Sego – Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around [ALBUM PREMIERE]

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With the cyclical nature of music, there are bound to be sounds that keep crawling their way into our present day. How can you not savor something that is already familiar, that just feels like a small piece of home or a bite of your mom’s favorite dish that you only tried years after moving out and surprised yourself in shame that you had forgotten how delicious it tasted? Often times, however, these sounds and their creators exhausted themselves trying too hard to pay tribute to their predecessors, that unfortunately miss the mark completely. One thing is to revisit the past with a modern take, and another is to include the fading memories that also made them forgettable. Fortunately for this world, the Los Angeles-by-way-of-Provo duo Sego, have created an immersive experience of collected sounds that challenge what you once knew, while still disrupting what you know today.

Within minutes of entering the biosphere of their debut album, Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around, depicted by lightly controlled undertones of the 90s indie rock scene, euphoric synthesized notes and vocals masked with distorted frequencies, Sego establishes itself with the intro track “Obscene Dream”. Personally, the song gave me goosebumps and not because of the production quality, which is remarkably clear and balanced, or their infectious choruses (that are just as catchy as wearing Toms in 2012), but because it frightened me a little to write this review. I couldn’t find words to properly define them. How can you properly define Sego and this precise album? And the longer you spend listening to each track, you come to realize that you don’t. You don’t need to define it to make sense of it. While the intro track might sound like a remixed, more distorted version of early Two Door Cinema Club songs, the following, ‘False Currency’ is reminiscent of a more sporadic Cake with statement-like lyrics that now live in a post-millennial world.

Yet among all the different directions Sego finds itself going, the most appealing quality of the album is undoubtedly its constraint. As eclectic and sometimes even as random as their music appears on the surface, it is apparent in calmer tunes “Stars” and “Fool Around” that they understand the spectrum of music they can deliver. Some tracks find themselves pushing the envelope of what the ears can handle, challenging our own perception of the genres we know, while others are simply smothered with beautiful harmonies, making them a breeze to consume. “Wicket Youth” shines as an example of a delightfully bright indie-electro-pop, mid-summer poolside anthem with enough inherent joy to make you want to do cartwheels.

Ultimately, Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around feels like a meticulously ordered playlist of Sego’s own music, which today, is accompanied by the delightfully bizarre animations of from renowned GIF artist Gustavo Torres (a.k.a – Kidmograph). It opens up with robust musical elements meshed and layered together over synthesized blips, kicks and riffs to establish a form of authority that then carries over the rest of the album. Just because they can create these extended experimental experiences, doesn’t mean that is all they will do. What follows is an exciting journey deeply rooted in genuine sounds, nostalgia and inducing a completely new fascination for the married genres they have fused together.

Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around, will be out March 4, 2015, in North America and May 6 in UK/Europe.

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[Event Preview] Red Bull Sound Select Denver Presents: SANGO w/ SPZRKT & CRL CRRLL @ Cervantes Ballroom – 3/31

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It’s no secret that we’ve grown very close with and fond of our friends at Red Bull Sound Select. Truly one of the few major corporations involved in music putting their influence to good use, the amazing curators, thinkers, and artists involved with RBSS have always had their ears to the streets towards burgeoning artists across a plethora of genres; inciting within us Ninjas a need to see each and every one of their eclectic showcases near our respective hometowns. In the past few years alone in this writer’s fair (and Superbowl defending champion) city of Denver, we’ve been privy to some of our favorite acts including The Internet, (the artists formerly known as) Viet Cong, Shigeto & Cloud Nothings; and with that, we’ve already come up on another tastefully crafted night of music provided by the RBSS crew. We’ve been excited as ever since first hearing rumblings about this one a while back, and finally on 3/31, Seattle based producer SANGO will make his way to the Mile High City to headline a night of top-to-bottom heat, which will also see performances from SPZRKT (Spazzy Rocket), and CRL CRRLL (Carl Carrell).

In anticipation of the next Denver stop for Red Bull Sound Select, we’ve put together a mini-playlist featuring selections from each artist on the night’s bill. As with every RBSS show, an early RSVP will get you in for the measly price of $3, so hop to it here and get there early to guarantee your spot. We’ll see you on the floor.

