Monthly Archives: May 2017

  • Album Review: Must Volkoff - Aquanaut

    Must Volkoff - Aquanaut Cover

    Must Volkoff – Aquanaut

    From the unfathomable bathymetric depths of the Universe, swims the 2nd production album from Must VolkoffAquanaut. The album’s title lends itself to grand imagery, metaphors and marine-like depth, which can be said for the music itself. Just take a few moments to mull over the title in your head, then apply it when listening. The album features artists from the UK to Australia, connecting the Indian to Atlantic ocean, effortlessly bridging the gap between them.

    Must Volkoff should be in your top 3 producers in Australia, if he’s not then you misunderstand what makes good production. This record is meticulously crafted, easily one of the most well produced albums I’ve heard. One can always provide endless accolades for his beats, however when speaking on production, I’m talking on a broader spectrum. The samples, mixing, cuts, tape hiss etc, are made in such incredible genius and taste, all those 1 %er’s pushing it further into undiluted pristine territory. While a lot of artists in Australia can be sea urchins and leeches, Must (and Pang Productions in general) are lantern fish, illuminating the way through. As the tidal waves of mediocre music crash our shores, Must is always a dependable anchor, firm on solidarity and quality. His production style has evolved a lot over the years but always has the “signature” stamp of authority. As the great Ciecmate once put it “it’s like he knows how to sample the sound of smoke”, a great way to put it. To me it’s the sound of dust mites in your crate, the sound of floating dust particles basking in morning sunlight, the sound of your cherished childhood arcade (mine was timezone) or the sound of water rising above Lemuria. To describe his style of beats forces the author of this article to plunge into a few under worldly oxymorons. The beats are archaic but avant-garde, retro but undeniably fresh, blaringly minimal but satisfyingly full, simultaneously. Each track on this album paints a vivid soundscape, which drags you down like a Grindylow into the murky world he has created, beautiful and healing like Jengu spirits.

    All the guest rappers on this do an amazing job with their verses. Every track is at an exceedingly high standard, dense both lyrically and in delivery. Must really knows how to bring the best out of every rapper he works with. Apollo Brown is an example of someone who does a similar thing. One can only speculate on the creative process of an album like this, but through either his selection of beats, the way he mixes their vocals, or perhaps being on the frontline of quality control, you can expect any rappers collaboration with Must to be super ill. Working with rappers with such high calibre, and distinct styles and voices definitely would help that. The album features and impressive list of rappers including Chester P, Maundz, Remus, Mata, Jehst, Flu, Sonnyjim, Nelson Dialect, Joe Snow, Adam Koots, One Sixth, Ramson Badbonez, Aslan, Dyl Thomas, just name a few. A lot of these artists most people know, a lot you might not. What you can know is that each of these rappers are on the top of their game, each one bringing something both layered and musically pleasing to the table, each rapper extremely secure in their style, effortless flows, complex lyrics.

    I will offer some meek critique on it. The main thing I don’t like is that Must doesn’t spit on it haha. Some people may have expectations before listening to the record, it’s not as “party” as White Russian (for less of a better description) but I believe this album bangs harder, and is overall a much more solid release than its predecessor, and to me that’s saying something. This album is more baroque, woozy, lo-fi and off kilter. But it’s hypnotically entrancing and infectious, supremely rich in texture in sound and arguably one of the best produced oz Hip-Hop releases, in my opinion.

    The supreme battle between good and evil, gods and devils is present throughout this album (this is just my perception.) That duality and polarity within the beats makes it so pleasing to listen to. Tiamat & Marduk, Leviathan & Hadad battling as the title goes, the paradox of minds.. aqua – naut.
    Overall it is extremely hard to pigeon-hole this release into any category as it stands alone as an impressive effort from a barrage of talented individuals, led by the mystro Must Volkoff, which has far exceeded the existing high hopes I had for this album. It truly is a remarkable body of tracks, and as always, Must delivers a true piece of sunken treasure.

