Author Archives: Dominic Powell

[R&B] Lido & Santell – Passion Project II (EP Review)

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’Lido & Santell – Committed’
’Lido & Santell – Recruit’
’Lido & Santell – Mariah/Say You Scared’

After releasing the well-circulated, greatly successful album Everything this past October, Lido hopped on tour to promote his new material. As we covered during a stop here in the Bay Area, Lido was equipped with an impressive live setup, taking over some of the most prestigious venues across the country. Now, after finishing up the Everything Tour, the young producer has once again teamed up with Santell to follow up their Passion Project series.

A slight departure from the solo sounds of Lido and a world away from the Jersey Club characteristics of Trippy Turtle, the duo have made clear in PPII that the success of the electronic R&B collaboration is no fluke. In fact, the genre is gaining some traction behind producers such as Mar and Full Crate as well. In Passion Project II, listeners get an earful of what the duo have been up to since the October 2015 release of PPI. Continue reading

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[16 To End 2016] Ninja Dom Edition

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#1 – “Tangle Formations” by Explosions In The Sky from their seventh studio Album, The Wilderness.

  • The experimental post-rock band has moved past their days of scoring Friday Night Lights and set their sights on even more ambitious goals with a reinvented sound. The Wildnerness is as much of a conceptual and enjoyable journey as the previous projects, but with more structure and direction.
Explosions In The Sky
Tangle Formations

#2 – “Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix)” by Hiatus Kaiyote from their remix LP, Recalibrations Vol. 1.

  • After releasing one of my favorite projects from 2015, the Early Riser LP, McFerrin made another splash this past May by reimagining a track from Hiatus Kaiyote’s 2015 album Choose your Weapon.
Hiatus Kaiyote
Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix) (feat. Anderson .Paak)

#3 – “It’s A Memory Feat. Elohim and Mansions on the Moon (Amtrac Remix) by Fred Falke from his remix EP, It’s A Memory – the Remixes.

  • In an unsurprising turn of events, Amtrac has put together the most impressive EDM remix of 2016, fusing the elements laid out by Fred Falke with his own brand of wizardry to create a one-of-a-kind track.
Fred Falke
It’s A Memory ft. Elohim, Mansions On The Moon (Amtrac Remix)

#4 – “Earth Girls” by Jesse Boykins III from his mixtape, Bartholomew.

  • While the album has features from the likes of Noname, Little Simz, Willow Smith, Syd, Mick Jenkins and others, his best work is done on a solo piece, Earth Girls. I wrote about this song earlier this year here.
Jesse Boykins III
Earth Girls

#5 – “Nights” by Frank Ocean from his second studio album, Blonde.

  • While it took Frank 4 years to give us another album, he certainly delivered with Blonde. In releasing his 2016-version of “Pyramids”, Frank gives us a growing piece that stands up to any criticism lobbed his way.
Frank Ocean
Nights

#6 – “Ultralight Beam Feat. Kelly Price, Donnie Trumpet, Chance the Rapper, The-Dream and Kirk Franklin” by Kanye West from The Life of Pablo.

  • The introduction track from the most hyped release of 2016 also gave us the best hip hop verse of the year – in addition to the most diverse contributors to a single track. Another instant classic to go in Kanye’s hall of fame catalog.
Kanye West
Ultralight Beat (feat. Chance The Rapper)

#7 – “My True Name” by Bloc Party. from their fifth studio album, Hymns.

  • 4 years after the release of Four, and after a major band member shakeup no less, Bloc Party returned to the studio headed by Kele to deliver one last time with another intimate, topical record.
Bloc Party
My True Name

#8 – “With Me” by Lane 8 from his project, This Never Happened.

  • The Leipzig-based producer started out 2016 with “Midnight” and has been a beacon of consistency for the electronic music world. Each of his releases have been of superb quality, but “With Me” is the best of the bunch. I wrote about it earlier this year here.
Lane 8
With Me

#9 – “All Night Feat. Knox Fortune (Kaytranada Remix)” by Chance the Rapper from Kaytranada’s 0.001% mixtape.

