodies much of what we love about electronic music–a penchant for innovation paired with the undeniable talent to pull off extensive experimentation. It’s for that reason that we couldn’t be more excited to welcome him as our latest Resident Artist. Over the next month, stay tuned for exclusive Mat Zo content on TMN. In the meantime, check out a medley of tunes from his latest album below.

Mat Zo – Soul Food
Mat Zo – The Enemy (ft. Sinead Egan)
Mat Zo – Killing Time
Mat Zo – Ruffneck Bad Boy (VIP)
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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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[Chill] Nick Leng – Playing With Fire

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Nick Leng
Playing With Fire

It’s been almost a year since we’ve heard new original material from producer and vocalist Nick Leng but his Tunnels and Planes EP remains a go to for laid-back listening. Earlier this week, the LA-based producer and vocalist announced the release of an upcoming EP and unleashed the first single.

“Playing With Fire” truly engulfs the listener with a pretty piano melody layered with ambient electronic elements. Leng’s vocals are mixed flawlessly managing to avoid overpowering their gorgeous accompanying elements. Just as his voice serves as an instrument, so do the lyrics about being on the verge of an argument as they give way to the head-nodding chorus. Leng’s Drivers EP is due out just in time for summer on June 3rd via B3SCI Records–pre-order it now here.

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[Indie] MOSAICS – Year of Valor

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MOSAICS
Year Of Valor

Longtime Ninja readers may recall San Francisco’s MOSAICS from our 2015 interview shortly following the release of their debut, Of Colors–an impressive fusion of creative electronic production and acoustic guitar licks. Last week, the 3-piece returned announcing a new EP and unveiling its title track.

“Year of Valor” shows a clear evolution of the MOSAICS sound, in part with the help of new lead vocalist Maryam Sadeghian. The song opens with an infectious guitar loop that blends with syncopated hi-hat percussion making way for Sadeghian’s voice, which leaves an immediate impression. The production, even with its constant progression, gives just enough room to draw light to compelling songwriting regarding the world’s constant struggle with superficiality. During the chorus, the backdrop takes a psychedelic turn as the guitar reverses before an almost EDM-esque drop back into the verse.

Given that I’ve been listening to Moderat’s album on repeat recently, there’s definitely some comparison to be made in MOSAICS intersection of soul, indie and experimental electronic elements. However, the SF trio possess a more accessible, pop-leaning sensibility making Year of Valor, which drops May 20th, a likely summer breakout project. Keep your eye out and, in the meantime, vibe above.

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[Hip-Hop] Tunji Ige – Missed Calls (EP)

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After bursting onto the scene in 2014 with his self-produced debut mixtape, The Love Project, Philly emcee Tunji Ige spent 2015 slowly rolling out a slew of impressive genre-bending tunes including collaboration with What So Not and Oshi. Fellow Philly rep Noah Breakfast, formerly known as Xaphoon Jones, has become his go-to producer and rightfully so–their styles could not be more complimentary. Breakfast’s inventive, electronic landscapes blend with Ige’s own atmospheric production chops and melodic flows.

Today, the duo dropped Missed Calls, Ige’s first official project since his debut taking the musical exploration to new heights. While the EP still possess a hip-hop flavor, the influence of dance music is felt on each track. “Change That,” the opener sets the tone with banging, forward-thinking production and a characteristically addicting hook from Tunji. As the project progresses, each track presents a distinct facet–subtle house elements can be felt on the smooth “War,” heavier electro-trap prevails “On My Grind” and “Bring Yo Friends” and “22,” the final track, carries dreary future R&B stylings. Missed Calls proves that Tunji Ige has the talent to become a cross over star with a sound that’s both refreshing and accessible. Give it a peep below–you can grab on iTunes now.

’Tunji Ige – Change That (Prod. Tunji Ige)’
’Tunji Ige – War (Prod. By Noah Breakfast)’
’Tunji Ige – Fired Up (Prod. Tunji Ige + Addtl Prod. Noah Breakfast)’
’Tunji Ige – On My Grind (Prod. Tunji Ige + Noah Breakfast)’
’Tunji Ige – Bring Yo Friends ( Prod. Tunji Ige + Addtl Prod. Noah Breakfast)’
’Tunji Ige – All Night (Prod. Tunji Ige + Noah Breakfast)’
’Tunji Ige – 22 (Prod. Tunji Ige + Addtl Prod. Noah Breakfast)’
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[Chill] Snakehips – Money On Me (feat. Anderson .Paak)

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SNAKEHIPS
Money On Me ft. Anderson .Paak

Snakehips and Anderson .Paak are two artists who have seemingly worked with everyone. Last year saw the UK production duo of Snakehips making hits with artists from Chance the Rapper to Syd (of The Internet), while everything-man Anderson .Paak teamed up with countless rappers and producers on his way to signing with Dr. Dre. So, when a collab between the two popped up in our Soundcloud feeds, we can’t say we were surprised but that didn’t make us any less excited. On “Money On Me,” Snakehips craft a smooth, low-end atmosphere over which .Paak delivers one of his most chilled-out vocal performances. Even as the production fills out, the song doesn’t lose its smooth, summery vibe. Warm up with this tune above and make sure to check out Anderson .Paak’s Malibu if you haven’t yet.

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