    Favourite tracks:
    Aquanaut, Dr Seus (ft Flu), The Holy Ghost (ft Nelson Dialect), Fuck The Arcade (ft Jehst & Mata), Raining in the Hood (ft Mongo), Earth Jewelz (ft Aslan), Psychedelic Purple (ft Sonnyjim), M.F.T.C Shit (ft Remus & Chester P), Every Block (ft Gutz & Maggot Mouf)

    All those said, they could be easily be interchanged with others, it’s that kind of an album. What I will say is honourable mentions to Flu & Mata, as the stand out verses on the joint. Go and cop this release now, and when the wax comes get onto it, worth every cent spent, I would buy it 4 or 5 times over

    Words by Lani Milbus

     
  • Music Video Premier: Universafly - Ice Cubes (Kazi A x Izzy x Juxta)

    Australian Hip Hop, Universafly - Ice Cubes (Kazi A x Izzy x Juxta)

    UniversaFLY who is a collective of over a dozen like minded rappers and producers from different cultural backgrounds,  who with a common aim to bring about positive change have just released a brand new video 'Ice Cube'.

    The brand new single was produced by Olly Hooding and recorded at Fresh Hype Productions with Drakezilla from Drake Designs on the mixing and mastering duties. 'Ice Cube' was shot and edited by Elijah Yo and he has done a good job along with the artists in this video.

    Watch the premier of Universafly - Ice Cubes (Kazi A x Izzy x Juxta) below!

    Music Video Directed and Edited by: Elijah Yo
    Produced by Olly Hodding
    Recorded @ Fresh Hype Productions
    Mixed & Mastered by Drakezilla at Drake Designs

    Keep up to date with the artists via the links below!

    Universafly

    Kazi A

    Izzy

    Juxta

    Words by Travis Broi

     
  • Album Review: Flu - FTIBAG

    Fluent Form - FITBAG

    F#ck This I’m Buying A Gun

    This film/album is monumental. Full stop. If the writer of this article attempted to foolishly describe this release in full detail, then he would be a beardly man with many a forgotten dream.

    FTIBAG is so layered, textured and brilliant. It is the sort of film that surreptitiously works on all of your senses. In many ways the beauty lies in the simplicity of it. In many others the complexity, attention to detail and brain power behind the project is breathtaking and is the cornerstone of what make this so damn good.

    I mean fucking hell. You would be a very sour, blind, deaf and heartless person to not realise the craftmanship that was put into this project, even if you didn’t like Hip-Hop, or even if you had no musical sensibilities. This is pure art, the type of thing many of us live and breathe for, the type of thing that does move mountains, and has a positive impact on the world around us.

    As afore mentioned, the dexterity and abyss-like depth to this release has made it difficult to decide where or how to start describing this masterpiece. So basically I'm going to break a few elements down and focus on what each of these talented beings have brought to the table. I'ma start with the star of the show - Flu:

    Highly and undeniably underrated, the man, Flu aka Fluent Form has been a top tier rapper for a long time. From Chapters Of Substance all the way through to Flu Season and everything in between, one can see the journey of progression this MC has taken. FTIBAG sees Flu step arguably into the prime of his career. Littered with brilliance, multi-syllabic flows, metaphors, layered thoughts and a storyline that only too well describes the struggle of an Australian Hip-Hop artist, he is so on point with this one. Musically he has found the balance of tone, lyrics and delivery to the point where you see every dope stage of his progression all rolled into some Super Flu Sayian 4 or some shit. The content written is so close to his heart, you can feel the weight in the things that are being said, you feel the emotion and you identify this within yourself. It is the unspoken anthem for the masses of independent artists out there, that struggle, that have perfected their craft but aren’t seeing the success that those with less craftmanship are getting. The artists that do struggle with the emotions, pressure and the stress that goes along with following your dreams. Even though I have upmost praise for his work on this, I still think Flu Season is his best rapping performance, hard to top though. The storyline is conceptually well-written, and is quite easy to follow even without the video to go with it.