’SANGO – Life Without God Is Nothing’
’SANGO – F.L.O.R’
’SANGO – Infinidade’
’SPZRKT – Hesitate ft. MaSAXgo (prod. by Tyshane)’
’CRL CRRLL – Get It Together’
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Manatee Commune – Simple Lessons [TMN PREMIERE]

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Manatee Commune
Simple Lessons

It’s quite late right now, and as I write this, I’m torn between leisurely lounging on my couch, drink in hand, incessantly tapping my foot with a toothy grin spread across my face, or getting ready for a night on the town, casually throwing responsibilities to the wind. That’s the beauty in “Simple Lessons.” It effortlessly buzzes along lines of pure dance music and ambient electronica, giving us a soundscape that’s as lush as the foliage that sprawls across the home state of its producer.

Manatee Commune hails from the Pacific Northwest, and has started to create quite the name for himself. Recently earning the title of best electronic artist by Seattle Weekly, he’s now dialed up with a record with Brooklyn-based Bastard Jazz Recordings, and you’re about to get a taste today.

The composition is calculated and precise, bringing a bevy of light, airy synths, radiating percussion comprised of clicks, pops, and feathery snare hits, along with well-placed and well-treated vocal samples. It’s never overwhelming, showcasing a delightfully busy space that works together in something that’s both relaxed and invigorating.

Learning how to share my creative process with my friends completely revolutionized the last of year of music for me. Inviting those I trusted and loved into my studio to spend even just an hour talking or jamming opened fountains of inventive energy for me, especially from the ones who lacked any musical knowledge. I soon found myself incredibly inspired by the originality of even the smallest interactions with people, and so I pointed my field mic at anyone who had a story, a melody, or a stumbling beat they had been absentmindedly drumming, all in the hopes of capturing their individuality and framing it with my ever expanding insight into audio production. – Manatee Commune

“Simple Lessons” can be found on his upcoming Thistle EP this Friday. We highly recommend picking it up for your weekend festivities, whether they happen from the comfort of your own home, or within a low-lit dance club. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

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[Resident Artist of the Month] Introducing: The Code

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It’s not often that our resident artist is shrouded in such mystery. The Code, however, are used to being the exception by now. Although details are sparse, one thing we can say for certain about the artist-producer duo is that they are systematically working to reinvent R&B. Their music is often a genre-bending blend of sensual vocals, hazy synths and slinky rhythms. After dropping their highly acclaimed debut  1|11 mixtape back in 2014, the UK based group are currently gearing up to release their upcoming Blue Electronica EP later this year. See if you can crack The Code yourself by sampling of some of the songs from the project below, along with a unique remix of Calvin Harris‘ “How Deep Is Your Love”.

’The Code – HDIYL’
’The Code – Electronica’
’The Code – Azure’
’The Code – F**K’
’The Code – Sedative’
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[Indie] Daisy Chain – Bianca Casady

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Bianca Casady
Daisy Chain

You may have heard of the talented sister duo CocoRosie some time in the recent past. They’ve been making some pretty innovative stuff—characterized by experimental vocals, depth of lyrics, and feminine power. Today we bring you a release from half of the CocoRosie project, Bianca Casady. The Paris-based producer has released her track, “Daisy Chain,” and we’re pretty stoked about how different it is.

The best way we can describe this tune is beautifully morbid, and its morbidity lies equally in the instrumentation as it does the lyrics. Demonstrating her French influence, Casady opens “Daisy Chain” with Mr. Sad Accordion, which is our name for her accordion sample, not an actual person. We wish. She simultaneously brings in a sample of a piano, but it’s like one of those pianos you’d find in an abandoned house off the interstate that you really shouldn’t go in. She continues to play on these creepy versions of accordion, piano and eventually guitar in ways that perfectly compliment her death-ridden lyrics: “We’re all in line for the daisy chain… nothing but a chain gang pickin’ wild flowers by the roadside. No one in the boneyard bringing milk and honey to their loved ones.” We’ll leave the interpretation up to you. But the interpretation we will leave you with is that of the whole song—a creepy success.

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[Experimental] Arca – Urchin

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Urchin

As we sit here writing this post and listen to Arca’s newest track release, “Urchin”, we’re sort of frightened. For us this isn’t a new feeling when listening to the London-based gender neutral producer’s music in the night, but it is one that we welcome. Arca reminds us that there is beauty in ambiguity and darkness—the feelings many of their tracks leave us with.

