What’s What on SoundCloud

Hello friends. Welcome back to “What’s What on SoundCloud”! The following are some of the noteworthy tracks I’ve been listening to recently and feel that you should be listening to as well.

This week’s artist spotlight: Sam Gellaitry and KAYTRANADA

Sam Gellaitry is an electronic music producer out of Scotland who found his success on Soundcloud thanks in part to the underground music conglomerate, Soulection Radio. With goofy synth leads, quirky jazz chord progressions, and an overarching cinematic feel that invokes a sense of nostalgia, Sam G is one of my favorite artists to date.  After he tweeted “gonna release all this stuff I’ve been sitting on in the next couple of days” last week, I knew we were in for a treat.

If you listen to only one song from this blog post, “want u 2” should be the one. The instrumentation on this track is incredibly well executed. Gellaitry knows how to create compelling syncopated melodies that leave you with no option but to nod along with the beat in satisfaction. Whether you’re at a huge party or listening on your own in your room, this groovy track is sure to please your ears and your soul.

“Pyrotechnic” is a little more quirky. Sam is super liberal with the chops, creating a sense of anticipation as you wait for the beat to come back in after it cuts out. He slaps this track in the face with his distinct eccentric style. If you haven’t given Gellaitry’s discography a listen, I highly recommend it.

To conclude this week’s discovery, I’m throwing it back to 2014. “At All” is, without a doubt, my favorite Kaytranada track of all time. This funk-house banger is the perfect thing to listen to on a late night drive around town, or really any time you just want to dance. Kaytranada’s distinct bass lines and combination of bump and groove give this track the perfect balance between the funk of yesterday and the house music of today.

What’s What on SoundCloud

It’s TRV aka The Realest Vegan aka The King of Soundcloud Finds, back with a list of what I’m listening to this week. First off, another hit from the jazz group gone electronic production trio, 3lo, this time with their spin on Rae Sremmurd’s Black Beatles, aptly titled Bl5kBtls. The song takes an interesting, future bass inspired twist on the chart topping hit from 2016 (ignore the poorly photoshopped album art, this song is sick trust me).

Tennyson has been one of my favorite artists for a long time, and in celebration of his upcoming concert at Kilby Court (which you should definitely check out), I had to throw in Like What? An audiophiles delicacy, this track first pleases your senses, then takes you on a journey as you search for post-production perfection. It’s weird, raw, and groovy.

Quickly Quickly’s Trilogy is an electronic masterpiece produced solely by a highschooler out of Portland, OR. The progression of themes in this song proves this kid doesn’t mess around, displaying his musical prowess over his peers. His musical progressiveness in this emerging electronic sub-genre puts him leaps ahead and makes him a must watch as he rises through the ranks of soundcloud’s greats.

To round off this week’s finds, we’ve got a super funk collab from Tall Black Guy and Darondo. Doing other collaborations with rising artists like Masego and Rommel Donald, Tall Black Guy has a refreshing retro-groove influenced sound that’s already earned a timeless place in my books. If you’re not riding Tall Black Guy Railway, you better hop on soon.

I hope you guys enjoyed this weeks tracks. Hit me up on twitter @K_UTETRV and let me know what you’ve been listening to!

Frank Ocean: Blonde

Blond(e) is the second studio album from vocalist and visionary, Frank Ocean. In the 4 years since the release of his first album, Channel Orange, the hype around this album’s release became too much to handle. Release dates were tossed around the community, but the days passed and Frank Ocean was nowhere to be found. You know the artists that are on your watch list? Frank Ocean is the artist on their watch list. Everybody was waiting at the edge of their seats for that new Frank, and after such a long drought, he delivered.

Nikes, the introductory track was made for those who languished in anticipation of this legendary release for years (myself included). Channel Orange was Frank’s delivery of his stance on the world and its issues, but Blonde is about changing the world’s stance on him. The song starts with luscious cords that sooth the soul, but the vocals are transposed to an almost uncomfortable degree. Interestingly enough, that’s the point. Everyone expected a second Channel Orange, but Frank was already paving way for a new sound that will undoubtedly influence the rest of his genre.  “I’ll let you guys prophesy/We gon’ see the future first/Livin’ so that last night/Feels like a past life.” He makes a point to let his listeners know that to truly experience and understand the new Frank, you have to let go of the past one.

Although he emphasizes moving into the future, Frank Ocean comes back to his artistic roots, incorporating skits such as Be Yourself and Facebook Story, reminiscent of the skits from Channel Orange (Fertilizer and Not Just Money). These tracks may be similar to previous, but instead of existing for the purpose of storytelling , they’re on the album to send important messages. Be Yourself stresses the irony behind the straight edge movement, as Frank’s mom argues for individuality by commanding her child to conform to what society thinks are the right choices. Facebook Story highlights the ludicrous amount of importance placed upon social media, as a man describes how his girlfriend broke up with him because he wouldn’t friend her on Facebook. Blond’s other songs are full of examples of what’s wrong in his world, such as his reference to the death of Trayvon Martin in Nikes, to the struggles of trusting those around you examined in “Nights”.

Godspeed, the second to last track on the album, is one of the most emotionally charged and frankly one of the best songs Frank Ocean has ever produced. The striking piano introduction is chilling, followed by a church Rhodes, and of course harmony from the man himself. Frank expresses how he’ll “always be there for you,” explicitly explaining his loyalty to whomever the song is addressed, and forgiving that person for leaving. The track was produced by Ocean and James Blake. The creative direction, the amount of different sounds just in one song alone is beyond impressive. It shows how much time, effort, and love was put into the production and recording of this album. The amount of star power behind this album is equally as impressive as the sound. Ocean gives credit where it’s due to some amazing musical influences, such as Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Mike Dean, James Blake, Pharrell Williams, Andre 3000, and Yeezus himself.

At first listen I was admittedly disappointed by Frank Ocean’s new sound, but I had expected another Channel Orange, instead of expecting another groundbreaking album completely different from anything ever. Blond is a direct reflection of Frank Ocean as an artist and creative, showing that challenging what’s expected and disregarding the status quo can result in something magical.

Photo Credit: Frank Ocean/Def Jam Records