    Phil Gektor:
    Entirely composed by Crate Cartel chief Geko, FTIBAG is some of his best work. Elements of Crate Cartel, Crate Cartel Radio and his newer works all merge into one awesome soundscape. It’s definitely aimed towards more of a movie score than an album per say, but still holds its own as a Hip-Hop album. The dusty retro samples, interludes, crunchy drum breaks, abstract noises, all contribute to the ominous and foreboding musical landscape which compliments Flu and the theme of the release. The strongest connection I had with the beats is the familiarity of the production to the original Geko Crate Cartel album, and a similarity towards his production on Flu Season, ie Fan Mail. The sounds suit Flu so well and is meticulously crafted, so busy is some bits, sometimes stripped right back. The mix and master on the album is very well balanced between the retro, dusty vibe and a crisp clean new sound and has high sonic quality. Dark, moody and baroque, it’s a beautifully crafted album. Phil Gektor also makes a guest appearance on the album under the guise of the gun dealer, which helps break up the vocals at an important part in the music.

    Discourse & Carl Alison
    The strongest point of this release in my opinion is the filmography. I don’t really know much about the technical aspects of this work, but I do identify when something is of very high calibre. To which this film categorizes itself, painfully hard to think of anything that been done exactly like this in Australia, but it would be a fair opinion to say this some of the finest filmography to come out in the local scene. Discourse does an incredible job handling all the editing and filming the majority of it, no doubt countless hours spent. Known for his quality and body of work, this falls short of no expectation. Carl adds another dimension with his amazing drone and gimble shots, which intensifies the “movie” experience. The angles, locations, shots, lighting are all amazing. The shot techniques have been used perfectly, each “special” shot is used sparingly giving is a revived, refreshing feel. There’s heaps of amazing shots, but nothing is overused or played out. The synchronicity between the music and film is amazing, everything rolls perfectly into place and hits at the perfect time. I love the locations that have been used ala Grumpy’s, the streetscapes, the product placement (nice work Discourse haha.) The combination between Carl Alison & Discourse lends itself some powerful ramifications, pure art executed through visuals. So many things are communicated, not said, through the videography which I think is what makes it so awesome to watch, the attention to detail is phenomenal. Underqualified to “break down” the elements of video, the writer makes no claim in value of opinion on the matter, but quite simply put, this is brilliant. Just go and fucking watch it alright?

    Before I conclude the review I would like to take the time to offer some critique/ other things I enjoyed in the album. I don’t think it would be fair to write a review for this (with such high praise) without picking a few things out. The only two things which I didn’t like, was the slight overuse of the octave down vocal (even though I do understand its part of the unique sound of the album) and the narration. I think even without the video, the listener should be able to follow the storyline without any narration. That being said, it may be what tells the story in the album format. For the film however I think it’s unnecessary to have narration in it, as the picture tells a thousand words.

    I love the subtle humour throughout the film. There is an obvious amount of “in jokes” from the Cartel collective, but there is a lot, from the names to the subtle appearance from the crew that put a smile on the face. The acting is top notch. The star of the show, Flu, does an amazing job. A steely glint in his eyes in every shot, facial expression and actions are all so well co-ordinated. He communicates such a disparity of emotion, but especially the desperation of his character. I love all the work from the other cast members and extras, every one of them having a great “look” for the movie, everyone contributing a significant piece each to this project - great job Crate Cartel & affiliates.