After a critically acclaimed EP release with Mutant, we were really happy to see that they’d released another track so soon. After listening to “Urchin” we understand why this one came separately from the epic EP, however. This track embodies an industrially ambient density unlike any of their tracks from the unleashed Mutant, and that was made apparent upon the first listen. Retaining their quintessential qualities of stop-motion aesthetic synths, Arca creates an unprecedented low-end depth in this new track. Please keep releasing like wildfire. We can’t get enough.

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[15 to End 2015] Ninja Baseer’s Best of the Year

15 To End 15 - Baseer

When evaluating lists like this, it’s always important to remember the subjectivity in music. The songs here are not just what I would say are the “best” of 2015 or even necessarily my favorites, but the ones I had the most attachment to for one reason or another. Music is the closest thing we have to time travel in that it can evoke emotions unlike any other and effortlessly bring us back to moments long forgotten. This compilations of songs serves almost as a walk through memory lane, and choosing just 15 tracks to represent my 2015 proved to be a daunting task. Alas, I was able to finally narrow down my choices, so I hope you all enjoy my picks even if you don’t fully agree with them (which let’s be honest, you won’t). Finally, if you are curious about what didn’t make the cut, I’m going to shamelessly plug this massive Spotify playlist I compiled that includes pretty much all of my favorites from 2015.

’Kendrick Lamar – These Walls ft. Bilal, Anna Wise, Thundercat’
There’s no question that To Pimp A Butterfly is a classic album, so choosing just one standout single was definitely a challenge, but “These Walls” proves to be equally thought provoking as it is groovy.

’Thundercat – ‘Them Changes”
Speaking of “Them Changes”, Thundercat played an integral part in 2015’s funk revival, with Flying Lotus laying the groundwork for this tune with the Isley Brothers-sampling instrumental.

’Toro Y Moi – Buffalo’
“Buffalo” is just about as fun as it gets when Mr. Chaz Bundick is shredding on the guitar.

’The Internet – Girl ft. KAYTRANADA’

As far as love songs go, we couldn’t ask for more from this hypnotic collaboration between The Internet and Kaytranada.

’Alina Baraz & Galimatias – Can I’
Alina’s mellifluous voice and incisive lyrics combined with Galimatias’s melodic production will captivate your attention from start to finish.

’SG Lewis – No Less Ft Louis Mattrs’
Featuring two of the most remarkable talents I discovered in 2015, “No Less” makes for one of the smoothest listens of the year, accomplished through a superb blend of dulcet vocals and acoustic guitar work.

’Drake – Hotline Bling’
The most meme-worthy tune of the year is also easily one of the most infectious. Shout outs to D.R.A.M.

’Jamie XX, Young Thug & Popcaan – I Know (Good Times)’
The ultimate party anthem of 2015, “Good Times” are undoubtably to be had whenever this genre defying jam comes on.

’Snakehips x Tory Lanez – Dímelo’
One of the more unconventional pairings of the year, Snakehips and Tory Lanez found an incredibly creative middle ground between their drastically different sounds.

’Mura Masa – Firefly (ft. Nao)’
Two of our favorite up-and-comers from the UK, Mura Masa and Nao team up to create one of the catchiest songs we’ve heard in a long time.

’Disclosure – Superego (ft. Nao)’
It’s no mistake that Nao appears twice on this list, as the British songstress lends her vocal talents to yet another addicting tune.

’Skrillex And Diplo – To Ü (Feat. AlunaGeorge)’
Sorry JB, but Aluna Francis wins the award for the best Skrillex and Diplo collaboration of the year.

’Gallant – Weight In Gold (Louis Futon Remix)’
Pro Tip: Gallant’s “Weight In Gold” might have been the most heavily remixed track of the year, but I’ve found no version is more apt for shower acoustics than the Louis Futon remix.

’Beach House – PPP’

Beach House have a gift for crafting music that’s perfect for those times when you need to just close your eyes and drift away deep into your mind’s abyss.

’Tame Impala – Let It Happen’
Just as the title implies, it’s best to submerge yourself in the Currents of this psychedelic tune and let them carry you away on a new journey.

’Shlohmo – BURIED’
Shlohmo’s Dark Red serves as the soundtrack for the most epic space voyage you could ever imagine. Lock yourself in a dark room and let the music take hold.

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