  • In a year where Kaytranada finally got over the hump, graduating from blogospher fame to mainstrem musical fame, he took a victory lap of sorts in the latter months, giving us some of his best material yet. His remix to Chance’s “All Night” will be a mainstay in dance clubs for many months to come.
Chance The Rapper
All Night (feat. Knox Fortune) (Kaytranada Remix)

#10 – “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers.

  • Maggie Roger’s rise based on the strength of Alaska mirrored the same path Ryn Weaver took after her song Octahate became the flavor of the year in 2014. While Roger has not yet amassed the same following, her single is as impressive and minimalistic as one could hope for from a debut.
Maggie Rogers
Alaska

#11 – “Eva” by Punctual.

  • As an eclectic deep house track with samples and influences ranging from Indian pop to 80’s synth, Eva is as groundbreaking and novel today as it was the first few hundred times I listened to it.
Punctual
Eva

#12 – “Clementine Feat. Lex Famous” by Rambo V.

  • Claiming this song as “Soul House”, Rambo V set off the soundtrack to my summer with Clementine. This dreamy, fun-loving track grooves along fusing the line beautifully between future bass and house.
Rambo V
Clementine Ft. Lex Famous

#13 – “All Night Feat. Dornik” by SG Lewis.

  • SG Lewis released one of my early picks for song of the year, dropping All Night with Dornik in February. This track harnesses some of the emotion captured in his previous classic “Warm” while adding a more upbeat, poppy spin to the piece.
SG Lewis
All Night(ft. Dornik)

#14 – “Homemade” by Matthew Chaim.

  • Hailing from Montreal, this Canadian pop producer unleashed a catchy piece along with the help of Noah Barer and Cavewerk earlier this year. I wrote about the track previously here.
Matthew Chaim
Homemade (prod. Noah Barer & Cavewerk)

#15 – “Gettin’ it Done” by Ross From Friends.

  • As perhaps the best named artist from this group of sixteen, Ross from Friends also put together one of the best house tunes to come out in 2016. While injecting elements of 90’s R&B with a persistently building bassline, the song has elements that appeal to a wide range of aficionados.
Ross From Friends
Gettin’ It Done’

#16 – “The Look” by Halpe and Sophie Meiers.

  • My favorite track that maybe 2% of my friends have heard before. This vocalist has a handful of mesmerizing tracks, but pairing with Halpe pushes The Look into another category entirely.
halpe
The Look w/ sophie meiers
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[Event Review] Lido gives it Everything in his return to Bay Area

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As a trailblazer in the field and a posterboy to the new electronic movement, Peder Losnegård is far beyond needing introduction. Abandoning previous musical incarnations, Lido emerged as a preeminent producer a few years back, co-creating Halsey’s Badlands LP and touring around the country in support of his own works. While also gaining some notoriety for credits on works with Chance the Rapper, Alison Wonderland, and Banks, his star continued to grow brighter by the month. Over the course of 2016, Lido has made major headway in cementing his place among the dominant producers of the era – along with the likes of Flume, Hudson Mohawke, Cashmere Cat, and Jack Garratt.

 

Bringing his North American fan base a much anticipated step away from reality, the prodigal record producer, songwriter, and occasional rapper embarked on an ambitious 14-date tour in support of last month’s wildly popular sophomore release, Everything.

 

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Continue reading

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[Future] Sweater Beats – Did You Wrong (Feat. Max)

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SWEATER BEATS
Did You Wrong ft. MAX

With a very extensive winter tour gearing up this week and a plethora of new tunes released this year, Sweater Beats is giving fans plenty of reasons to turn out and catch him this season. Antonio Cuna, who made his big splash in the internet community with a remix to Flume’s “Drop the Game” in 2014, has built a fairly large international fan base in the years since.