    Overall this album is worthy of a lot of praise, and one that will stand the test of time in say 20-30 years. It touches on a very important subject in suicide. A subject often overlooked and taboo to be spoken about, and one that has had a huge impact on the Oz Hip-Hop scene. It is a powerful and positive message brought into the spotlight. (There seems to be a big social shift in the last few years in raising awareness to it.) As the pressures of life and music can weigh heavy, and a lot of emotional and physical effort not to mention the money invested into yourself can be downright painstaking, there can be a correlation between music and life that can bring a person’s emotional state right down. This album touches on exactly that, ironically seeing the “Suicide Kings” team up in Geko & Flu. Locally relevant, I think the album does touch on the struggle that indie artists go through. The somewhat snobby, jaded opinions of a lot of the scene. The early years of this Oz culture was so community based, so loving and embracing, and there is a huge element of this which still exists, but there is a lot of ego and jealousy that is also predominant. I see a lot of people struggling like ScrewFace Bane, and sometimes I wonder about the emotional stability of these individuals. If anyone is reading this, and is struggling, just know it is ok to talk about it. Don’t put all your hopes and dreams into one facet of your life. It is all about balance and being happy within the person you are, to quote the great Prowla “it’s not who you rock in the scene, rather who you are in between.” In a fairly judgemental scene, sometimes others opinions/prejudices can bring you down, but others opinions mean very little in your “big picture.” If you are happy within yourself and your work, then that is the greatest gratification you will receive from your art. Having the support and praise of your peers is important, although not necessary, so remember to always give respect or props where it’s due, you can’t understand the impact that can have on upcoming or “struggling” artists, whether it’s musically or emotionally.

    Overall this a classic release every Hip-Hop head should see, musical cinema at a very high level. It may not be up everyone’s alley, but is definitely perfect for anyone who appreciates real art. This review is blatantly gushing, but it’s definitely a release that’s deserving of such. One could hope for a larger platform for it be played, I would love to sit in a movie theatre and watch this.

    For fans of: Crate Cartel, Melbourne hip-hop, art, filmography, social-awareness and techy flow rap imagery with a message.

    Words by Lani Milbus.

     
  • Sydney Producer Waza Drops Brand New Mixtape 'Kick, Snares & Video Tapes'

    Waza - Kick, Snares & Video Tapes Mixtape Waza - Kick, Snares & Video Tapes Mixtape

    Waza - 'Kick, Snares & Video Tapes'

    Waza is back with his much-anticipated second mixtape 'Kick, Snares & Video Tapes.' A rewind journey back in time to B-Grade 80’s & 90’s Cinema.

    The conception of the mixtape came out of two accidental moments. The first in a work lunchroom; somebody had generously left a box packed with old VHS tapes with the notice FREE scribbled on it. The second; inheriting a neighbours old 1980’s drum machine.
     
    Armed with these precious handouts, Waza naturally pieces together a twenty two minute voyage through sound bites & visuals over 808’s and Analog Synthesizers

    Chopping Mall, Slammer Girls to The Malibu Bikini Shop are some of the neglected films Waza brings back to life in this entertaining and un-rehearsed mixtape.
     
    Dust off your VHS player and enjoy tonight’s presentation, brought you by your favourite Beat Maker.

    Watch the mixtape below!

    Download Waza - 'Kicks, Snares & Video Tapes' via the links below!

    Ozhiphopshop

    Bandcamp

    Download Waza - Love Is A Battlefield Mixtape here!

    Listen to the Mixtape here!

    Keep up to date with Waza via the links below!

    Waza Facebook

    Waza Soundcloud

    Waza JJJ Unearthed

     
  • Nerve – Til Death ft Retayner & Wombat

    Nerve - TIL DEATH Feat - Retayner & Wombat

    Nerve – Til Death ft Retayner & Wombat

    Sometimes the direction of Australian Hip-Hop concerns me, there’s so much ego involved in the scene, unnecessary beef and bullshit, a general lack of respect and some music reflects that. On the other hand, those doubts are quelled constantly by the younger talent in this country. The insurgence of new talent and life into the scene has been a breath of fresh air, and this track is no less.
    Staccato, multisyllabic, head-nodding flows, this track seems to be coming for the “kill.” No stops are pulled on flow as the young talents of Nerve & Wombat throw down a hefty barrage of Punisher style syllables.

