[Indie/Electro-Pop] Mansions on the Moon – Full Moon EP

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One of our many favorite things to come out of the Golden State, Los Angeles’ Mansions on the Moon have been perfecting a gorgeous brand of downtempo, but incredibly inviting pop music since the release of their first mixtape Paradise Falls in 2011; and after 2012’s wonderful Lightyears EP which was produced by Pharrell Williams, we were ready for something ambitious from the continuously impressive four-piece. Thus, one year later, we have been exalted with their latest body of work: Full Moon. Totaling five tracks and only 19 minutes in length, Full Moon again peels back another layer of the band’s psyche while simultaneously setting the ceiling even higher on their ever abundant potential.

The extended play’s title track (a tune we shared last month, in case you missed it)  opens with a clean, popping snare, backed by an echoey choir sample and poppy synth line all wrapped in Ted Wendler’s reverb treated vocals. “Full Moon” serves as a wonderful thesis statement for the album, flaunting a large sampling of their talents and production skill all in one pretty package. Further padding out the EP’s sounds is the anthemic indie tune (if there is such a thing) “It’s Not Too Late”. Again, Wendler’s intonations are center stage but the clever instrumentation from Ben Hazelgrove on keys and Lane Shaw’s honed in drumming add such a unique fullness to not just “It’s Not Too Late”, but to the album as a whole.

As singles “Radio”, “It’s Not Too Late” and “Full Moon” had been teased and released in the past few months leading to Full Moon’s official release, the real treat comes in the form on two previously unheard collaborative tracks, “More Than Nothing” featuring Frank + Derol lead vocalist Codi Caraco and “Heart of the Moment” with Zee Avi. Both tunes provide a departure from the still to be determined “Mansions on the Moon Sound” and lie on different ends of the spectrum. “More Than Nothing” functions as a slow-burning electro-pop ballad featuring that always lovely back-and-forth male-female vocal play with a subdued MIDI hook gently pounding away and a welcome lead piano fusing the entire movement together seamlessly; whereas “Heart of the Moment” takes us into an 80’s discotechque with some bouncy synth work and very pop appropriate vocals.

Playing into the group’s altruistic nature, Full Moon has been self-released as a “pay what you want” download on Bandcamp, so even if you have a dollar to throw down, it would no doubt be amazing to see such a talented and selfless group of artists get a little bit of monetary compensation for their amazing gift to the world. If your listening wades in the waters of indie-pop, alt-rock, hip-hop and even house their is a little something to be consumed within this set of five tracks, so go ahead and grab the full release.

Full Moon
Its Not Too Late
More Than Nothing (ft. Codi)
Heart of the Moment (ft. Zee Avi)
Radio
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[Hip-Hop] BET Hip-Hop Awards 2013: The Cyphers

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The BET Hip-Hop Awards finally aired earlier tonight, and while I personally am not a huge fan of the show, there’s one segment that I eagerly anticipate every year: The Cyphers. The Cyphers are really where the event truly shines, bringing together some of the most talented emcees in the game, underground and mainstream. This year’s lineup is certainly a formidable one, featuring the likes of TDE, A$AP MobSlaughterhouseAction BronsonTravi$ ScottRittzJon Connor, and even some jokes courtesy of J.B. SmooveKevin Hart, and Nick Cannon. Check out the cyphers below, and let us know who you think went in the hardest (we’re guessing the popular answer will be Kendrick Lamar).

Top Dawg Entertainment (ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick Lamar)

Watch the rest of The Cyphers after the jump

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[House] Equal ft. Gary Jules – Lost In The Evening (Follow Me Remix)

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Equal ft. Gary Jules
Lost In The Evening (Follow Me Remix)

If you have readily visited our site over the past year then you should be well aware that with each and every one of their subsequent releases, we here at TMN have become increasingly fond of the group known as Follow Me. When it comes to deep, sensual house music that makes you weak in the knees with nostalgia, very few can shake a stick at the Brooklyn duo. Their tropical flavored synths and pads translate into something much deeper than just another collection of harmonic sound waves. Their creations are emotive, hypnotic, and sophisticated. Their latest rendition, a remix of Equal‘s ‘Lost In The Evening’, dabbles at the interface of disco and house; transforming the original into a dazzling piece of art that will have you instantly bobbing your head in approval. As usual, the Brooklyn boys are giving this gem out for free so make sure to grab the free download and show them your gratitude by giving them a like on Facebook here! Enjoy.

 

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[Hip-Hop] MellowHigh – Extinguisher

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Mellowhigh
Extinguisher

Last month we were introduced to MellowHigh, the newest subgroup within the Odd Future Collective. While the pieces may be familiar, the music has all been incredibly fresh so far. “Extinguisher” seems like an appropriate title for this new heater, because that’s exactly what you’ll need after you hear the fiery verses from Domo Genesis and Hodgy Beats on this cut. Both emcees channel their inner M.O.P. as they bring an endless amount of energy to the blaring, boom bap instrumental provided by Left Brain. Check out the single above, while the video for another one of recent tracks, “Yu,” can be found below.  The trio’s self-titled debut is set for release on Halloween.