The LA based producer expanded his skill set from unique remixes and edits to original works of his own, leading to a substantial and consistent internet buzz. As if we needed another reason to cover his budding career, Sweater Beats just released an incredible new track with vocalist Max titled “Did You Wrong”. The song blends the fresh and talented crooning of Max with the ingredients that we have come to expect from one of our favorite technically savvy producers.

Listeners will get ample opportunities to catch some of the aesthetic visionary in person, as he embarks on a 31-stop tour beginning this Thursday in San Francisco. As an added bonus, Cuna will be revealing a live set during the “For the Cold” tour, replacing the DJ sets of his previous performances. Catch Sweater Beats in your city this winter here, and stay up to date on his latest releases over at Soundcloud.

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[House] Lane 8 – With Me

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Lane 8
With Me

Last time we covered the work of Daniel Goldstein, your ninja team was in the building as he delivered a previously-unreleased track “Midnight” during his 12:00 New Year’s set at Snowglobe. Despite the lack of coverage recently, make no mistake Lane 8 has been busy churning out contemporary hits with regularity. Over the past few months our favorite French Express / Anjunadeep collaborator has released a dual EP release in Crush/Divina, a summer mixtape, and a long awaited remix of deadmau5’s all-time classic “Strobe”. This week, he’s given us two surprises: a new release as well as details regarding a nationwide winter tour.

Continue reading

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[Hip-Hop] Phero Hill – Who Is It?

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Phero Hill
Who Is It?

Fresh on the scene and coming off of a successful album debut earlier this month, Los Angeles lyricist Phero Hill has been turning heads with his smooth sound. Gaining some buzz on the strength of Ronin, he shows off an impressive range that touts a wide variety of flows. While justifying his place among up-and-coming contemporaries and talented vocalists like Matthew Chaim and Ben Beal, Phero Hill allows listeners to join along for the journey as he crafts a signature sound.

As the intro track to Ronin, “Who Is It” laces a fast-spitting cadence around a trumpeting, catchy beat pattern. Ronin showcases charismatic sounds, relatable themes, and an all-inclusive aspect, meaning listeners will have no trouble finding something that is their own speed. Fans can follow Phero Hill and stream the project in full on Soundcloud here.

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[Hip-Hop] Waldo – Closer Feat. Sango & SAVON

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Waldo
Closer (prod. Savon & Sango)
As music enthusiasts first and foremost, one question in particular always makes the cut when we at The Music Ninja interview artists: “Which musicians are you into lately?”

In creating his widely-praised dark comedy Atlanta, Donald Glover eagerly gives us the answers by injecting tunes of his choosing throughout the first season. Case in point, the soundtrack to Atlanta is so well-regarded that multiple articles have been written praising its eclectic nature and quality, and a highly circulated Spotify playlist updates each week with new songs from the show. For one artist in particular, making the cut on Atlanta may bring about an infusion of mainstream recognition to propel his career even further.

Grand Rapids repping rapper Waldo, one of the most talented and underrated lyricists in the genre, has been releasing notable projects for years. Since making waves as early as 2013 with “Kobe’s Room” – to a pair of major declarations of his arrival with EP releases Tuebor and Until Then – we have kept close tabs on his journey. Partnered with fellow Michigan natives and longtime friends SAVON and Sango, Waldo released his latest hit this past week, titled “Closer”.

With a hauntingly bass-heavy rhythm throughout, the lyrics and instrumentals form a symbiotic bond, painting the gritty picture depicted in his up-tempo cadence. Beyond the prodigal beat-making talents of Sango and Savon, and beyond the vocal characterization of Waldo, the biggest draw to his sound lies in its pure authenticity.

Fans in California will have a few chances to see him live this month: he’ll be in San Diego at the Soda Bar with Jimmy Javier on October 25th and in Oakland at The New Parish with Sango on October 27th. Listeners can join the AGO movement by following along with the Soundcloud pages of both the collective and Waldo for all releases.

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