    Joining the fresher faces repping from QLD & Tassie respectively, Melbourne vet Retayner drops a verse in the middle. Connecting the east coast, but also two different eras of Aus rap. This tracks takes you from left field with the quality, it is incredibly dope, but also one wouldn’t expect anything less from such an ill combo.
    Nerve is arguably one of the dopest up and comers (that term I think should be used very loosely) along with Wombat as well. Nerve kills his verse with 90’s style, flow and delivery on some headbanger boogie shit. His voice cuts through concisely, and he controls the rhythm of the track even with a funky beat with swing drums.
    In case you been under a rock, Retayner has been super busy on the music lately. Clip after clip, he’s a face that’s been seen regularly. Signature tains with his intricate wordplay and imagery, he bridges the gap between the crazy flow of the other two, with more complex lyrics and more stripped back delivery. I think it adds a great dynamic to the track. I really love his last 2 bars “so if ya got a younger brother tell em what the deal is, and never lead a man down a path where gear is”
    Wombat merks his verse, crazy multies, vocal tone and general control, I think he has a lot of good things ahead of him. What I was particularly impressed with was his overall control with tone-flow-breaths etc. Extremely dope, there are little words that aren’t inside of his rhyme schemes.
    Great clip by Carl Alison, another one who’s been a predominant name in the scene lately. Every shot shows them in very authoritative positions which carries that “burner” rhymer feel, it makes the track seem heavier, and as always Carls work is top notch, smoky, mysterious, with cool gimble shots.

    The track is produced by Nerve, and is lifted off his upcoming album. If the rest of it is anything like this one, then you know it’s gonna be straight fire. Looking forward to the release of this one.
    I think in order for the whole scene to grow, we need to give credit where due, and be more community minded when it comes to music and art. Jealousy and envy are some of the lowest forms of emotional states. Joy, happiness and unity will bring much prosperity and quality to the scene. There is an immeasurable amount of talent coming up from the young underground, scratch just beneath the surface and you will find them. Sure you have to sift through to find it, and there is a lot of half-arsed stuff out there, but the payoff of finding these dope new talents is well worth the time invested to find them. I think the future of our great culture here in Oz is going to continue to flourish, develop as long as we nurture the scene in the right way, and support dope artists on the come up, especially the ones that show strong work ethic.

    Enough of my jibba jabba, Oi! Dope work!

    For fans of: Syntax Junkies, multisyllable flows, underground Aus rap.

    Words by Lani Milbus.

     
  • Peeps 'One With Me'

    Peeps - One With Me

    Peeps – One With Me

    ‘One With Me’ is the single from Peeps’ sophomore release “Dying To Live” the follow up to his debut Ep “Waiting To Die.”

    There are few words to describe this track without one personally listening to it, if you take the time to rotate it, listening to the delivery, lyrical content, production, mix and the overall tone and emotion, you realise this is a classic track, worthy of high praise.
    “Disgusting from day one, why would you listen to me,” Peeps the Putrid fills the soundscape with his signature gravel raw delivery. But this time there’s something completely different. The aggression is so controlled, the tone game evolved tenfold on this track. If being relatable isn’t the strongest point of the track, then it definitely would be the delivery of his voice. This is Peeps at his finest and most polished.

    The production from Sinks creates the emotional tone for the whole track. The sample he flipped is retrospective and creates a reflective feel, which Peeps enhances throughout the track with his lyrics. He not only takes us deep into his thoughts and emotions, he also shares pieces of his soul throughout. This is the description of a man trudging along the path of life, sifting through and dealing with the negatives, in the pursuit of happiness, that seemingly distant but tangible feeling, we all long for. The clip from Leighton Bond Visuals does an incredible job capturing it. Shot in the forest, the balance in the shots shows a creepy, sinister feeling, but also beauty throughout the nature. There is a devilish, horned figure that seems to stalk him throughout the clip, which to me is a metaphorical or symbolic thing, not something chosen just because it was creepy.