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[Chill-House] Passenger – Let Her Go (Kygo Remix)

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Passenger
Let Her Go (Kygo Remix) Free Download

Boy have we got quite the lovely, uplifting electronic tune for you Ninjas today. 22 year-old Norwegian Kygo has retooled Passenger’s lovelorn, acoustic ditty “Let Her Go” into a mature and sensuous house ballad which stands miles apart from the original. Kygo’s remix begins with an almost contemporary 80’s feel à la early Genesis, riding on a hollow rim-snare kick and poppy highs before a low and lush synth is worked on top of  the entire production. Furthermore, the work done vocally – pitching them down, folding them into an airy but profoundly rooted synthesizer melody and working them in as a welcome and distinct addition to the entire fold – is just stunning, and enveloped every aspect of my senses along the 7 minute listening journey. It was high time Kygo earned his own writeup after a couple appearances on our always amazing Chill Dojo and there is no doubt that we will see this burgeoning talent once again grace the pages of TMN in the near future especially after such a captivating start. As an even brighter bonus, the remix is up for free download on Soundcloud, so please go get your listen on.

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Active Child – Rapor EP [FULL STREAM]

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After releasing his critically acclaimed debut album ‘You Are All I See’ , Pat Gross better known as Active Child catapulted himself as one of the most exciting acts of late 2011 and beyond. This October will mark another milestone for the Los Angeles native exposing his musical maturity with the release of Rapor recorded in his home studio sharing the same name. Serving as a “culmination of Grossi’s heartfelt journey around the world in support” of his latest album, the sounds contained in six-song EP accentuate his already aggressive 1980s synth-pop tendencies yet remain enthralled by his acute production and experimental layering for modern consumption.

“The house is made up almost entirely of glass, designed by the architects Buff and Hensman as their personal refuge from the chaos of LA. Inside the studio you can feel the sun pouring through the skylights and the mountains wrapping around on all sides. They named it Rapor, Ra meaning sun and Por meaning house. Sometimes i would spend weeks alone at home writing without leaving or having visitors. It was during those periods that i realized how important that space was to me creatively. I relied on that solitude.” – Active Child

Active Child’s ability to cohesively introduce new experiences with a backdrop of distinctly familiar sounds leaves us wanting to explore the very world he created. Delicate tracks like “Calling In The Name of Love” evoke nostalgia by revisiting similar sounds of the 80’s and if the Breakfast Club had a risque love scene, this would undoubtedly be its soundtrack. The EP also features impressive collaborations with vocalist Mikky Ekko and our beloved Ellie Goulding whose appearance in the track ‘Silhouette’ borders into the angelic.

Set for release on October 22nd via Vagrant Records, Rapor EP is a journey you will want to take and will soon be thanking Active Child for taking you with him. You can stream the entire EP below.

Active Child
She Cut Me
Active Child
Subtle (Feat. Mikky Ekko)
Active Child
Feeling is Gone
Active Child
Silhouette (Feat. Ellie Goulding)
Active Child
Calling In The Name of Love
Active Child
Evening Ceremony
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Vandetta – Vandetta EP [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

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After premiering Ground Zero from Singaporean artist/musician Vanessa Fernandez a.k.a Vandetta, we were instantly hooked. Even based on sheer attractiveness in sound, this would be a keeper. However, when you dig deeper into what actually went into making this EP, you can’t help but just take a step back and glow in admiration for the depth of her artistry.

Inspired heavily by soul, hip-hop, bass and beats, the EP’s sound is a true reflection of her influences. When asked about the concept as a whole, Vandetta said,

The concept for the EP started with the idea of a caged bird. The caged bird metaphorically represents what it feels like being a singer/artist in Singapore. In many ways it is like living in a cage, albeit a very beautiful one. On the surface everything seems so prosperous and clean but there is no soul.

Without actually knowing how to read music, Fernandez took on the daunting production by herself using her mobile set up (Mac, Ableton Live, Focusrite Saffire 6) in a Downtown LA loft, her boyfriend’s house in the San Gabriel Valley and her home in Singapore. As we mentioned in our first premiere, the one thing that really blew us away was the fact that she only uses her voice to create the entire track. Every sound is produced by just that, which we find as a refreshing and unique take on producing something that is truly entirely hers.

You should be familiar with two of her tracks already (“Fly,” and “Ground Zero), as they were released a few weeks ago. The other three tunes from the EP though are equally impressive, with “Walls” being our personal favorite. The EP’s vision stays consistent in this track, harnessing the gorgeous interaction between downtempo, crisp beats, vocal percussion and Fernandez’ soul-rich vocal tone.

This EP is full of avant-garde stylings, yet Vandetta’s classic vocal style brings it all back into the realm of familiarity. Take a moment to listen to all five tracks exclusively here on The Music Ninja.

Vandetta
WALLS
Vandetta
MYNE
Vandetta
FLY
Vandetta
NUMBER ONE
Vandetta
GROUND ZERO
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