    Overall the track, clip, production, raps, the whole kit and caboodle seems very well thought out and executed. The beat is one of those that has the perfect balance of all elements you love in a beat. The vocals are so raw, but filled with crisp and emotional tone, the lyrics are dope. So many quotable lines from “168 hours had ya heart skippin a beat” “but we all know a real man ain't fucken talking, pfff what a joke another loss of hope, another mouth shut another coffin closed” “I guess the scene agreed to go to shit, I musta missed the meetin” “so smile, in case it’ll be the last for your lovers”, plus many other ones I could of interchanged those with. The mix & master by Peeps is worth a highly honourable mention here too, sonically dope, crisp, full of colour and tone, not too much here or there.

    The whole EP is worth a listen and purchase, One With Me definitely being the standout track of the release, in my opinion, Peeps’ best track to date.

    For fans of : Gravity Ponds, Black Teeth Red Gums, Canibus, Onyx, raw hip-hop, reflective, emotional and heavy thoughts type of rap.

    Words by Lani Milbus.

     
  • Gig Review: 50/50 Melbourne Grime Down Under Vol.2 Launch Party

    50 50 saints Flyer Melbourne Grime

    50/50 GRIME DOWNUNDER SAINT SIDE COLLABORATION LAUNCH PARTY!

    Review by Alisha Hudson

     

    To kick off the weekend, my Friday night began at the 50/50 Melbourne Grime Down Under Vol.2 launch party. Which was held at Saint Side City - a family grown street wear business that does a numerous amount of clothing from shoes, shirts and hats with also another business which provides vintage and custom made bicycles.

    With One Puf a collection of Dj’s, on the night it was Alaska, Arctic, 2fudda and Smutle on the decks providing the room with the perfect vibes, mixing beats from tech bass to rumba reggae set the tone of the night, with the room filling with more people preparing to hear their favourite artists, the one and only Fraksha alongside brother from another mother Diem grasped the mic and both took the stage.

    A raw of support from the crowd as Fraksha gave respect and appreciation to Saint Side, his brothers on the decks, as well as everyone else who held it down through the process in the event of his debut release of 50/50 Melbourne Grime Down Under Vol.2

    Fraksha’s stage presence left an aura and glow that transcended through the crowd, rocking  a dark jacket which caught my eye, yet his presence and his double time, lyrical ability and repetitive flow was great to hear. Spitting his rhymes to the fans and the crowd chanting back along with him was brilliant.

    Diem hyping up the stage as well as the crowd with his own lyrical style, definitely two very different artists Fraksha and Diem but work so well together with Fraksha more in your face and to the point and with Diem more of a quite and laid back approach to his set but those bars though – fire!

    After a short interlude with One Puf killing the mixes on the dance floor,  Alex Jones now joins the stage with an obvious fan base in the crowd of Lgeez, and you can tell its going to be an interesting set. Alex Jones giving the crowd nothing but his fiery, witty bars we all know today. Alex Jones up on stage with Fraksha and DIEM the trio pulled the crowd in and gave a great performance.

     Saint side on the night of the launch a raffle was held $10 for two tickets and the winner got two t-shirts from the Saint Side & 50/50 collection. Great and wonderful family orientated business nothing but the realest of guys that have worked hard to get the status they have today, definitely follow their brand, they always have something going on.

    The mixtape may of not been the in the lime light of the night but for sure was the reason why we all gathered at Saint Side to celebrate the hard work of  50/50 Melbourne Grime. 6 years it’s been since the first release, so for the fans and followers it must have been an anxious wait to see, what else 50/50 had to bring.

    50/50 Melbourne Grime Down Under Vol.2 consists of various beats mixed by Auzone throughout the mixtape Auzone gave house, grime, tech beats, from slow tempo beats (compared to the typical grime tempo we all know) gave the artist a chance to slow down a bit and for the listeners themselves a chance to sit back and chill then the fast upbeat tech beats which allowed the various of talent from all over Australia to complete their fiery witty spits, each with a unique flavour and own style but still a consistent flow of similar vibes which kept the mixtape as one.

    Defiantly got to check out the mixtape too much talent for you to miss out on! Great work and great production, well thought out and love the amount of collaborations and various styles. 50/50 MELBOURNE GRIME! 2017!

     

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